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> ISSUE 11 SUMMER 2005

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RAINBOW STEEL ORCHESTRA Celebrating their 50th Anniversary DIANA PAN &WARWICKSHIRE PANTASTICS Fantastic Swiss Steel Band LOXFORD PAN ULTIMATE Youthful and Musical MICHELLE HUGGINS-WATTS Sharing her musicality with the World COMETS STEEL BAND Irresistible Musical Sunshine BISHOP ANSTEY HIGH SCHOOL Choir and Steelband JOALENE GRIFFITH Shy, Vibrant and Focused Musician TOUSSAINT CLARKE Arranger, Manufacturer, Tuner and Player SEN Steelpans and Special Needs UTOPIA PAN SOUL STEEL ORCHESTRA Help Turn It Around MANGO STEEL BAND Sweet Sweet Pan Music PAN PLAYERS ASSOCIATION Bountiful Future for Pan Musicians CHAMPIONS OF STEEL PANORAMA RESULTS 1978 - 2004

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> Welcome


Pan Podium and BAS continue the journey of promoting this wonderful artform to the wider audience. The fifth annual Trafalgar Square Pan Jamboree saw five orchestras entertaining the crowds of visitors, tourists and supporters to the global land mark. The BAS ‘Champions of Steel’ Panorama competition is set to initiate the Notting Hill Carnival weekend festivities with a wealth of steelband music on offer. The celebrations continue with Jouvert as the UK top steelbands take to the roads in the all steelband event. Pan Explosion 2005 is scheduled to be held in Portsmouth for October, ensuring that pan is taken to all corners of the UK. BAS annual awards at the Holiday Inn in Bloomsbury is on the 3rd December 2005. Look out for Pan Podium’s revamped website in the coming months. Music is the food of love so join us in sharing that love through pan music. Robbie Joseph - Editor



ALL EVENTS CATERED FOR STEELBANDS TO SUIT ANY OCCASSION E: panpodium@aol .com or or call Robbie on: 07944 156006

04 > PAN PODIUM | WINTER SUMMER2004/2005 2005

WRITERS/CONTRIBUTORS Toussaint Clarke, Vanessa Clarke, Diana Hancox, Victoria Jacquiss, Bevon Phillips, Daniel Louis, Michelle Huggins, Samuel Dubois, Phil Wood, Gina Sheridan, Bobi Brossi, Mrs Pereira PHOTOGRAPHY: Response Photography LAYOUT & DESIGN: Indus Digital Services PUBLISHED BY: BRITISH ASSOCIATION OF STEELBANDS The Tabernacle, Powis Square, London W112AV Tel: 020 7565 7813 - Fax: 020 7565 7810 E-mail: Website: The views published in Pan Podium are not necessarily the views of the editor or the publisher. All material contained in this publication are the copyright of Pan Podium. No material written or photographic should be reproduced in any way without the written permission of the publisher. No liability will be accepted for any errors which may occur within the magazine.


CELEBRATES THEIR 50TH ANNIVERSARY In the 1950s, the cream of the pan players from Barbados formed themselves into the Barbados All-Stars. The whole band moved to England and settled in Bath, a location widely used by Caribbean immigrants before London. This group of friends and families, full of Caribbean music flowing in their veins, has stayed together and their children, now grown up, still play pan in the band now known as the Rainbow Steel Orchestra. They settled into the UK life style and started attracting younger members in the likes of Toussaint Clarke. Over the years most of the original members migrated to Barbados or retired from playing leaving Hallam and Toussaint to develop a new band with young recruits. Rainbow is now a professional steelband with ten players.


Over the years Rainbow has gained National & International recognition through playing for Royalty as well as touring Europe and the Caribbean. Rainbow was fortunate to be able to return to its Barbadian roots for a tour in 1984. The current line-up includes the legendary Earl Rodney who has been with Rainbow since 1992, taking the band to a new dimension in playing and arranging.

This year, Rainbow celebrates its 50th anniversary and looks forward to achieving even more with their dedication, vigour and enthusiasm coupled with their performing skills. They have produced a fiftieth anniversary CD which represents a selection of the most requested songs of their repertoire. The CD has ten tracks with a bonus track entitled, ‘Be Still My Soul’ arranged by Hallam. The band feels that the track is a testament to the skills and arranging capability of band leader, Hallam Ifill, and therefore dedicate it to past players.

> Contact Interested then contact Rainbow by calling Hallam on 01225331952

Rainbow acknowledges Earl Rodney’s contribution over the years as well as that of the past players near or far including Nick and Alex at Nam Studio for their time and hard work on this project. Special thanks goes to Hallam for devoting 50 Years of time, patience and dedication to UK Steel Pan. SUMMER 2005 | PAN PODIUM > 05

> WHO’S WHO Victor Philip of Phase 1 made a set of pans “on credit” for us and was paid within two years through great community spirit, hard working parents, sponsorship and many gigs. Excellent teaching and lots of practice have enabled the four children and two adult bands to perform at county wide events, such as Sainsbury’s Comic Relief, Warwick Carnival, The Intercultural Festival Performance at the Spa Centre, weddings, fetes, opening of stores etc. THE STEEL PANS BECAME AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF UPPER SCHOOL MUSIC EDUCATION AND HAD POSITIVE EFFECTS ON OUR MUSICIANS’ EDUCATION.



I was recruited to County Music Service in 2000 to lead and develop World Music provision. I successfully built up a team of five pan teachers teaching over 400 young people and adults in 50 schools around the county. We also have 10 music centre groups for all ages who are regularly hired for gigs. Two years ago, Beverly Wickham of Phase 1 took our Warwick based Pandemonium group to take part in Trinidad Carnival 2002. We took 18 youngsters and some parents for the trip of our lifetime. We did Jouvert, played Mas, attended the Soca and Pan finals. To say we were inspired would be an understatement and words could not begin to express the impact the trip had on us all.

DIANA, PAN & WARWICKSHIRE In September 1996 I began a new teaching job at Coten End Primary School in Warwick as Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant teacher, working with children for whom English was a second language and responsible for all multicultural work. Music was infused into all my teaching. It was in June 1997 at a festival run by the Intercultural Support Services that I was inspired by steel pans and its magic. I watched my group of challenging ten year olds transformed behind a set of pans into inspired enthusiastic positive learners, 06 > PAN PODIUM | SUMMER 2005

focused on the music. The following term I persuaded County Music Service to loan us a set of pans. Our newly formed groups learnt so quickly that we were soon performing for school and public by the end of the second term.

I have successfully created, organised and administered three countywide Steel Pan Festivals, the most recent involving over 260 pupils from 35 schools. At all three festivals participants received a T-shirt and sticker commemorating the events through acquired sponsors. Our last performance saw nearly 80 pannists playing Tequila, as a final piece - as near to a real size ‘Trini’ band as we could get. Most recently we have formed the County Youth Steel Pan Orchestra (CYSPO) and entrance is via audition. The group is directed by Bev Wickham and supported by our team in rotation with each having an input in new music, ideas and performances. CYSPO is made up from original Coten steel band members.


‘DON’T LOOK BACK’ This debut solo album was launched in July 2005 whilst on a tour of the Caribbean. Twelve tracks of music combining her Trinidadian roots (steelpan and Kaiso) with a contemporary new school R&B feel and has a social and spiritual comment. An album full of hidden messages - Gimme One World, We Are All The Same and Don’t Look Back. Myfavourite‘Breakfast in Bed’ would be an ideal road jam for Carnival with a little remixing. Grab this album as soon as you can as it is truly an item for your collection. Visit

I was warned that once started pan would take over my life. It did, my life and heart. There is no better job than teaching and inspiring young people on steel pans. Political pressures mean that my present job ceases next year, however I will continue to play pan and hope that the amazing wealth of young talent we have now established, will ensure steel pan continues to flourish in Warwickshire. Steel band and playing pan is about team work and all of the above would not be possible without the amazing support, work and encouragement of Kali Matthu, Brian Noon, Lisa Russell, Bev Wickham and the great support of parents, head teachers and colleagues. > by Diana Hancox






Founded in 1999, Pantastics is a small steelband from Zürich. The band is made up of ten full time players of varied ages and practice weekly in their own rehearsing room in the heart of downtown Zurich. Junior Edwards who is the nephew of Theo Stephens of TASPO and played with Trinidadian steelbands - Free French, Hillside Symphony and Skiffle Bunch is their music teacher. He is also their drummer and has musically arranged a very special repertoire for them to perform at their gigs which includes reggae, calypso, smooth jazz, pop ballads as well as typical Swiss music and love songs.

Carnival in Switzerland.

Junior’s personal friendship with the great pan aficionado, Len Boogsie Sharpe, and his invitation to Boogsie to perform in the Swisstrin project in Switzerland in the summer of 2002 gave Pantastics the opportunity to work with Boogsie during his stay there.

The name Pantastics is a derivative of fantastic and they certainly live up to that name. This small steelband from Switzerland plays sweet pan music and is available to perform for all occasions.


Pantastics have performed at the 2004 Swiss Carnival in Niederdorf, downtown Zurich. They played in the Steel-Baragge, lots of fun not much hot sun, plenty of snow and loads of music – that’s pure 08 > PAN PODIUM | SUMMER 2005

Pantastics are the winners of the very first Steeldrum-Competition in Switzerland held at the 2004 Zürich-Fest. Even though it was a small competition with only a few participants, they took it seriously and practiced hard to be victorious. ‘Besame Mucho’ played in a modern and unusual way was a challenge for both the band and their arranger.



Loxford Pan-Ultimate Steel Band is taught by, Daniel Louis, established musician, arranger and also former member of the defunct BA Groovers who travelled the world in its venture to promote the steel pan artform globally. Daniel has been tutoring and developing the playing skills of Pan-Ultimate players for the past ten years. They practice weekly in the music room of the Loxford Secondary school in Ilford Essex and have a varied repertoire spanning Pop and RnB to traditional Soca.



FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Jeannine and Böbi Brosi Bernhard Jaeggi-Weg 48, CH - 8055 Zürich Home : ++41 1 462 35 85 Cell: ++41 76 443 19 55 Jeannine Cell: ++41 76 334 19 53 Böbi:

Loxford Pan-Ultimate gained 2nd prize in the Parade and won £5k for the Mayor of Redbridge’s favourite charity. This was a fantastic achievement for Pan Ultimate who played alongside many other global acts.

> Contact If you would like to join Loxford Pan Ultimate then contact Daniel Louis on 07973 738647 or kekreankh306@

Pan Ultimate has performed in many venues in Redbridge, Ilford and Essex. Throughout the last ten years, they have performed at the Redbridge Show which has hosted such artistes as James Brown. In 1996, Loxford performed at The Butlins Holiday Camp and later that year played at The Ford Company in Dagenham, Essex.

Pan Ultimate has recently registered as a member of the British Association of Steel Bands (BAS) and is now looking at various options from the expansion of its member base, fund raising to take an educational trip to the Trinidad and Tobago, to upskilling their players to compete at the UK National Panorama and Notting Hill Carnival competitions.

Their most recent performances include the 2005 New Year’s Day Parade, Westminster, which showcased acts from all over the world convening in Westminster and performing in the City of London Street Parade.

Current students have found the pan playing experience to be educational, enjoyable and rewarding. Comments include, ‘I WANT TO BE A PROFESSIONAL PLAYER WHEN I LEAVE SCHOOL.’ I HAVE DEVELOPED MORE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY IN THE UNDERSTANDING OF MUSIC. ITS HARD WORK BUT I’M GLAD I AM PART OF IT.’ SUMMER 2005 | PAN PODIUM > 09




She is musically aware and mature in her music and appreciates musical pieces that highlight the ‘conversations’ between the pans.



Playing the piano at age 5 was noted as Michelle’s entry into the world of music. By 1979 at the age of 13 she was playing in the St Francois Girls College steelband. She also played in her first panorama with T&TEC Power Stars under the guidance of McDonald Redhead as well as travelled to Canada with the St Francois Girls steel band in that year. 1980 saw her perform at the Schools’ Panorama in the St Francois all girls steel band and by 1981 she stopped her piano lessons having achieved Grade 7. In 1987 and 1989, Michelle had her first experiences of musical arrangement when she arranged for and conducted the St. Francois Girls Steel Orchestra in the Junior Festival where they placed 5th and 4th respectively, playing “Maracas Bay” in ’87 and “Variations of the theme Slave” in’89. ichelle toured London and New York with Casablanca and was impressed with the combination of symphony and pan. She became a member of Phase II Pan Groove in 1988 and has played continuously until 2003. At Phase II she held different positions in the band achieving the captaincy in 1998. When asked about her musical preferences she replied, ‘I JUST LOVE BOOGSIE’S MUSIC, HIS MUSIC IS SO RHYTHMIC AND HE ALLOWS ALL THE PAN INSTRUMENTS TO TALK TO EACH OTHER THROUGH COUNTER MELODIES, AWESOME!’ Michelle has also arranged for the T&EC Power Stars Steel Orchestra, working with the stage side as well as the Panorama band in 1994 and 1995 and stated that her time with them was a valuable experience.



Michelle was an adjudicator at the Schools Steelband Music Festival in 1995 and during the period 1998-99 she was an adjudicator for the traditional bands, ‘Pan round de neck’ Panorama competition. She was also an adjudicator at the National Song Festival competition in 1999. In 2000, motherhood took its toll and Michelle took her leave of absence from Phase 11 to perform her maternal duties but returned in 2001 as their drillmaster. SHE CONTINUED HER MUSICAL JOURNEY WITH VALLEY HARPS STEEL ORCHESTRA AS THEIR MUSICAL ARRANGER IN THE 2002 STEELBAND FESTIVAL. THIS LIAISON CONTINUED IN 2003 WITH VALLEY HARPS SEEING ITS FIRST NATIONAL SEMI FINAL ROUND IN 28 YEARS. IN 2004 AND 2005, WITH THE ADVENT OF CATEGORIES OF BANDS, VALLEY HARPS SAW ITS FIRST EVER NATIONAL FINALS PLACING 3RD AND 5TH RESPECTIVELY, IN THE MEDIUM CATEGORY OF THE NATIONAL PANORAMA. She also saw the La Creole traditional steelband to 4th place with her musical arrangements.

Michelle sees Boogsie as her mentor! She has worked with a lot of young people in Valley Harps and sees acceptance of music literacy as a driving force. She admires and respects the honesty and openness of young players coupled with their enthusiasm and motivation. These qualities she said would benefit adult bands. She offers extra tutoring in music to the younger members of Valley Harps and encourages them to arrange music to be played on the road for Carnival. Michelle has a first class honours in music and is able to analyse music through her formal training and knowledge of theory. She is also currently pursuing a Master Of Philosophy degree in Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies. SHE IS A VERY MODEST PERSON WHO JUDGES HER WORK BY THE RESPONSES OF OTHERS. SHE IS SO FULL OF MUSIC TO SHARE WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD AND HER GENERAL PERSONA OOZES THE NATURAL ABILITY TO GAIN ONE’S RESPECT. She is a music teacher at the Trinity College in Moka, Maraval and also teaches Language and Literature as well as being the Dean of Discipline. Her dream is to win a Panorama competition.






Back in early 1992, Gina Sheridan and Paula Gilford shared a dream, they wanted to learn to play a steel pan. They joined an adult education course and after a few weeks they had a tune and things progressed, slowly but surely. By June 1992, the girls began to think seriously about forming their own band and after undertaking some promotional work, attracted a number of like minded enthusiasts. So, in September 1992, the Comets Steel Band was formed. Gina and Paula's dream became a reality.

Samuel has been playing the steel pan for the past thirteen years. He is a member of the Ebony steel orchestra, one of the most respected steelbands in the UK and the World. Through Ebony he has toured from Africa to America including Trinidad and Tobago, Germany, France, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland and the UK. Samuel has also performed at prestigious venues which include the Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls, Buckingham Palace and Edinburgh Castle where he performed for HM the Queen and Prince Charles.

Since then they have strived to meet the highest possible standard in both musicianship and attitude. The band has been noted as ‘musically outstanding’ by various festivals they have entered and has won acclaim for their originality. Today, they are a skilled and highly professional ten piece all women band whose repertoire caters for a wide range of musical tastes, from the traditional Soca to Pop, Jazz and Ballads – Classical to Avant-Garde.


Supported by the Metropolitan Police, they gig on a regular basis and entertain at a variety of venues and events in the UK. Comets toured Barbados in 1998 and 2000. Speaking to Gina about the tours she said, ‘we can truly say that we have sold coals to Newcastle or was that Calypso to the Caribbean?’ 12 > PAN PODIUM | SUMMER 2005

Their musical director, Jason Butcher, is a well known pan tutor for schools in the Croydon and South East London area. Comets released their first CD entitled ‘Panache’ in 2000 to a very warm reception and their second will be released later this year. Comets played at the Croydon Music Festival, in May 2001 and in addition to meeting a wide array of very talented pan players, they were absolutely thrilled to win the adult section of the competition. In 2002, the Comets Community Project was established with some National Lottery funding which helped in the establishment of their pan yard located at the Pan Pavilion, South Norwood Lakes and their vision to encourage and teach the young people from their local communities the steel pan art form.

> Contact Interested then visit their website at www. or call Gina on 0208 406 4814

Performances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, pop star Billy Ocean and movie stars Bill Murray and Pierce Brosnan has certainly developed his confidence and musicality. Samuel is passing his knowledge to the younger generation through his tutoring in over twenty schools including the Goldsmith’s College of Music.


His hard work and soulful playing has seen him reap many awards. With Ebony he achieved two European Steelband Music Festivals titles and eight National

Panorama titles. Samuel is an excellent team player and is a new force in the UK as a composer and virtuoso soloist employing his four stick technique with the double second pans which he used when he was victorious in the British Association of Steelbands’ Pan Explosion competition in 2004. Samuel recently played at the Notting Hill Carnival 2005 Press Launch and is the featured soloist on the North Stars’, ‘Molten Metal’ tour of the UK playing alongside the jazz trombonist, Dennis Rollins. THE SKY IS THE LIMIT FOR THIS YOUNG, TALENTED AND INNOVATIVE PAN MUSICIAN WHO SHARES HIS MUSICALITY GENEROUSLY, THIS WAS PERSONIFIED IN HIS PERFORMANCE WITH EBONY AT THE 2005 BAS ANNUAL PAN JAMBOREE IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE. SUMMER 2005 | PAN PODIUM > 13

> BAND PROFILE The present choir mistress, Lorraine Granderson, herself a past student and member of choir, assumed responsibility in 1996 and has continued the tradition of excellence and achievement. The Choir has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Trophy for the Most Outstanding School Choir at every Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival since 1997.





The Bishop Anstey High School Steel Orchestra, also under the direction of Lorraine, was formed in 1996. It performs not only as a complement to the choir but has distinguished itself at the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival, the National Schools Panorama and at various public performances. Bishop Anstey High School was a pilot school for CXC Music in 1999 and has enjoyed 100% success at exams over the last six years. The Bishop Anstey High School Choir and Steel Orchestra have had the distinction and privilege of being selected to compete in the 2005 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod where they placed fourth in the Female and

Youth Choir categories held in Wales from July 5 – 10, 2005. In addition to competing in the Instrumental Folk Competition at Llangollen, the steel orchestra was specially invited to perform at the Opening Parade of the Eisteddfod and at other prestigious events during the festival. The steelband played in ensemble incorporating the clarinet, and members competed in solo instrumental categories. FOR THE SEVENTY MEMBERS OF THE CHOIR AND STEEL ORCHESTRA, THE 2005 EISTEDDFOD WAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE AN EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCE, CONTRIBUTE NOT JUST TO THEIR MUSICAL BUT TO THEIR GENERAL DEVELOPMENT AND TO MEET THE YOUTH FROM AROUND THE GLOBE, SHARING A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE WITH THESE YOUNG PEOPLE THAT CAN ONLY STRENGTHEN THEM AS THEY PREPARE TO FACE THE CHALLENGES OF TOMORROW. In addition to the choir’s performance, the Eisteddfod provided the opportunity for the arts and craft of Trinidad and Tobago to be displayed and sold.

Bishop Anstey High School, was founded in 1921 to offer educational opportunities to girls comparable to those long available to the boys of Trinidad. From its inception music played an integral part in the curricular and extra-curricular life of the school leading to a long tradition of musical excellence. The Bishop Anstey High School Choir has been in existence for over seventy years and is the cornerstone of the school’s musical tradition. It is the legacy of pioneering music teachers, Helen May Johnstone, Joyce Spence and later, Jocelyn Carr-Sealy. They shaped the distinctive style, tone and vocal signature of the Bishop Anstey High School Choir and brought it nationwide recognition for 14 > PAN PODIUM | SUMMER 2005

excellence. The choir has, on seven occasions won the coveted Trinidad Music Association Shield at the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival and produced vocalists and musicians of international acclaim.



The unpredictable English weather did not affect five top UK steelbands from appearing at the British Association of Steelbands (BAS) annual Pan Jamboree in Trafalgar Square. After the recent attacks on London the only explosion to be heard in Trafalgar Square on the afternoon of 31st July 2005 was one of sweet steelband music filling the air with renditions from all genres. As the evening progressed temperatures reached the high twenties, Trafalgar Square was transformed into a Steelpan Village. Ebony, Southside Harmonics, Pantasia, Stardust and Croydon steel orchestras entertained the crowds of visitors, tourists and supporters to the global land mark.



Over the past five years BAS has fully supported the Mayor of London in taking this icon (Trafalgar Square) to another level to be fully appreciated and enjoyed by local and national communities as well as global tourists.


Fuelled by the lovely weather, the ambience of the Square and crowd appreciation, the Square was transformed into an electric atmosphere, people were dancing everywhere. The five orchestras were dotted around the lower level of the Square and it was not unfamiliar to see the crowds moving to the left and then to the right. Croydon steel orchestra positioned at the foot of the stairs which provided an amphitheatre setting, treated their audience to a varied repertoire and had the young members of the audience doing the ‘Crazy Frog’ dance to their rendition of Axel F. Stardust positioned at the North corner of the Square dished out some


catchy renditions which received lots of compliments whilst Pantasia was again a favourite; with their Pan Jazz repertoire that pleased the crowds immensely. Southside Harmonics’ young and capable players delivered some heart rendering tunes and had the crowd fully entertained and begging for more. The jewel in the crown was by no doubt Ebony, Europe’s finest. Positioned at the foot of Nelson’s column and between the two magnificent lions which after all is Ebony’s trademark, had the crowds entertained long after the scheduled finish. Pan virtuoso, Samuel Dubois, got the crowds involved by chanting and clapping to their renditions. Their submission to the public‘s request for more saw their performance surpass the scheduled time. Tradition saw Zena, the event flag woman, proudly waving a Trinidadian flag throughout the event. BAS has hosted yet another successful Pan Jamboree filled with a wealth of steel pan music. Don’t miss the 2006 Trafalgar Pan Jamboree!




As a member of the stage side, she is actively involved and shares the ideals of CASYM’s steel pan program where students at several public schools in the NYC metropolitan area learn to play the steel pan as part of their music curriculum. She is overjoyed when “the receptive minds of youths understand that the steel pan is a musical instrument on which one plays everyday music as well as classical and jazz”.




A shy, vibrant and focused musician with a passion for steel pan. Joalene joined the Caribbean American Sports & Cultural Youth Movement (CASYM) with an interest in dance at the age of 8. The sweetness of steel was over powering and she quickly transferred to the steel pan music program. For the next 13 years, pan became her main focus. Though currently enrolled at the Borough of Manhattan Community College with the goal of completing her Nursing Degree at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York, she is married to the steel pan movement and intends to be a life member of the CASYM family. 18 > PAN PODIUM | SUMMER 2005

Toussaint first played pan in 1968. A year later at age 12, he began tuning pans. His teachers were Theo Stevens from Trinidad and Halem Ifill from Barbados. Although Toussaint was born in England and spent the majority of his life in Bath, England, his family originates from Barbados. As well as making and tuning their pans, Toussaint is a key member of the Rainbow Steel Orchestra formerly known as the Barbados All Stars. Toussaint is currently teaching Bands in Dartmouth, Penzance, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Swindon.




Shyness prevents her from participating in solo competitions though she fondly remembers her participation in the 2002 Women in Steel competition where she placed 7th. She finds the ‘rush’ from the performing at Panorama exciting, as she loves to play to an appreciative audience. This talented tenor and celloist lives for the challenge of learning to play classical pieces and is particularly impressed with the style of CASYM’s, Arddin Herbert. She comments that there is a heightened sense of satisfaction in learning and performing a new tune and is especially proud to be a member of CASYM and has shared in the performances of their first CD release. by Vanessa Clarke

is tuning skills have been honed from years of practice and a well developed sense of pitch. Every pan made by him is a work of art. Toussaint has developed successful working relationships with UK pan tuner/manufacturer, Dudley Dickinson, Tony Slater and the grand father of steelpan, Earl Rodney.


> Contact For more about Toussaint visit his website at www.

He specialises in teaching the art form to secondary school students from an introductory workshop to public performances. He demands a lot from his students but in return they will learn the many skills needed to play pan very quickly. The students work primarily as a group with Toussaint developing team spirit, providing encouragement, motivation and a wealth of knowledge to draw upon whilst building close working relationships with the students and the staff. His global

involvement with the steelpan has enabled his students to have participated in joint events involving up to 7 of his bands as well as participating in the UK National Panorama, Notting Hill Carnival and collaborating with other groups such as the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Toussaint can produce interesting and challenging arrangements from any genre of music. FROM HIS INTERPRETATION OF THE LATEST TUNES FROM TRINIDAD TO CLASSICAL PIECES BY COMPOSERS SUCH AS MOZART OR BACH, FROM REGGAE FAVORITES TO CONTEMPORARY 'POP' CHART RELEASES. He returns to his ancestral home at least once a year where he collects the latest arrangements of Soca and Calypso releases that soon find their way into the English pan scene through Toussaint and others. SUMMER 2005 | PAN PODIUM > 19


On every occasion North Stars have proved them wrong and will continue to do so. Over the years, NORTH STARS HAVE ACHIEVED EVERYTHING THEY SET OUT TO DO, INCLUDING PERFORMANCES FOR THE QUEEN AND PRIME MINISTER, INTERNATIONAL TOURS AND WINNING THE NATIONAL PANORAMA IN 2002. The secret of their longevity is to constantly set new goals and their 30th anniversary year is no exception.



30TH ANNIVERSARY we started no-one was sure if it would last for 30 days “saysWhen ” Leroy “Crunch” Sylvester, founder member and captain of what has become one of Britain’s longest running steel bands, North Stars Steel Orchestra. The Huddersfield-based organisation, now celebrating its 30th anniversary. People said you couldn’t recreate the Trinidad-style orchestra here in Britain. Some said we were mad for thinking a band from the North of England could ever match the standards of the London bands. Others said that once the first generation of players began to hang up their sticks, it would be impossible to find enough younger recruits.

One reason for its success has been its strong roots in two local families: the Sylvesters and the Benjamins. Leroy’s brother, daughter and nephews have all been through the band and he looks forward to the day when his granddaughter does. Leroy started out as a player and progressed to leader of the North Stars ‘Academy’ which has constantly fed new talent into the organisation. North Stars aim to celebrate their anniversary year with a string of new activities. The launch of the Kirklees Steelband Festival on the 29th June being the first. Next in the line-up comes Molten Metal – the Brass and Steel Tour, in which North Stars are pulling in jazz/funk trombonist Dennis Rollins and pan virtuoso Samuel Dubois for a national tour of prestige venues. The tour is the brainchild of North Stars’ musical director Jeremy Platt.

Something that concerns all steel bands in Britain is the problem of continuity. As founder members start to take a back seat, the big question of who is going to take over starts to loom. So perhaps the best news of all from North Stars’ anniversary year is that 22-year old Sarah Benjamin has emerged as a new driving force in the band, ready to take on greater management and musical responsibilities. Sarah – who plays quads, seconds and double tenors - graduated from university in journalism, but soon realised that what she really always wanted to do was be a professional musician and educator. Slowly it dawned on her that her hobby of the last ten years and her need to find a livelihood might not be so incompatible after all. It might be possible to make a living from playing and teaching pan. Sarah now plans to return to university to get a teaching qualification and then hopes to work as a freelance teacher, whilst slowly taking on more responsibility for the musical and organisational direction of North Stars. “WHEN I THINK ABOUT EVERYTHING CRUNCH AND MY DAD AND UNCLES DID TO GET THIS BAND TO WHERE IT IS NOW, IT WOULD BE A TERRIBLE WASTE FOR IT NOT TO CONTINUE. WHEN I SEE THE WAY TOP CLASS MUSICIANS LIKE DENNIS ROLLINS ARE PUSHING TO WORK WITH US, AND THEN LOOK AT ALL THE SCHOOL KIDS WHO ARE COMING IN TO PAN MUSIC FOR THE FIRST TIME, I THINK THE FUTURE LOOKS ROSY, AND I WANT BE PART OF IT.” VISIT: by Phil Wood




Steel pans are not however a Special Needs instrument, and are not the great answer to everybody’s special needs.


People with hearing impairments including those who are profoundly deaf find it harder to hear and feel metal sounds. To make pans more accessible both players and pans need to be standing on a resonant board [or wooden floor]. However, provided that they have exactly the same pan every time, blind players or those with visual impairment should not be disadvantaged at all. In fact music is the one area where they are at an advantage.


STEEL PANS AND SPECIAL NEEDS The steel pan is a relatively new musical instrument born in Trinidad in the early decades of the 20th Century with its global migration beginning in the second half of that century. It’s new and sophisticated with all the gradations of pitch and dynamics.

Unfortunately, steel pan, whose birth was by no means easy, still suffers from ignorance and prejudice. It is a misconception that pans can only be played in one key; one style and are easy to play. It is an instrument like any other but wrongly assumed to be a lesser. However, with a good understanding of teaching techniques, pans lend themselves to children and adults with 22 > PAN PODIUM | SUMMER 2005

Special Needs for a significant number of physical reasons. People with Special Needs could be divided into two main categories, those with physical difficulties and others with learning difficulties. Others with behaviour and emotional problems may grow out of their difficulties.

Players with physical difficulties, including one-handed people and wheelchair-users need the instruments placed at the right angle to be played. However, for the most severely disabled, whose contact with the outside world is through switches, steel pan is unlikely to be successful. If the person particularly likes the sound it would be better to sample it, and then route it through a sound beam or a switch.

Players with autism could be successful, or may have absolutely no interest in pans and need the training of their support worker to give them a fighting chance of playing and liking them. Teachers should not be put off by them covering their ears as it takes a while for them to adjust to the loud metallic sound. Children with behavioural problems need tutors with good management techniques and appropriate teaching methods. Children with severe or moderate learning difficulties [SLD, MLD], including those with Down’s syndrome need a carefully selected repertoire and will benefit hugely from colour-coding the chords. Steel pans have suffered in the past from teachers using only one teaching method. Everyone including people with SEN have a preferred way of learning. It is therefore important that a variety of teaching and learning styles are used. The benefits of steel pans for children with SEN easily outweigh the disadvantages. The low pans have large playing surfaces which are good for those with poor motor skills; the higher pans allow the often exceptionally able children with behaviour problems to reach for the skies! Playing in a steel band is good for group work, teamwork, and developing cooperative skills. They are free-standing, safe and non-threatening instruments that don’t compromise safety and personal space. The disadvantages hardly need mentioning, so I won’t! Including SEN in Music which includes full references to steel pans for children with SEN was written by Victoria Jaquiss and Diane Paterson and published by David Fulton in May 2005. by Victoria Jaquiss


> BAND PROFILE pan > music”. His approach is “a blend of music theory, steel pan history and the art of playing the steel pan". HE IS CONVINCED THAT IN THE NEAR FUTURE UTOPIA WILL HAVE CULTIVATED “MUSICIANS HUNGRY FOR FULL KNOWLEDGE OF THE ART FORM” IN THIS FERTILE PAN ZONE OF NEW YORK.


Tenor, Marlon “Goose” Guerra, began playing pan as a youth with Arima Government Secondary in Trinidad, the only steel orchestra performing with a folk group at that time. He also played with Nutones and in 1988 migrated to the US. Goose traveled around a bit until his love for Jouvert led him back to the steel pan community and the vibe of Utopia. HE STRESSES RESPECT FOR THE YOUTH AND AIM TO TEACH THEM ELEMENTS OF STEEL BAND MANAGEMENT AND WAYS TO USE PAN AS A VEHICLE TO FOSTER MUSIC EDUCATION. Bassist Ian Gomez, a mechanical engineering student totally immersed in learning the theory of music, would like to see the membership grow as well as travel and interact more with the global steel pan family. He enjoys exploration into other musical genres and is committed to being an exemplar and attract more youth to the steel pan art form.



“Help Turn It Around” is the call of Utopia Pan Soul -The Next Generation of steel pan musicians in the New York area. On the rebound from the destruction of some of their musical instruments during last summer, Sheldon Elcock, Curt Rogers and Ian Gomez lead this close knit family of musicians and are concentrating their efforts on leaving a sterling legacy for The Next Generation. Sheldon believes they will accomplish promoting pan to an elevated premise by a program that focuses on disciplined music theory and dedication to the steel pan art form. They seek out alliances through a “Carnival of Instruments”. They are fully immersed in the PanJazz movement and perform at the Pan Jam in Washington DC, Rhode Island Jazz Fest and various other functions throughout the year. A double second player with a love for bass, Sheldon’s innovative style can be seen in the 24 > PAN PODIUM | SUMMER 2005

bass arrangements now sold by PanYard, Inc. President, arranger and educator are terms that best describe Curt Rogers. Having grown with Solo Harmonites in Trinidad he branched out to the West Coast then worked with steel pan workshops in schools and other venues from San Diego to Arizona, including Arizona State University. These experiences motivated him to seek out pan people who exhibit a “desire to do something progressive and develop more ways to get the message out regarding steel

The effervescent Urban Guillard, a native of St. Lucia refers to the cello as the “sweetest pan on the block”. Although new to the steel pan movement, he is insightful to the need for growth and exposure within the steel pan community. As a tradesman he is hands on and has a desire to learn the elements of pan tuning and arranging. He also would like to see greater archives to the “pan greats” and searches for opportunities to get involved in nurturing youth to the culture of steel pan music. Utopia’s women in steel are Patricia Watkins and Nessa Antoinette Roberts. Nessa’s blessings were revealed two years ago when she linked up with Utopia and fulfilled her desire to play pan and guitar (guitar pan). The women have taken charge to help pass on the culture and heritage of steel pan music to the young people affiliated with Utopia. Shaffique Mohammed, a drummer and proud member of the steel pan fraternity enjoys the cohesiveness of the Utopia family and concentrates on looking for ways to promote pan shows and break ground in new areas for pan. Through the generosity of Sammy Llewllyn, a former T&T national footballer and distinguished member of the steel pan family, Utopia’s new home is truly a musical haven with smooth soulful sound and soothing tone. With the support of the steel pan fraternity, Utopia will certainly “Turn It Around” rebuild their orchestra and have their contribution recorded to the everlasting music of steel. CONTACT UTOPIA PAN SOUL -THE NEXT GENERATION AT or - by Vanessa Clarke

PAN JAZZ Trevor Kydd’s Jazz Quartet This CD delivers pan jazz the Trevor Kydd’s way. Trevor’s own steel pan touch is greatly enhanced by Stefan Hansson on piano, Olof Karlen on double bass with Niclas Andersson on drums. Based in Sweden, the quartet’s chosen repertoire is mainly good old evergreens. Twelve tracks of truly divine easy listening music, mix a drink, grab an armchair and relax and let the music take you on its musical journey. The four jazz classics on the album Erroll Garner’s ‘Misty’, John Lewis’s ‘Afternoon in Paris’, Charlie Parker’s ‘Now’s the time’ and Theolonius Monk’s ‘Round About Midnight’ certainly lays the foundation of this jazz quartet to trip down memory lane with the added touch of this young 20th century instrument, the steel pan. Fancy adding this connoisseur’s item to your collection then email: or call him on +46-40511222


> BAND PROFILE Other founder members include Teresa, who spent many a cold winter evening playing Janet’s pans in an attempt to capture some of that Caribbean sunshine, Lisa, one of youngest members, convinced her parents to buy her double seconds so she could continue playing after she left school and Kevin, Janet’s husband, who enjoyed pan in the Caribbean, tried it out in the workshop and became hooked on the cellos.

Pan Sticks FOR SALE contact: Felix Joseph Tel: 020 8478 8773 Mob: 07808 847 974

After one or two aborted efforts with people coming and going and with the help of Gerald Forsyth they managed to put a few numbers together and were basically playing for their own enjoyment when along came Kenny. Kenny and Ian joined later with Kenny taking to the bass like the proverbial duck to water whilst Ian who had previously played with the Norfolk Police Steel Band added that extra feature with his multi talented playing skills. Ian’s two sons, Jamie and Tom also play drums and percussion in the band. Their most recent member is Kim who is extremely dedicated and learned almost their entire repertoire in 3 months.

MANGO Mango, the fruit, is sweet and delectable to the palate and so is Mango steel band’s music to the ear. Mango sttelband was formed in 2002 following a pan workshop by Gerald Forsyth who travelled to the depths of Norfolk to impart some of his knowledge to the good folk there. The initial workshop brought together the first five members.


Founder member, Janet Benjafield, has been playing pan for about eight years having learned in Tobago from Selwyn Alexander. She organised the workshop with the help of Anslem Samuel of Pantonic Steel Orchestra in an effort to fulfil her dream of playing regularly in an adult steel band. Janet, a regular visitor to Tobago, has played twice in the Trinidad and Tobago National Panorama.


Fellow founder, Judi Rafferty has been playing tenor for approximately 12 years. She was first introduced to playing pan by a work colleague and went on to play with the Comets Steel Band and be one of the founder members of the Norfolk Police Steel Band (now disbanded). She has played in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago National Panorama and at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham.

Selwyn spent six months with them last summer, teaching, arranging and playing at a variety of events throughout Norfolk. This was the turning point for Mango. Under the intense instruction of Selwyn the band came to life. THEY NOW HAVE A FULL REPERTOIRE, CD AND QUITE A FULL DIARY FOR THIS SUMMER INCLUDING MUSIC FESTIVALS, LORD MAYORS STREET PROCESSION, LOCAL CARNIVALS, WEDDINGS AND PARTIES. If you are interested in joining this band or want more information then please contact: Judi Rafferty, 07890 284644 or Janet Benjafield 01493 369669




THE PAN PLAYERS ASSOCIATION OF TRINIDAD & TOBAGO The instruments are finely tuned and positioned, the conductor is on his podium; the audience is waiting patiently for the start of the performance yet nothing happens. The important factor is missing – the musicians. Simple equation: No musicians = No Music.

The idea to form the Pan Players Association of Trinidad & Tobago (PPA) came about in 2000 when Chairman, Bevon ‘Bellies’ Phillips, an established musician and arranger decided that enough was enough. The PPA is a non-profit organisation geared to empower the youth through the advancement of the steelpan movement in Trinidad & Tobago. Their motto – Development through Cooperation amplifies this. They became incorporated on the 18/1/2005. 28 > PAN PODIUM | SUMMER 2005

The PPA recognise that other countries e.g. England, USA, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland were making steps to manufacture the steel pan commercially and having it placed on the curriculum of their educational systems whilst in Trinidad & Tobago it was not being taken treated similarly.

Bevon stated that, ‘qualified pan musicians must be appointed as tutors in schools to nurture the abundance of existing talent in T&T. Access to programs to develop music literacy skills will augur this artform into an established profession. It is only in this aspect that the world is ahead of us.’ He went on to say that ‘IT IS TIME TO TURN THE PAN YARD INTO AN EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT TO ENSURE DEVELOPMENT EDUCATIONALLY, CULTURALLY AND ECONOMICALLY.’ PPA’s vision to turn the lay player into a professional with a viable profession is yet another step in the evolution of the pan man who was once seen as the village badjohn, hooligan, criminal or low life. This step of transformation into the professional musician through a system of education and grading in sight-reading, knowledge of music theory and practice affords the musician a sense of pride and dignity.

The PPA would like to see Pan Trinbago, the world governing body for steel pan; set up a trust fund for pan musicians to assist pan players in music literacy, a credit union for financial assistance and a pan players academy as a finishing school to make young men and women proud ambassadors of T&T. The PPA appeals to all T&T pan musicians to show strength in their conviction for good governance, accountability, transparency and discussion on the development of the national instrument. The PPA is also promoting the creation of a Pan Literacy Academy (PLA), this arm of the organisation will be responsible for education leading to professional qualifications and a viable career helping to mould and further develop the steel pan artform. In closing Bevon stated that a global PPA is their vision for the future.

> Contact Interested in the cause then contact The PPA on: 001868-780-4456 or Players2005@










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Panpodium Issue 11  

Spreading the Love of Pan

Panpodium Issue 11  

Spreading the Love of Pan