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CHAIR’S FORWORD ● ● ●

WELCOME, 2007

has been one of the most difficult, and also one of the most rewarding, years as Chair of the British Association of Steelbands. The Association’s decision to move the National Panorama Competition into Hyde Park was controversial with other carnival arenas and the community at large. Nevertheless, the bands held firm in their belief that moving the Panorama into the heart of the world’s most diverse capital was not only right for steel bands but also for the carnival generally. Anyone who attended Panorama, or who has seen the DVD recording, knows we were right! Already the leading pre-Carnival event, the 2007 Panorama attracted an audience of thousands and, despite a few technical problems, the venue proved perfect raising the profile of steel pan, the culture and the movement ten fold. BAS would like to thank the Greater London Authority and the Mayor’s Office, Royal Parks, OPSG, London Notting Hill Carnival Ltd and the production and security teams for their efforts in making this historical event such a success. Another significant success was the hosting of the 2007 J’Ouvert. BAS thanks Eric Stewart of the Met Police for his support of and confidence in the Association, and also Shabaka Thompson of Carnival Village who provided stewarding uniforms and helped to manage the processional route. BAS also thanks Grace Food for their support of this year’s Best Steel Band on the Road competition at the Notting Hill Carnival. Their contribution and support of the event, and attendance at the Annual Awards, is testimony to the growing profile of BAS and its members. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership. It is with sadness I report the passing of two of the pan fraternity ‘greats’ - Ezekiel ‘Biggs’ Yearwood on 13 September and on 28 September 2007, Allan Baptiste. Born in St Vincent, ‘Biggs’ arrived in the UK in 1965. A pan maker, tuner and educator, he set up Pantonic Steel Orchestra (London) with the late Raymond Joseph. Allan was former President of the Dominica National Pan Association. Allan returned to Dominica in 2003 having spent 12 years in the UK teaching pan and working with a number of bands including Newham Steel Orchestra and Nostalgia Steel Band. In October the UK’s carnival community also saw the passing of Odian ‘Skunky’ Cyrus, a calypsonian, musician and songwriter who worked tirelessly promoting soca music in the UK. He made it possible for many soca artists to perform and expand their fan base. Great ambassadors for the culture, Biggs, Allan and Skunky will all be sorely missed. This year however, we have also had some good news and happy celebrations. Frank Rollock of London All Stars fame celebrated his 70th birthday at home in true style. The evening saw performances by Frank and his family, together with Aubrey Bryan and Earl Rodney. And in November Junior Regello, Leader of Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra in Trinidad, was elected PNM candidate for San Fernando East, and will be sitting as a Member of Parliament in the Trinidad legislature. Junior has visited the UK several times with Skiffle Bunch and performed at London’s Regent Park, Royal Festival and Fairfield Halls Croydon as part of the Caribbean Carnival Extravaganza. BAS congratulates Junior on his achievement. On behalf of the Executive Officers, members and Future Development Forum, I wish you a blessed New Year and a successful and happy 2008.

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> ISSUE 16 WINTER 2008

CONTENTS● ● ● 7

Billy Ocean on tour with Ebony

Billy Ocean and Ebony toured the UK with their first performance at the Hammersmith Apollo.

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Steel Bandits

This band is a family, a family that is rare and inimitable and Randolph and Marion are their beloved musical parents.

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07

Notting Hill Panorama 2K7

BAS annual national competition featuring top UK steelbands

Extrem Normal - Normal Extrem Steelband

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Steelband of musicians with disabilities bringing joy to their audiences with their soulful and enthusiastic performances.

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US Navy Steel Band In 1957, American naval Admiral Daniel V. Gallery created the first official non-Trinidadian American-based steel band

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Bobby Mohammed and Guinness Cavaliers

Cavaliers led by the young Lennox ‘Bobby’ Mohammed made quantum leaps in the world of steelband in a remarkably short period.

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Mark Loquan

Celebrating 10 years of composing for pan.

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21

London All Stars Steel Orchestra

The youngsters in the band have been making their mark each year at the Notting Hill Jouvert competition, winning it for three consecutive years 2004 – 2006

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BAS 9th Annual Awards

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Brian Bean Griffith

BAS Ninth Annual Awards Presentation and Dinner. This iconic event is now a must for the UK steelband communities. Composer, arranger, pannist. Brian continues to explore music using the steelpan as his chosen instrument.

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Entertainment Reviews

32

Dudley Dickson

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Pan Clash

A competition for young steelpan soloists to showcase their skills. Pan tuner extraordinaire. Dudley’s innovative quest continues with his numerous inventions.

Angel Pan Steelband

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Alan Baptiste

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Steelband meets Big Band

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This group of Swiss pannists takes great pride in the quality of their performances

Ralph MacDonald

Mixty Motions – RMD, three time Grammy award winner releases yet another CD filled with rhythms to rock your soul.

Iron Man – Engine Room

The heart beat of the steelband. The Iron man is the virtuoso percussionist in the engine room of the steel band.

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The steel pan fraternity in Dominica and in East London has lost one of its biggest stars and dedicated worker for the musical genre.

For the first time in Denmark, a steelband teams up with a jazz big band to produce a series of concerts as one ensemble.

Wayne Ricardo Gibson

Self thought musician, born in Barbados where his main musical influences originated

Steelband Shop Holland

Four enthusiastic people about the steel pan art form making in roads in Holland .

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Readers Letters

Carnival Village

A flagship organisation promoting Carnival Arts

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School Proms 2007

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CSI Community Project

3000 inspiring young musicians come together to celebrate Britain’s impressive musical talent

Caribbean Steel International (CSI) has opened a community group steel band in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

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hello...

2007 has been a very memorable year for BAS and its UK steelband communities. The move of the National Steelband Panorama, ‘Champions of Steel ‘competition, the UK’s premier pre-Carnival event, from Kensal Road into Hyde Park, at the heart of the world’s most diverse capital was the biggest transformation of this competition since its inception. It is envisaged that the opportunities Hyde Park offers will be maximised for the benefit of the bands and for pan in general. ‘In days of old he was looked upon as a hooligan, today he is recognised as a pan musician’. This statement epitomizes the struggle of recognition for the instrument and its musicians. Pan Podium continues to actively support and promote the unselfish efforts of pannists, arrangers, tuners and management globally to its world audience ensuring that the struggle is always at the forefront with the global pan family reaping the fruits of their labour. ‘Music is the Food of Love’ and Pan Podium’s mission is to ensure that this love reaches the

EVENT PROFILE ● ● ●

world by spreading the gospel according to Pan. Having arrived in the UK since the 1950s, the steel pan artform continues its upward trend of establishing itself into British culture through the creation of numerous bands and more importantly, the significant increase in young pannists ensuring its continuity. BAS’s member bands continue to promote steelband music through their numerous events in the UK and abroad whilst BAS’s annual events add to this promotion with our ninth successful annual Awards event bringing the curtains down on 2007. Pan Podium magazine and website continues to keep abreast of changes ensuring that they are both effective, efficient and continue to be a world leader. Pan Podium continues to work closely with our global media partners to ensure that we are aspiring and achieving in unity. Pan 4 Life!

Billy Ocean

ON TOUR WITH EBONY Ebony Steelband, the 2007 Notting Hill Panorama Champions supported the international singer, Billy Ocean, on his recent UK tour. For over three decades, Billy has captivated his worldwide audiences with his songs including his global hits ‘Caribbean Queen’ and ‘When the going gets tough’. In 1996, Ebony had the opportunity to support Billy at his concerts.

Robbie J

Editor: Robbie Joseph Writers/Contributors: Mark Loquan, Andrew Martin, Lionel McCalman, Vanessa Clarke, Sune Boregard, Kayleigh

Lewis, When Steel Talks, Randolph and Marion Karamath, Haroun Shah, Carola Bestgen, Princess Rollock, Junior Edwards, Shareen Gray, Wilfred Hohenkirk, Wayne Ricardo Gibson, Dudley Dickson, Brent Holder, Shabaka Thompson,Paul Joseph and Digna V.D.Broek. Photography: Response Photography - Layout & Design Print: Donald Seepaul (Indus Digital Colour Services) Published by: BRITISH ASSOCIATION OF STEELBANDS The Tabernacle, Powis Square, London W112AV Tel: 020 7565 7813 - Fax: 020 7565 7810 E-mail: panpodium@aol.com or robbie@panpodium.com Website: www.panpodium.com 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.

NEED A STEELBAND? All events catered for Steelbands to suit any occassion E: steelbands@panpodium.com 6

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Eleven years later Ebony was again able to be supportive to the singer at his concerts during his 2007 UK tour. This time around, with three number 1 hits, Billy Ocean and Ebony started the tour with their first concert at the Hammersmith Apollo in London to an audience in excess of 5000. Ebony’s half hour set drew rapturous applause from the patrons initiating the start of a very successful tour. Augustine ‘Pepe’ Francis, Director of Ebony, stated, “Billy has

helped Ebony when they needed it so being a support act was the least we could do.” Billy in his percussive music mode has played ‘Iron’ in Ebony’s ‘engine room’ for over twelve years. He also played the tenor pan with them at the 2002 World Steelband Festival in Trinidad. Ebony’s repertoire was arranged by world panorama champion arranger, Annise ‘Halfers’ Hadeed and included songs like, ’Bahia Girl’ and ‘Ain’t Nobody’. Their

repertoire also included solos from a percussionist, guitarist and a saxophonist. Ebony’s manager, Albert Faustine, said “Our performance was exceptional and there were people who did not know about steelband music and we showed them what we are capable of. As a group of young people we showed them our talent and our versatility as we got them involved in certain tunes by singing along and dancing.” Billy and Ebony went on to perform at Wolverhampton, Essex and Manchester. In all their concerts female patrons could be seen shouting hysterically, ‘we love you Billy’ whilst extending their hands for Billy to bring them on stage.

Sean Clarke, a pannist from Ebony said, “It was a great experience. Every performance was slightly different. It gave us the chance to show the versatility of pan playing to a larger audience.” Billy confirmed, “I am glad that I was able to do a concert with Ebony again but it would be nice for us to do a collaboration where they play along as I sing. I would love for us to perform together all over the world.” Ebony also supported Billy at his concert on December 16th 2007 in Hackney. For further information, log on to www. billyocean.co.uk. By Kayleigh Lewis

PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008

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● ● ● BAND PROFILE

Steel BANDITS

>

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As far back as 1997, the Naparima Alumni Association of Canada provided steelpan classes for the community at Cedarbrae Collegiate where Mr. Randolph Karamath is a teacher. He was also given the role as tutor for the Naparima steelpan classes.

WINTER 2008 PAN PODIUM

BAND PROFILE ● ● ●

During this time, Cherlin McColman, one of the first individuals from the community came to learn to play the instrument under Mr. Karamath’s direction. Meanwhile, Michael Jagdeo (affectionately referred to as Jagdeo) who was a high school student at Cedarbrae Collegiate began his journey with the steelpan in an extra-curricular setting, under the tutorship of Randolph Karamath. Randolph’s daughter, Shelli Karamath, who began playing through Naparima’s steelpan programme at West Humber Collegiate around 1991, also helped tutor her father’s classes at Cedarbrae on a one-to-one level. In 1999, Mikey Captain, another student at Cedarbrae, signed up to take the Steel Pan music-credit course and fell in love with the instrument. Around the same time, Cherlin introduced her friend, Shari Ralph, who joined the Naparima classes. These were the first pioneer members who would later form the foundation of the Steel Bandits. Cherlin, Shari, Michael, Mikey, Shelli and their leader Randolph, displayed not only the ability to perform well and interpret music exceptionally, they also enjoyed playing together and truly admired the sound they produced as an unofficial group, as they performed frequently for small gatherings and events. Around 2004, Kenwyn Kipenji, a talented student at Cedarbrae began playing the pans and later became their drummer. A selftaught, quiet but creative and versatile drummer, Kenwyn breathed rhythmic life into the Bandits. Gerry Williams, who joined the Naparima classes in 2002 to learn to play the bass pans, revealed that he was a bass guitarist. Now and again he would join the group with his bass guitar, which polished their sound. Another important member is Janice ‘Pan Jan’ Ellis. ‘Pan Jan’ purchased her own pan in 1999 and was a devoted player in the Naparima classes. A few years later, she joined the soon-to-be “Bandits” where she displayed a keen ear for picking up songs quickly. In 2003, surgery interrupted her learning for two months. Despite this, her original determination to get back into the groove was still

visible. ‘Pan Jan’ has been a faithful enthusiast of the Bandits always providing guidance and constructive advice to the band. Around 2003, they made a concerted decision to form a gigging band that would perform professionally for various events such as weddings, parties, fundraisers etc. They created an identity of their own with an official name and logo expertly designed by Gerry Williams and stepped away from the generous and nurturing care that the Naparima Alumni had provided for so long. It was in that year that the name “The Steel Bandits” was established. Even though these members have been playing together since 1999, “The Steel Bandits” was established In 2003. Unfortunately, at the end of 2003, Mikey Captain moved away to begin a new life in Florida. Mikey’s enthusiasm and commitment to the band was passionate and unremitting. He will always be regarded as one of the pioneer members of this musical family, their “bass bwoy”. The Steel Bandits extends their gratitude to Mikey for his continuous love and support. Throughout the years, the band was very fortunate to have had many prominent personalities in the Pan/ Calypso community lend a helping hand in their formation and development. Some of their biggest fans include gifted pannists Chris Copeland and Pat

“Pan Man” McNeilly, pan-maker/tuner/ arranger/pioneer Tommy Crichlow as well as calypso researcher George Maharaj. The band has had the privilege of receiving performance coaching from Robby Charles, the former Captain of the Pamberi Steel Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago. Eminent local pannist and arranger, Mark Mosca, specially arranged the group’s theme song, a classic calypso from the eighties, “Bandit” originally performed by Organiser. This is an incredibly meaningful and treasured gift to the Bandits. Last but certainly not least remain the two most important figures within this group, Mr. Randolph Karamath and his wife, Marion, who have managed and fostered the talents of this band from its inception. The combination of Randolph’s leadership and musical arrangements and Marion’s organizational and promotional skills (and cooking), are the elements that have produced such a fervent, unwavering group of promising musicians. As Michael Jagdeo said, “We have all built close relationships with each other over the past few years. These relationships make the music that much more enjoyable!” This band is a family, a family that is rare and inimitable and Randolph and Marion are their beloved musical parents.

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● ● ● EVENT PROFILE

PANORAMA GOES TO HYDE Ebony captured their PARK! 16th Panorama Title! The 29th Notting Hill Panorama ‘Champions of Steel competition was hosted in Hyde Park for the first time in its history. Since its inception it has been hosted at a number of venues including the Scrubs and Kensal road. On Saturday the 25th August 2007, Hyde Park brought to life with a touch of Caribbean ambience as the sweet strains of steelband music coupled with the mouth-watering smells of the West Indian cuisine blended with the warm summer weather.

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EVENT PROFILE ● ● ●

The theme for the Notting Hill Carnival 2007 was ‘Set All Free’ celebrating the bi-centenary of the abolition of the slave trade, as well as remembering that slavery continues in many forms across the world. 2007 marked a new beginning in partnership working between London Notting Hill Carnival Ltd (LNHCL), the Mayor of London and the British Association of Steel bands (BAS) to host the Steelband Panorama competition in Hyde Park. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone said: “The plan to stage Panorama in Hyde Park is a very welcome development, building on Panorama’s historic position as a key part of the Carnival celebrations and as the successor to Caribbean Showcase, which has previously been held in the park. “I am very pleased to be backing Carnival again, particularly in the year that we are marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in England.” Nine steel orchestras with over 600 pan musicians who practiced for hundreds of hours and played thousands of pan instruments on the night Ebony Steel Orchestra captured their 16th Panorama ‘Champions of Steel’ title when the UK steelband community celebrated the 29th anniversary of this renowned competition. The evening was truly blessed for this highly fuelled national steelband musical battle. ABC Brass, the champions of the Battle of Drums competition at the 2007 Rotterdam Carnival opened the show with some energetic drumming accompanied by choreographed dances. Their appearance at the Panorama competition was made possible through an exchange program brokered by the British Association of Steelbands and the organisers of Rotterdam Carnival, Ducos, in Holland. In return, Ebony Steel Orchestra will appear as a guest band at their 2008 Rotterdam Carnival. Over the past five years, the UK pan community has seen an influx of young ‘local’ arrangers enter this competition in the likes of Kyron Akal, Leroy Clarke, Brent Holder, Paul Dowie, Chris Storey and Samuel Du Bois, a new entrant for 2007. Samuel Du Bois’s vibrant musical rendition of Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe’s,

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‘Sharing Licks’ saw Ebony capture their 16th Panorama title in this competition with 264 points. A newcomer to this competition as an arranger, Samuel has certainly made his mark and proved that the UK’s young arrangers are a force to be reckoned with. In second place was Stardust led by world champion soloist, Brent Holder, whose musically

arranged rendition of ‘Sharing Licks’ saw their energized and harmonious delivery awarded 263 points. Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe’s musical arrangement of his composition, ‘Sharing Licks’ saw Mangrove’s highly charged performance attain third place with 257 points. In fourth place with 255 points was Metronomes with their musically PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 11


● ● ● EVENT PROFILE

arranged tempo driven rendition of ‘Sharing Licks’ by Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore. Chris Storey’s musical rendition of Amrit Samaroo’s, ‘Band from Space’ saw Pantasia in fifth place with 252 points. This was Pantasia’s second appearance at this competition and they are making steady progress. Sixth place went to Real Steel from Plymouth. Leroy Clarke’s musically arranged, Band from Space’ saw their vibrant delivery achieve 246 points. Paul Dowie continued to instill a great sense of competitiveness in Croydon who followed closely in seventh place with 245 points. Eight position

BAND PROFILE ● ● ●

went to Glissando who played a Rudy ‘Two Lef’ Smith’s melodic arrangement of ‘Band from Space’ with 228 points whilst Southside Harmonics who played ‘Sharing Licks’ musically arranged by Eustace Benjamin was awarded ninth place with 211 points. Nine outstanding UK steel orchestras fully entertained the audience on the evening with a wealth of steelband music and equally great teamwork. The British Association of Steelbands now looks forward to their 30th Champions of Steel competition in 2008 and is already looking at improving this iconic event to make it more spectacular.

Results:

BAS/CAPCA Junior Panorama Competition Place 1st 2nd 3rd 4th

Band Croydon Steel Orchestra Eclipse 2000 Steel Orchestra Comets Youth Steel Orchestra Pan Ultimate

Tune I Dare You Band From Space Symphony On De Street Carnival Come Again

BAS 29th National Panorama Competition Place 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th

Band Ebony Steelband Stardust Steel Orchestra Mangrove Steelband Metronomes Steel Orchestra Pantasia Steel Orchestra Real Steel Croydon Steel Orchestra Glissando Steel Orchestra Southside Harmonics

BAS J’Ouvert Bomb Competition Place 1st 2nd 3rd 4th

Band Ebony Steelband London All Stars Real Steel Caribbean Steel International

Place 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th

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Band Ebony Steelband Metronomes Steel Orchestra Comets Steel Orchestra Southside Harmonics Pan Necktar Croydon Steel Orchestra Nostalgia Steelband Glissando Steel Orchestra Real Steel Caribbean Connection (Switzerland)

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EXTREM NORMAL - NORMAL EXTREM Pts 47 46 44 36

Tune Sharing Licks Sharing Licks Sharing Licks Sharing Licks Band From Space Band From Space Band From Space Band From Space Sharing Licks

Pts 264 263 257 255 252 246 245 228 211

Tune My Way Wonderful World I Don’t Want To Know Lavway

Pts 166 156 156 128

Tropical Rhythms Best Steel Band on the Road

4

Tune Pts Lately 174 Ah Going Home 168 Fire Storm 158 We Love Carnival 156 Just Can’t Go On Like This 146 Soul Limbo 143 Hammer 141 Always On My Mind 138 Don’t Matter 135 Unknown 132

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In 1998, Carola Bestgen founded with the support of the Swiss Association for people with disabilities, this unusual steelband with mental, body and sight disabled players. Their thirty (30) players come from different institutions and meet for weekly practice sessions, in an old brick brewery next to the river in Berne. The steelband performs regularly at companies’ events, institutions, schools, universities, society clubs, cities and private parties. Even one of the seven top officials of the Swiss government, “Bundesrat Schmid”, played a guitar pan at an official event with this extraordinary steelband. Thanks to the money earned from all these concerts, Carola Bestgen can finance part of the teaching and tuning costs and purchase the necessary instruments and equipment.

The extraordinary Swiss steelband with all kinds of handicapped people. Carola stated, “The steel pan-courses are not only developing teamwork but also the quality of life and the selfconfidence of every single handicapped player. Even their joy of living is enhanced with a sense of belonging. They play simple tunes with great enthusiasm coupled with body and soul deliveries that fuels an electric atmosphere - straight into the hearts of their audiences. The public is completely amazed by the power of their playing, joy and courage that they project. Differences between people with disabilities and those without disabilities are overcomed, thanks to the power of steel pan music!” Extrem Normal Normal Extrem steelband will celebrate their 10th anniversary in 2008. They will also be afforded the opportunity to play at the final ceremony of the 2008 Special Olympics, as well as at official events for the UEFA Euro

2008 in Berne. Carola Bestgen confirmed, “For me all these steel pan musicians with disabilities are the heroes of daily life. I think that we can learn a lot from their spirit of living. It is a great pleasure and honour teaching them and it brings a lot of satisfaction into my own life!” Carola Bestgen is also an enthusiastic pan-player and got her inspiration from playing at the London Notting Hill Carnival and the world renowned Trinidad Carnival. She also performed at the European Festival in Paris, T&T World Steelband Festival

and New York Panorama competition. For more information on this unique steel band please contact: Carola Bestgen, Musik Bestgen, Uferweg 42C, 3013 Berne-Switzerland. Email: info@musikbestgen.ch In 2007, Extrem Normal - Normal Extrem steelband won two awards : “The Innovation Award 2007” from the Raiffeisen Bank of Switzerland as well as the “1st Samaritan Award 2007” from the Swiss Social Association. By Carola Bestgen

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● ● ● BAND PROFILE

BAND PROFILE ● ● ● later years Mannette, Cliff Alexis, and Phil Solomon periodically built and tuned pans for the band.

US

NAVY STEEL BAND

A Pan-American Tradition:

U.S. Navy Steel Band Circa 1990s

When conjuring up memories of early steel pan pioneers, one recalls visions of Ellie Mannette and Winston “Spree” Simon poundingout dust bins and creating life from steel. Likewise, the fame and visibility of legendary internationally touring Trinidadian steel bands such as the 1951 TASPO steel band and the Esso Trinidad Tripoli steel band are also well celebrated. Yet, unknown to many is that in 1957 American naval Admiral Daniel V. Gallery created the first official nonTrinidadian American-based steel band. Unquestionably the most influential of all early steel bands in the United States, Admiral Gallery, Commandant of Tenth Naval District and the band’s 14

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patron, stationed the steel band at the U.S. Naval base on San Juan, Puerto Rico.

U.S. Navy Steel Band, Brussels Worlds Fair, 1957

The popularity of the Pandamoniacs, as they were known, immediately took San Juan by storm, instilling enough confidence in Gallery to embark on tours of the continental United States, South America, and Europe for the 1957 Brussels Worlds Fair. Gallery’s enthusiasm and much of the steel band’s early success is a direct result of Harry Belafonte and the calypso craze that swept America during the mid 1950s. The first musicians of the U.S. Navy

Steel Band were actually navy brass band musicians stationed in San Juan, fortunate enough to receive Gallery’s reassignment. During the early years, Ellie Mannette was regularly flown in to the naval base from Trinidad for instruction, tuning, and maintenance. The process of hiring Trinidadians to train American steel bands was necessary, considering the only recent evolution of the steel band genre, and continued throughout the early decades of the American steel band movement. Moreover, this method of training was aided by the many Trinidadian-based steel bands extending American tours. When the U.S. Navy Steel Band moved to New Orleans in 1970, band members became expert arrangers and tuners, and the band was self sustaining; though in

Preparing for an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, 1958

The U.S. Navy Steel Band was particularly popular on national variety shows and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958 and 1959. They also appeared on the Adventure Tomorrow series for CBS in 1960. Equally popular on vinyl, the U.S. Navy Steel Band released a total of eleven albums on the Continental, Cook, Sony-Lab, and A & R labels, most of which were released between 1957-1970. The arrangements performed by the band are by all accounts similar to any of the early Trinidadian steel drum bands; calypsos, mambos, bassa novas, etc... and several of Franz Grissom’s (USNSB director and chief arranger 19571964) arrangements including Fire in me Pan and Greensleeves have been posthumously published. Gallery retired in the late 1960s, and the Pandemoniacs relocated bases to New Orleans in 1970, residing there until 1999. Gallery’s intensions and motivation for creating the U.S. Navy Steel Band is not entirely clear; however, the resulting cultural significances of the band are readily apparent. The U.S. Navy Steel Band brought the music, dance (limbo),

essentially the cultural capital of the Caribbean Islands to the fore of the American populous. More directly, Gallery employed the steel band’s powerful public notoriety for Navy recruitment, goodwill ambassadorship, and as a personal cocktail band for his many social obligations as a naval commandant.

.U.S. Navy Steel Band, Carnival in Antigua, 1957

Former members suggest that since the move to New Orleans in 1970, the U.S. Navy Steel Band gave in excess of 3000 performances world-wide in addition to the approximately 3000 from 1957-1970. Considering this massive exposure, it was a shock to current and former members when in 1999 the announcement came from Navy brass that the U.S. Navy Steel Band was decommissioned and was to be disbanded. Despite early national and international fame, beginning in the late 1960s the U.S. Navy Steel Band gradually fell from public consciousness. In many ways, the U.S. Navy Steel Band has not been forgotten, and undoubtedly its influence is seen and felt in the contemporary American university steel band scene; particularly, Al O’Connor who established the first continuously running steel band program at an American university at Northern Illinois University. Ultimately, the U.S. Navy Steel Band aided in exposing the American public to steel band music, and ushering it through the calypso and exotica crazes of the 1950s and 60s. But the U.S. Navy Steel Band’s specific legacy to the growth and development of steel pan in America is also largely felt in the performance of Franz Grissom’s arrangements, the many former members who have formed professional steel band ensembles throughout the United States, and the donation, following disbandment, of the U.S. Navy Steel Band’s pans to youth steel bands. Photo Credits: Photos 1 & 2 are part of the Papers of Admiral Daniel V. Gallery and held in the Special Collections Division, Nimitz Library, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland

By Andrew. R. Martin © PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 15


● ● ● WHO’S WHO

WHO’S WHO ● ● ●

‘The lessons and achievements of this great band and leader can be seen as a paradigm for aspiring bands’

young Lennox ‘Bobby’ Mohammed, then aged only 18 and still a student of ‘Presentation College’, made quantum leaps in the world of steelband in a remarkably short period and soon became a tour de force for the next two decades. Guinness Cavaliers transformed the steelband from a

A PROFILE OF LENNOX ‘BOBBY’ MOHAMMED’S GUINNESS CAVALIERS STEEL ORCHESTRA In stark contrast to the 1950’s, in which Steelbands struggled to gain acceptance and social status, many writers refer to the 1960’s as the “Golden Era of Steelband”. Huge cultural changes were taking place and this was matched by the new sound of the steelbands as they challenged the boundaries of this incredible instrument. Experimental diversification of the basic format such as Anthony Williams’s (Pan Am North Stars) ‘spider web pan’, new tonal qualities (e.g. Alan Gervais steelpans) and the arrival of steelband sponsorship were

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major driving forces. Nearly all these activities were taking place in Port of Spain and in the north of Trinidad; conversely little attention was paid to developments in San Fernando and the south. However, this was all about to change with

contribution was immeasurable and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in New York for ‘The Sunshine Awards’ and received the ‘Humming Bird Gold Medal’ in 1992 for his immense contribution to the ‘development and shaping of the destiny of this instrument of the 20st century’.

...onlookers climbing to every vantage point to applaud and cheer on their heroes on J’ouvert morning 1965.

TRINIDAD IN THE 1960’S: TRANSFORMATION TO THE BIG BAND

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Bobby’s arrangement of this piece shocked even the composer while San Fernando welcomed them back with the greatest accolade ever given to a steelband; onlookers climbing to every vantage point to applaud and cheer on their heroes on J’ouvert morning 1965. The following year Guinness Cavaliers placed second in the National Panorama but rose to take the top prize again in 1967. The band then started looking for more challenging projects and entered the Music Festival of 1966, playing Acts I and IV of the opera Carmen for which they were awarded the prize for best arrangement and an overall place of third. Guinness Cavaliers entered the 1967 music festival with a classical composition written by Bobby called

the arrival of ‘The Cavaliers’, which unlike any other band, had to earn its sponsorship in open competition in Port of Spain’s Woodford Square in 1961 and then became known as ‘Guinness Cavaliers’. This new band led by the

modest force into what soon became known as the ‘Big Band’ and Bobby’s extraordinary talent began its musical cornucopia. By 1962/3 they were on the move and by 1964, Guinness Cavaliers took first place in the Southern Steelband competition and reached the All Trinidad Finals for the first time. A year on, they brushed aside the reigning champions of the two previous years, the inimitable Pan Am North Stars, taking the country by storm to win the National Panorama with a scintillating interpretation of Lord Melody’s “Mass”.

“Revelation from Beyond”; lifting the standards of steelband again to new heights. Crucially, he began taking steelband music out of Trinidad, first to its neighbour Venezuela in 1968, followed by several tours abroad to North America and Europe; helping to establish its presence at an international level. Bobby terminated his activities with Guinness Cavaliers in 1972, but went on to arrange for ‘The National Steelband of Trinidad and Tobago’ and several other steelbands up until 1993. His

The lessons and achievements of this great band and leader can be seen as a paradigm for aspiring bands. Today, the music of Guinness Cavaliers resonates in steelband repertoires throughout Trinidad and around the globe. David Rudder in his calypso ‘Engine Room’ poignantly pays tribute to him as “Bobby Mohammed with the Bell”; the percussion piece used to inspire the leadership qualities of this musical genius. Bobby Mohammed and the vibrant Guinness Cavaliers live on in the hearts and souls of steelband musicians everywhere and it was fitting that the opening presentation of the first academic conference on Steelband, University of East London, 2006 was a presentation by Haroun Shah on the life and work of his dear cousin, Bobby Mohammed and Guinness Cavaliers. By: Haroun N. Shah, Nostalgia Steelband, London. PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 17


● ● ● WHO’S WHO

WHO’S WHO ● ● ● I share with many along the way with other composers, arrangers, players, singers, lyricists, studio producers and musicians, panyard communities and steelbands in Trinidad and Tobago and abroad, schools, et al. Each year, and each song, has brought its own unique and memorable experiences, all of which I am most grateful for and give thanks. A most memorable experience occurred in 2006, after being awarded along with lyricists Keron Boodoosingh and Joel Feveck, and artiste Destra Garcia, the COTT Pan Song of the Year, “Colours Again”, a song that was performed by several steelbands across the world. Over the years though, various goals have been set and some achieved, and some not. One of those areas I would like to see more of is the whole aspect of music literacy, with pannists viewing themselves as musicians and our music being played beyond the steelpan, and being integrated into realm of conventional instruments.

MARK LOQUAN

celebrating 10 years

OF COMPOSING FOR PAN

While I have been composing music specifically for the pan community over the years, composing is something that I have been doing from my teenage years in several genres of music.

It is only after learning to play the tenor pan as a stage side member at Silver Stars in the early ‘90’s, and later performing in several Panoramas (with Super Sonics, Starlift, Potential Symphony, Silver Stars and Skiffle Bunch), Pan is Beautiful, Music Festivals, that I turned to composing music for pan in 1999. In 2000, I would play tenor with Skiffle Bunch at the World 18

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Steelband Festival in Trinidad in the year 2000, and later with Steel Pan Lovers (Finland) at the European Steelpan Festival in the year 2002 in Sete, France. Composing music for 2008 therefore represents 10 consecutive years of writing for the local and global pan community, beginning with the song “Glory” co-composed with Andy Sheafe, and sung by Sheldon Blackman in 1999. For

2008, three songs are released, one composed with Edwin Pouchet and two composed with Ken “Professor” Philmore, being vocalized by Steve Sealy (“Celebration Time”), Kerwyn Trotman (“Time to Breakaway”) and Destra Garcia (“Hooked”). One can get a sense of my journey over the years by reading a synopsis behind each song from www.markloquan. pan-jumbie.com/, a journey that

PAN IN EDUCATION Thanks to Pan Podium for highlighting in one of its previous magazines (Issue #14), the Pan in Education CD, coproduced with Sanch Electronix Ltd. It was really the aim of linking our music and the promotion of music literacy that drove such a project to be born, intended for the educational institutions and pan communities. While the project includes music by several steelbands and arrangers, it is really a methodology and an experiment, for any one or any band to use. The questions I pose to the pan community are: • What if our pannists/musicians could not only learn by aural skills but could also read and write music? • What if all of our musical arrangements on pan were not only recorded but musically scored and preserved to become part of the educational landscape for others to analyse and learn from? • What if we were to really harness the true talent and potential of our composers, pannists, arrangers, transcribers, etc to produce a whole new industry that could start from the classroom? Many of us have experienced the time it takes to learn a single Panorama arrangement, only for many great works

to be lost or forgotten, either because after several weeks or months, many players have “forgotten the notes”, or because the music simply was not scored. The Pan in Education double CD therefore not only includes pan recordings, but a second CD which includes all the scores for each pan (in Finale, MIDI and PDF formats), where individual parts can be isolated or combined together at any tempo to match individual ways of learning. There is no reason why any band could not utilize this methodology to preserve their repertoires and to accelerate the learning process for new recruits. My experience in Finland with Steel Pan Lovers in 2002, was stimulating in this regard, where I encountered so many young people, music literate at an early age in their schools, playing pan, and learning “Pan in A Minor” or “Hot, Hot, Hot” from scores. They were playing our own music not only because they liked the music, but also because it was scored. I wonder how many people could play Mozart or Beethoven’s music from centuries ago, if it was not scored. For the Pan in Education II, yet to be released, I have tried to push the boundary once more, by having a complete pan arrangement of one of my compositions, “Nostalgia”, performed on conventional orchestra with piano, strings, brass, woodwind, etc. The song was arranged by Liam Teague, and transcribed for orchestra by Gary Gibson, and performed by that National Sinfonia in Trinidad on August 19, 2007 at Queen’s Hall, Trinidad.

MUSIC LITERACY TRUST This not-for-profit organization was formed in 2004, which I have chaired since its inception. The Board includes Dr. Pat Bishop, Liam Teague, Dr. Jit Samaroo, Dr. Anne Osborne and Satanand Sharma (both of University of the West Indies(UWI), Center of Creative and Festival Arts (CCFA), headed by Sat), and Angela Lee Loy (Managing Partner of Aegis Bus. Solutions). The Trust has collected funds from several organizations, and has awarded scholarships to several young talented pannists at the UWI CCFA’s music degree or certificate programme specializing in pan, as well as to Trinidad nationals attending the graduate pan programme at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in music. Over the last two years, this concept was later extended to financially assist pannists in various steelband communities with music examinations to improve music literacy along with instruments. The Trust is currently working with the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and the Birdsong Academy (where there is an excellent model of community development through music programmes) with the aim of applying similar models to other pan communities in Trinidad and Tobago. Thanks to Robbie Joseph for the opportunity to be featured in the Pan Podium magazine, which indeed has set very high standards, and to the entire pan community for their support over the years and sharing this milestone of 10 years with me. All photos by Bertrand De Peeza By Mark Loquan PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 19


● ● ● BAND PROFILE

CARNIVAL VILLAGE @ THE TAB Carnival Village is a flagship organisation promoting Carnival Arts that nurtures and showcases artists, supports the development of Carnival related creative industries; and does so to enhance the cultural and economic well being of the communities it serves.

LONDON ALL STARS STEEL ORCHESTRA

“Hey boy…what is the name of that band again? You know, the band from South London, mainly family members… you know, Rollock’s band? Oh…you mean LONDON ALL STARS! That’s the name, London All Stars…what happen to them boy?” Frank Rollock’s seven talented children developed their musical skills on a variety of brass and reed instruments and the family band; The Royaltys enjoyed great success under Frank’s direction. Such intense interest developed for the pan instrument that in 1974 a band evolved to foster and maintain this, London All Stars was an obvious tribute to Frank’s background. He has directed the band through many successes, culminating in them winning the UK’s first National Steelband Festival Championship. Well, I am writing to put all you fans out there mind to rest. Due to circumstances out of their control, the band has been resting on their laurels for a few years now, but they still have been making their mark on the steelband scene in their own inimitable way. The youngsters in the band have been making their mark each year at the Notting Hill Jouvert competition, winning it for three consecutive years 2004 – 2006, with the older heads just being around to ensure that everything runs as 20

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smoothly as it possibly can. The beauty of it is that when people hear the band coming down the street, they automatically know its “All Stars” and their excitement at seeing the band “back on the road” is gratifying to say the least. The band in its own right has not been inactive, just more discerning in their performances. The band has been more prominent on the private function scene, with individual players enhancing other “band’s” performances at private functions, as those in the know realise that if you want a good session pan player that can play any pan, (and if the pay is right, will play two separate instruments at the same time i.e. bass and a strumming pan,) then you must have a “Rollock”. Out of frustration due to the lack of a place to practice, “Mr Steelband” – Frank Rollock Sr - built his own panyard in his back yard in Brixton, and the band is slowly coming back to terms of bringing back the “big band” for the British Association of Steelbands Panorama competition. Frank Rollock Jr has formed his own offshoot from the band, namely “Divine Steel” which has gone from strength to strength on the private

function scene. The band consists of key players from London All Stars, and the repertoire is diverse to say the least. They mainly perform Frank’s own compositions, a mixture of cultural, roots and calypso pieces, and these go down a storm at functions and clearly put Frank at the top as a composer to be reckoned with. The thing is, he is so humble in his achievements and laid back with his talent that he is sometimes overlooked, but clearly once it is known from which stable he hails from, then all is understood and nothing more need be said. The thing is people still tend to view the band as consisting of Frank Snr and his “children”, when in reality the children are children no more. Their ages range from Princess at 46 to Philip at 33. Yes…Princess is 50 in 4 years, and that in itself tells its own story of how long the band has been operating in its own right! London All Stars will always be well remembered for their unique style of playing and sound and people in the know are clamouring for their return. Panorama 2008? Watch this space! By Princess Rollock

Carnival Village is earmarked to take up residence in the Tabernacle after awarded the lease from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Supported by a Lottery Capital grant of £4.2m, Carnival Village will span its work over two spaces: The Tabernacle in W11 and at Chippenham Mews W9, which locates this unique project within two boroughs, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster respectively. The project is also supported by a grant of £505,000 by the LDA. The project was launch in 2001 and is the making of four partners who are rooted within the Carnival Artform: Yaa Asantewaa Arts and Community Centre, Association of British Calypsonians, Mangrove Y2K and Ebony Trust. The acquisition of the Tabernacle has afforded the opportunity to refurbish Chippenham Mews into a new building suitable for Carnival Industry development. Spearheaded by its newly appointed CEO, Shabaka Thompson, Carnival Village is destined to become London’s leading Centre for the development of the Arts and Business of Carnival. According to Shabaka “Carnival Village will play a major role as a leader in the Carnival Arts sector in Britain, with a strong international flavour. It will develop a robust arts entertainment programme supported by training and industry development

that will regenerate and service the sector for decades to come” David Elford, Project Manager, the man holding the building works together said, “We all feel that we may now be approaching the end of the beginning of this vital project, a project that has tested our resolve and perseverance. We have not been found wanting” Decorative and corrective drain works are earmarked to start at the Tabernacle in May, which will provide a new box office, restaurant and bar, small retail store and a more adequate practice space and office for Mangrove. From January 2009 major refurbishment on the YAA Chippenham Mews site will commence ending in December 2009.

Despite these works Carnival Village @ the Tab is set to open its doors in June when it will provide a programme of arts activities and events for the community. Prior to that members of the public are invited to participate in an Arts and Culture Symposium at the Tabernacle on Wednesday 13th February from 1pm –9pm. Anyone interested in attending the symposium or finding out more about Carnival Village @ the Tab should write to Shabaka.thompson@carnivalvillage. org.uk PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 21


● ● ● EVENT PROFILE

EVENT PROFILE ● ● ●

MusicalMagic School Proms 2007 • •

The Royal Albert Hall hosts Music for Youth’s ‘School Prom’ 3,000 inspiring young musicians come together to celebrate Britain’s impressive musical talent

Music for Youth is an educational charity with a world-wide reputation for its work in music education. It provides free access to performance opportunities for all kinds of young musicians through its annual programme of festivals and concerts. Music for Youth believes that performing 22

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in front of live audiences is a vital element in spurring on young people to greater achievement. More importantly this magical experience will play a major role in the development of their creativity, self-confidence and their emotional growth. The world’s most famous concert

hall; The Royal Albert Hall, was brought alive by Britain’s pure young talent between 12th–14th November with the acclaimed 2007 Music for Youth School Prom which celebrated its 33rd anniversary in 2007. This incredible concert brought together over 3,000 inspiring young

musicians, singers and dancers from every corner of the country and celebrated the outstanding breadth and quality of the youth music scene in the UK today. The achievements and individual artistry of all the young performers who took part was a tribute both to them and to the excellence of the teachers who fostered and developed their talent. The Schools Prom is a national celebration of the wonderful work taking place in and out of schools and clearly demonstrates the breath and diversity of youth music-making in the UK. Audiences were treated to performances by 34 carefully selected groups who have proven their talent earlier this year at the National Festival of Music for Youth where Brent Holder judged the Steel band category. The breathtaking line-up included talent ranging from near professional orchestras, jazz bands, music theatre groups, steel bands, soul singers and many more, representing nearly every possible genre of music. Music is alive and well in the schools and educational centres of the country and the Schools Prom underscores and celebrates this Pimlico School a multi-ethnic inner city comprehensive in Westminster has Visual and Performing Arts status and boasts a wealth of very musically gifted students. The school is currently going through the ‘special measures’ system, having been identified by OFSTED as a failing school. Massive change has occurred with new management and new staff that have obviously been very disruptive for the pupils. Music has been the one consistency throughout the school through a special music course that sadly they are fighting to save. With some very disruptive, deprived pupils in the school, music has really enabled some pupils to find their feet and this has been evident through the improvement in their school work. Pimlico Steel Band is made up of pupils from two year groups and has been together for 2 years. This hasn’t only been their first School Prom but the Music for Youth Festivals are the first time they have ever performed outside of Pimlico School. There are two sets of twins in the band all of whom are boys. One set are identical

This incredible concert brought together over 3,000 inspiring young musicians, singers and dancers from every corner of the country and celebrated the outstanding breadth and quality of the youth music scene in the UK today. and the others aren’t and the older identical twins act like mentors for the younger members. They are led by their musical tutor, Chris Storey – the musical arranger for the Pantasia steel orchestra that has firmly established themselves as a leading orchestra in the UK steel band community. In fact, Chris was also musically responsible for the Haringey Young Musicians’ Steel Orchestra appearing on the first night of the 2006 Schools Prom, they opened the second half of the concert with an exciting and vibrant performance of two pieces arranged especially for the orchestra by Chris. This was not the first time the orchestra of twenty 9-19 year olds had been invited to play at the Schools Proms, but it was in fact returning to the Royal Albert Hall after a rapturously received performance at the Music for Youth Primary Prom in October 2006. Every day of the Proms a magnificent massed choir performed, bringing together 500 stunning voices a piece – a feat that was immensely enjoyed by all attending patrons. In addition, each concert climaxed with a spinetingling finale of fireworks, balloons and a rendition of the passionate and patriotic “Land of Hope and Glory”. The events were hosted by acclaimed lyricist

Richard Stilgoe, composer Howard Goodall and Classic FM presenter Lisa Duncombe who joined the audiences in supporting the future of Britain’s music industry. The Schools Prom 2007 was sponsored by Music Industries Association, Youth Music, Department for Children, Schools and Families and Classic FM. The Proms was supported by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Garfield Weston Foundation, Musicians Benevolent Fund, Trinity Guildhall, Department of Education, Music for All and Music Manifesto. In addition numerous friends and donors make this event possible ensuring that the youth of the country is afforded this platform to showcase their amazing music skills and talents. Photos By Andy Howes By Paul Joseph at Republic PR Charity Registration number: 285831 Director: Larry Westland CBE Charity Registration No: 285831 Company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No 1611491. Registered office: 102 Point Pleasant, London, SW18 1PP. VAT No: 341017406

PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 23


BAND PROFILE ● ● ●

● ● ● BAND PROFILE

csi

CARIBBEAN STEEL INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY GROUP

Caribbean Steel International was originally formed in 2004 with three members. After obtaining invaluable experience from working with some of the top steelbands in the UK, Trinidad and Japan, they decided it would be a great idea to form a small group to do gigs owing to the demand for 3 or 4 piece steelbands. After ensuring that their small steelband was well established on the giging circuit CSI founding members decided to start a community group that would involve their local communities in the steelpan artform. 24

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After investing a substantial amount of time and effort, Caribbean Steel International (CSI) has opened a community group steel band in the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London. Their classes are aimed at giving the public the opportunity of learning about, and how to play the steelpan instrument. There were many reasons why CSI, now a four piece professional steel band, decided to run these classes. Brent Holder, CSI’s manager who teaches the art of playing the steelpan in Hammersmith and Fulham schools, realised that pupils suddenly found themselves with no place to continue these classes when they had left school. In addition, there are many people in the surrounding communities who never had the opportunity to learn how to play this wonderful musical instrument. CSI felt that the classes would be especially beneficial to those who are disabled, socially excluded and an advantage for the youths in the borough as it would keep them off the

streets and teach them a culture they may not already know about, also giving them the opportunity to enhance their teamwork skills and take pride in themselves and what they can achieve. Community Group members can look forward to performing their new repertoire of music at gigs and various steel-pan events held throughout the year. Along with exciting classes, there is also the great opportunity to enter steel pan competitions. CSI will also be visiting organisations, schools and institutions to conduct workshops for those groups who are unable to attend their weekly sessions. There has been so much interest shown for these community classes that they now have a waiting list. If you ever wanted to try the steel pan or have played this instrument in the past and would like to get back into it, now is a great time to start. The classes run weekly, everyone is welcome from age 8 - adult. Contact Brent on 07932 400 166. For more information check out www. myspace.com/csiuk and www.brentholder.com

CSI Tutors Brent Holder is one of the world’s no.1 steel pan soloist, arranger, tutor and composer. Brent has also performed the duties of adjudicator for the UK Junior Panorama 2006/2007, Croydon Music Festival in 2006, and The Music for Youth School Proms 2006/2007. Michael Toussaint is registered blind and is the only blind steel pan musician and teacher in the UK. Michael has competed in many steelband competitions and music festivals in the Caribbean, Europe and US, and also played the lead tenor track on the official World Cup 1998 song ‘Carnival de Paris’. Jason Constantine began playing steel pans from the age of 12 and has performed throughout Europe and the Caribbean. He has also worked as an arranger, conductor and teacher in Trinidad and London with bands taking part in Panorama competitions and steelband festivals. Jason currently teaches the steel pan art form in schools. Ricky Dickson took part in the first national festival in London at the age of 10 and has traveled the world playing steelpans and drums including playing along side the BBC Concert Orchestra. He has taught at workshops and schools, and has been instrumental in bringing steelpan to parts of the world where the instrument is not known. He is an inspiration to his drumming students.

PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 25


● ● ● SPECIAL FEATURE

SPECIAL FEATURE ● ● ●

BAS 9TH ANNUAL AWARDS 2007

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The 9th Annual British Association of Steel bands’ Awards was hosted at the Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury on the 1st December 2007. The Awards was established to celebrate the successes of bands and individuals in activities and competitions produced by the Association.

In recognising excellence, BAS honour the wider and more sustained contributions of individuals, groups and organisations to the promotion of steel pan music, culture and heritage throughout the United Kingdom. This special evening was an opportunity for BAS to join with friends and family to remember the past, celebrate the present and look forward with optimism and

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togetherness to the future. 2007 has seen the Association achieve a number of significant milestones in their growth and development in bringing steel pan and the Carnival culture of the West Indies into the heart of the world’s most diverse city. This event has evolved from its humble beginnings in the Tabernacle, Ladbroke Grove in 1998 to become an iconic event in the UK community calendar.

It was an evening filled with honouring individuals and groups for their outstanding performances as well as their unselfish dedication coupled with undying drive and determination in the promotion, and development of the steel pan art form. Guests on the evening included Her Excellency Mrs Glenda Morean Phillip, High Commissioner for the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago,

Gerald Forsyth, member of the BAS Hall of Fame, Irwin Burton, Nyree Chambers, George Phillips and guests, Grace Foods, Ashton Ford, Information Attaché, Trinidad & Tobago High Commission , Allyson Williams MBE and Clyde Bacchus, Directors of London Notting Hill Carnival, Arthur France OBE and representatives of the Leeds West Indian Carnival, Kevron Grant, Pax Nindi and representatives of St Paul’s Afrikan and Caribbean Carnival, Bristol, Tony Isles, Paul Anderson and representatives of Luton Carnival Arts Development Trust, Shabaka Thompson, Angela Duncan Thompson, Ricky Belgrave, Lyndon Lacrette and Chris Shaw, Chairs of the Carnival Arts Arenas and members of the Executive Committee of Carnival Arts. BAS particularly thank the following for their support of their work and without whom BAS would have found their journey just that bit more challenging: Greater London Authority/Mayor’s Office, Royal Parks, Arts Council of England, Trinidad and Tobago High Commission, Executive Committee of Carnival Arts, Grace Kennedy UK, Fink Unlimited, City of Westminster, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Metropolitan, Parks and

British Transport Police Services, St John’s and London Ambulance Services, London Notting Hill Carnival Ltd. Special thanks go to event organisers, Debi Gardner and Robbie Joseph, BAS executives, for initiating, developing and ensuring the growth and stature of this event. Entertainment was supplied by Engine Room featuring Carlene Etienne, Kyron Akal (BAS Pan Explosion Champion soloists) and Robert Clarke. DJ Sugar K of (Unique FM) dished out some rather catchy numbers that had everyone on the dance floor until the wee hours of the morning. Martin Jay, the Prince of Soca, who has been involved in this awards event from its early stages, was the M.C. on the night. BAS continues their sterling work in promoting this wonderful art form. It is without a doubt the perfect machinery for bringing together the UK’s diverse population and for reflecting and promoting the culture of Trinidad and Tobago.

BAS 9th Annual Awards - 2007 Anniversary Awards

15th Anniversary – Comets Steel Orchestra 21st Anniversary – British Association of Static Sounds Systems 40TH Anniversary – Bristol Carnival 40th Anniversary – Leeds West Indian Carnival

2007 Competition Awards

Junior Panorama Champions – Croydon Steel Orchestra Jouvert Bomb Competition – Ebony Steel Band National Panorama Champions – Ebony Steel Band Grace Foods Best Steel Band on the Road - Ebony Steel Band

Special Awards

Randolph Baptiste Inspirational Award – Southside Harmonics Ezekiel Biggs Yearwood Outstanding Achievement – Matthew Phillip Outstanding Achievement Award – Samuel Du Bois

BAS Hall of Fame

Lifetime Achievement Award – Earl Rodney

PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 27


● ● ● WHO’S WHO

WHO’S WHO ● ● ●

Brian “Bean” Griffith is working on expanding his eclectic compositions and fills many requests for steel sounds that are incorporated into the everpopular Groovy Soca series CDs. Brian feels blessed to have witnessed two of his most cherished visions come to fruition- Steel Pan and its music has taken the world by storm and is part of the curriculum in schools.

BRAIN ‘BEAN’ GRIFFITH » Our “Mr. Bean”, a composer/arranger with a heart of steel is continuing to dazzle audiences and spark new interest into the mesmerizing world of steel pan music.

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During the last five years Brian traveled less and concentrated his talents in New York and Trinidad. He completed collaborations with Pat Phillip, Jason “Peanut” Isaac and Andy Phillip, but his solo performances are always vehicles to expose the art form. After performing at a church ceremony, Albany New York in 2005, Brian was invited by the Pastor to lead a summer pan camp. Most of his students were of African origin and had never heard the sweetness of steel. Needless to say the camp was a tremendous success and Brian is excited to see that the mood within the fraternity continues to be invigorating. Brian praises the leadership role of Pan Trinbago and their ready response to provide aid and support when needed to members of the steel band fraternity. These actions show that the steel pan musicians are achieving some respect from the organization bestowed with the responsibility of caring for the music. He is quick to add however, that there is room for improvement, particularly during the showcasing of the fraternity’s talents during Panorama. While he maintains that “Panorama is a cultural event that cannot really be judged, Judges have a duty to remain focused, respect every artistic expression and not just scribble any score when the performance is over”. The judges need to seek more innovative introspect to fully appreciate the efforts involved in arranging steel band music. He believes that judges should spend more time, visiting yards prior to the competition to respect the hard work and dedication

of the musicians who spend countless hours preparing their compositions on steel. At the single pan competition, T & T Panorama 2007 he marveled at the score sheet of one of the judges. While the final analysis is accepted, it was clear to him that this judge was certainly not “present” during the performance and that was reflected in his score sheet. Brian is well pleased with the success and growth of the Pan in School program. He declares that the “Youth are holding up the Pan.” having witnessed the remarkable talents of the steel band progeny while judging the

“Panorama is a cultural event that cannot really be judged, Judges have a duty to remain focused, respect every artistic expression and not just scribble any score when the performance is over”

School Steel Band Competition 2007. His interpretation of De Fosto’s Pan Lamentation was well received at T & T Panorama 2007 with Steel Explosion, a new group out of Tobago. They achieved a fabulous first showing, missing a berth in the final round by one point. An outstanding credit to his posterity is embodied in “Moods Pan Groove” in Brooklyn, New York, whose very name sprung out of the essence of Brian’s heart and his music. High on Brian’s to do list is his desire to arrange for a steel orchestra in London. He invites any overtures that will lead him to that accomplishment. . We can look forward to collections of his compositions, the memorable “Moods in Pan” and his panorama arrangements, some of which include One for the Road, Advantage, Women In Pan, Trini Know How, Behave Yourself, Jam Meh Soca, On D Drag and Pan Lamentation. By Vanessa Clarke PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 29


EVENT PROFILE ● ● ●

● ● ● ENTERTAINMENT REVIEW

CD

A pick of the BEST

Six tracks of very well recorded, produced and engineered music. The entire CD has a consistent sound, very crisp, not much reverb adding to the quality. No particular instrument takes preference as they all work in harmony. An excellent CD to listen to when socialising with friends. Junior Edwards and Leon Duncan have promised that much more of their music will be available in the future.

World class musicianship, intricate arrangements and high quality recording brings to life this CD filled with music from the classical and jazz genres. Great attention was taken with the pan pieces and how it works within compositions. Panoraya has a very beautiful arrangement between the pan and the tabla, an arrangement requiring great intuition and knowledge from both Liam and Robert. This is definitely a CD for a connoisseur/collector.

C-Breeze

Liam Teague and Robert Chappell

Rudy Smith/Anise Hadeed/Felix Roach & Friends

For lack of better words

Pan Jazz Improvisations

Seaside

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REVIEWS

Absolutely what the title suggests. A fantastic collection of great pan jazz! Ten delightful tracks of original compositions, calypsos and traditional jazz. Pan Jazz improvisations is the ultimate expression of some of the most musical interpretations of two Trinidadian virtuosos, Rudy ‘Two Lef ‘Smith and Anise ‘Haffers’ Hadeed accompanied by Felix Roach and his acoustic jazz ensemble. A must have Pan Jazz CD!

Beautiful music with a wonderful instrument! Pan and classical music will always create a unique appreciation for music lovers. This twentieth century instrument being used to play the works of Bach, Handel and Jobin, whose compositions were originally made for the more refined woodwind and string instruments. A great CD filled with good music and great musicianship. Another collector’s’ gem!

Jamani’s musicality started from a very tender age and through the years this was developed through guidance from his family especially his dad Jamma Stewart. He has been an inspiration for many young people. His first CD of seven tracks is well recorded with a clever choice of young, fresh and vibrant rhythms. This young musician has great potential and a great future ahead of him. Look out for lots more of his music being released in the future.

Fifteen musically arranged tracks of music from different genres. The CD is engineered, mastered and produced by Chris Everett. The successful combination of Chris and Hammered steel is evident in this CD. A great product that will be easily marketable at performances and be instrumental in raising the awareness of the art form.

Desperadoes Steel Orchestra

Jamani Stewart

Hammered Steel

Steel in Classics

Party with Jamani

Carnival Time

WINTER 2008 PAN PODIUM

PanClash

‘4 Pan Peeps’ presented Pan Clash, a well needed uplifting steelpan event for young people aged 15-25. It was funded by the Kensington and Chelsea Youth Forum with the objective of giving young people the opportunity to progress in any field they enjoy.

Pan Clash took place over three Sundays in October at the Museum of Brands and the Ion Bar - both based in Ladbroke Grove, London. Held during the early afternoon, the events were presented by Kayleigh Lewis, Joel Hamilton-Mills and Alicia Herbert. Each event included a music artist. Alexander D Great whose lyrics were very appropriate for the Black history month season appeared at the first show. LEI of Jam Thugz and Carlene Etienne performed at the following shows with the latter giving an outstanding singing/steelpan performance that left the crowd mesmerized.

Pan Clash involved having a 3 piece steelband accompanied by congas performing two jams (repeated background musical arrangements) with young contestants having four attempts at soloing for up to 60 seconds per jam. The soloist was allowed to use any front line steel pan (tenor, double tenor or double seconds) to participate in the musical battle. It was challenging but certainly motivated the young contestants to experiment with their talent. Three judges were used to score all performances. The first Pan Clash event saw Jerome Noel and Rodell Sorzano locked in musical battle soloing over

Dan Sadler’s composition with Rodell being victorious winning the £100 prize money. Eager to win the second Pan Clash event, Jerome Noel, returned to battle with Charlotte Benso at the Ion Bar and was successful. By the time the final Pan Clash event was hosted the atmosphere was electric. Jerome returned to maintain his title with Rodell and Charlotte also in contention. The musical battle between this talented trio drew numerous ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from the large family audience. Their playing standards certainly evolved and were noted by many. Rodell won the final competition. Judges included steelpan virtuosos

such as Brent Holder, Bubbles, Chris Storey and Samuel Dubois. Shareen Gray is the founder of Pan Clash; initially the event was to be a forum for the older ‘Pan Divas’ to take to the stage without a music script to contest their musical skills. However, it was decided that the event would be more vibrant if young people were involved and what a success it was. Pan Clash will be back in March 2008 and will hopefully involve several more steelbands across the UK encouraging their young pan musicians to challenge their soloing skills. By Shareen Gray BA (Hons)

PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 31


● ● ● WHO’S WHO

WHO’S WHO ● ● ●

Interviewing this leading pan tuner/manufacturer in Europe, I was not amazed by his modesty, as his general persona oozed a vibrant aura of calmness. Dudley is happy to pursue any avenue in the development of the instrument. His wittiness is awesome; the sheer brilliance of this thinking power is not only revealed in his work but also in his humour.

DUDLEY DICKSON THE EINSTEIN OF PAN MAKING...

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Dudley got involved in pan tuning in 1965 at the age of fifteen whilst living in Birmingham where he played with the Trinidad All Stars steel band led by Roy Jacobs. He declares that both Roy Jacobs and Victor Phillip of Coventry were instrumental in his tuning career. When questioned about the logistics of tuning he stated that tone, quality and loudness were important. He has developed a technique of shaping the mass of the note to ensure that the pan holds it’s tuning longer. Different masses on the notes allow different colour of sounds. The higher the note is tuned a louder and durable sound is achieved. Dudley maintains the sound levels without fluctuations by the amount of mass used on the note. Every pan is different because of the material used to produce them. Thickness and quality has changed since the move from imperial to metric measures making it difficult to stretch the drum as before. He went on to say that each pan is individual and it is unlikely that the exact note can be reproduced. ‘There are some instruments that need to be augmented to attain whole tone scales like the double second, tenor bass, cello and quad pans.’ ‘Others have to be diminished sevenths or fourths and fifths, mainly used on the three pans like the triple guitar, triple cello or triple seconds.’ ‘The fourths and fifths formation is also used on tenor and bass pans.’ ‘You must make PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 33


● ● ● WHO’S WHO

sure that all your harmonics are correct.’ ‘I usually loosen the notes to make sure that it is flat in pitch but I look for the overtones and fifths first, and then correct the bass note.’ He believes that he is the only tuner who successfully removed damaged/broken notes and replaced them with new ones and also used stainless steel and aluminium in his quest for a different tone, this was evident in 1984 when he made some bass pans from stainless steel with the late Ezekiel ‘Biggs’ Yearwood. In 2001, he made a rotating pan stand for Gerald Forsyth who was extremely excited on its receipt. Dudley also created telescopic pans that fit inside each other to minimise space for transportation. He understands the behavioural patterns of copper and brass when heat treated but never had the opportunity to experiment with them and would love the opportunity to research new materials for the continued development of the instrument but 34

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BAND PROFILE ● ● ●

unfortunately has to solely rely on sponsorship or funding. Dudley admits that even though he is a proficient tuner/manufacturer he can only play a few melodies on the pan. He prefers to tune the middle section pans because of the sound achieved and simplicity in tuning. The bass pan is quite difficult because the notes are bigger and it is harder to eliminate the partials in the note. He has tuned for numerous steel orchestras including Ebony, Mangrove and Stardust and has also established himself in Switzerland where he visits twice yearly. Dudley declared that one of his past achievements was the creation of the folding pan stand in 1982 in Coventry, which he took back to Trinidad. He stated, “The design was adopted by Winston Graham who had Mustapha of San Juan, Trinidad reproduce it. As I had not patented the design I was unable to do anything about it legally”. Winston subsequently received a television inventors and innovators award for something he did not create. Dudley confirmed, I’am still happy that I did something for the development of the instrument ’. Dudley’s other inventions include the “Pyramid” Pan with the Cosmo Pan Factory in Switzerland, named because of its setting positions. The Sonia Sonic Bass, cut diagonally with the top welded on to maintain the oval shape, it is louder and the positioning of the notes makes it easier to play. A new steel pan stand that hangs at three points making it easier to position the pan. He also developed a collapsible stage used by Ebony at the

Angel Pan

ZURICH - SWITZERLAND

Angel Pan steel band was founded in February 2001. This group of Swiss pannists takes great pride in the quality of their performances and their quest sees them religiously attending their weekly practice sessions. 2000 World Steelband Music festival held in Trinidad and is thankful to Billy Ocean for sponsoring the patent of it. He is also working on an acoustic amplified bass chamber to be used by steelbands in the future. He confirmed, ‘that a steel pan academy would ensure that the wider public is made aware that steel pan is not just a carnival thing but an established musical instrument and players would be able to receive diplomas etc according to their level of attainment”. One of Dudley’s burning ambitions is to make steel pan instruments for use in a gospel steel orchestra.

Dudley has also been instrumental in the formation of the UK Steel Pan Tuners Guild ensuring that members will benefit from sharing good practices and the promotion and development of the general welfare and prosperity of members, fostering a spirit of unity, co-operation and harmony amongst them through educational and cultural activities. Pan Podium wishes Dudley all the best for the future.

They perform at various events including wedding receptions, birthday and graduation parties, openings and village fairs, hypnotizing their audiences with the enchanting Caribbean rhythms. Their musical arranger is none other than Trinidadian born, Junior Edwards, nephew of the late Theo Stephens of the legendary Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra – TASPO. Junior played with the Free French and Hillside Symphony steel orchestras before moving on to Skiffle Bunch under the leadership of Junia Regrello and toured Germany, Holland, Austria, Sweden, Belgium,

Scotland, Wales, France, Italy, Norway, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Mexico and Switzerland with them before he settled in Switzerland in 1996 after being invited by the first Alpine steel band named ‘Papayas’ from the Wallis Leukerband to become their music tutor. Since that time Junior has tutored many Swiss steelbands and continually promotes the spirit of Trinidad in Switzerland, this was evident in his SWISSTRIN project. He is also a regular visitor to London’s Notting Hill Panorama where he performs with the Mangrove steelband. Angel Pan feels that Junior’s musical arrangements ensure that their music is filled with love and gives the feeling that it comes straight from the heart. Their musicians are full of enthusiasm and appreciate his patience which results in vibrant and captivating renditions that result in

their audiences being fully entertained and also an increase in their bookings after their scintillating performances. Their band consists of Barbara Schira, Cecile Deuring, Dorli Baertschi and Novella Schaelchli on tenor. Angela Hunziker on double tenor with Doris Itscher, Astrid Ryter and Beatrice Koller on double seconds. Gabi Haecki plays the single guitar pan while their President, Lucia Marley, plays the double guitar. On triple cello is Gabbi Wigger with Anni Pregl on bass pans. Esther Ballat plays percussion while Junior plays the drums. Cecile also acts as their financial officer whilst Novella is their Program director. Angel Pan projects exactly what their name suggests – harmonious music on pan! Find out more about Angel Pan by logging on to their website - www. angel-pan.ch PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 35


● ● ● WHO’S WHO

ONE OF HARLEM’S FAMOUS SONS, THREETIME GRAMMY AWARD WINNER RALPH MACDONALD, IS OF TRINIDADIAN PARENTAGE AND GREW UP IN THE ‘BLACK CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.’ Born in March 1944, MacDonald found his New York and Caribbean heritages juxtaposed during his youth in Harlem. Appearing with his father Patrick MacDonald - aka calypsonian The Great Macbeth - from very young, he charmed audiences who heard him play drums with his father’s 12-piece orchestra.

MacDonald easily embraced his Trinidadian/Caribbean and New York/African American cultures against the backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance. When acts like the Three Degrees and the Four Tops wowed audiences at the Apollo, MacDonald was there. Simultaneously his observations and experiences were being codified as he absorbed his surroundings which were being impacted with such as the charismatic, empathetic and militant Malcolm X who regularly schooled the disenfranchised Harlem masses adjacent to the subway at 116th Street and Lexington Avenue. He noted goings-on in the

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WHO’S WHO ● ● ●

The ‘Mixty Motions’ of

RALPH MACDONALD

entertainment world, such as the flow of white comedians coming up to Harlem and catching all the famed black acts, like Red Foxx et al, and stealing their acts/routines, taking them downtown to their white audiences, where black acts were disallowed. Ralph MacDonald has journeyed much since those days – from his fledgling career with Harry Belafonte at age seventeen, to today’s super-successful songwriter, producer, performer and businessman. And his music along the way has been filled with Mixty Motions, reflected in the name and feel of his latest CD. “My heart lies in two places – New York, and the Caribbean - so my music is always filled with Mixty Motions (‘Mixed [E]motions’)” MacDonald says simply. His

enduring friendship and musical collaboration with pannist extraordinaire Robert Greenidge (his favorite band is the mighty Desperadoes Steel Orchestra from the hills of Laventille) once again surfaces as Greenidge’s incomparable talent is featured on several of the CD’s twelve tracks. Rhythm of the Drum was written by MacDonald’s eldest son Anthony, while [Nicholas] Ashford and [Valerie] Simpson did lyrics and vocals. Second is the title track, Mixty Motions, the first of seven instrumentals, followed by Simpson vocalizing the R&B-tinged, unapologetic Love Finds You. My Space already wowed those attending the 2007 Lincoln Center Steelpan Jazz Father’s Day Concert;

the clarion call: You Need More Calypso sounds next, featuring Greenidge on steelpan, Etienne Charles on trumpet and, making the first of three appearances on the album, Trinidadian vocalist Roger George. “It’s just one bridge, to another bridge…just connecting feelings, connecting the music” - and that’s what MacDonald set about illustrating in track six, the musical tapestry – Bridges. He describes Man Dance with David Espinoza on guitar as a ‘take-off’ of Steely Dan and Carlos Santana, while Julian is named for the late jazz saxophonist Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley. A Brazilian trip birthed Little Black Samba, featuring Roger George and Greenidge. Up next is the sensuous, soulful You Leave Me Breathless, the only ballad on the CD. Sentiment is key in the final tracks - Mayaro Drive and Lord, Don’t Stop The Carnival. The former evokes a drive through Mayaro, Trinidad where MacDonald met Grace, his present wife. The latter was originally penned by his father and MacDonald later added verses. His father’s orchestra always closed with that song; now he selected it as both his tribute to his late father and to close his latest album. Master percussionist that he is, MacDonald surrounds himself with people of comparative genius on his projects. He tells of pannist

Robert Greenidge, in Japan, stunning Tom Scott (worldrenowned saxophonist, and musical director for the Academy and Emmy Awards), with his signature “Stardust.” Impressed, Scott asked, “Who is that cat”, later saying to Greenidge, “That song was nice, man, but you only played in one key.” Greenidge said nothing. Next night he took the stage and literally blew Scott away. Greenidge’s genius became crystal clear to Scott as he listened. Says MacDonald, “He was like ‘Oh my God!’” Stardust unfolded with completely ‘new stuff’ - and in a different key. All Scott could say was “Ralph, tell me to shut up; remind me to keep my mouth shut the next time!” By choice, MacDonald’s CDs are available only online, not in record stores. Experience Mixty Motions at www.RalphMacDonald.com, and MacDonald’s seventyminute plus interview at www.Panonthenet.com.

PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 37


● ● ● SPECIAL FEATURE

SPECIAL FEATURE ● ● ●

IRON MAN »

Ting-a-licky ...ting-a-licky...ting-a-licky...ting... ting...ting, the iron, has always been dominating the sound in the early days.

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Pulsating with an irrepressible spirit after World War 11, steel pan music exploded from the ghettos and barrack yards of Trinidad with a powerful voice. Over the seven decades of its existence the steel pan has evolved into a musical instrument of great versatility. Combined into its own orchestra called the steel band, the steel pan can be tuned to play various scales within a diverse arrangements of music. The modern steel band or steel orchestra can successfully reproduce compositions of all musical genres. Also retained from the tamboo-bamboo bands in the evolution of the modern steel band is the ‘engine room’ or the percussive element which allows the band to keep its timing. The ‘bottle and spoon’, and various assortments of iron, make up the elements of the ‘engine room’. The Iron man is the virtuoso percussionist in the engine room of the steel band. His enthusiastic rhythmic pounding of metal (wheel hubs, brake drums) accompanied by the many other components of the Engine Room (scratcher, drum kit, timbales, maracas - shac-shac) provide timing for all the steel band musicians. Throughout a musical piece that includes an introduction, statement of melody, harmonic and melodic developments, changes in key, changes in rhythm, modulations, improvisations and finale the iron man can be heard distinctively keeping the entire orchestra in sync. The late Aldwin ‘Lord Kitchener’ Roberts in his 1990 composition, ‘Iron Man’ personified the role

of this percussionist. His composition was played by his favourite steel band, AMOCO Renegades who captured the 1990 Trinidad and Tobago National Steel Bands Panorama title with a Jit Samaroo’s musically arranged rendition of Kitchener’s composition. The Roaring Lion called them iron bands and later described by David Rudder as the engine room, that driving force “what does cause the bacchanal down dey”. Locked inside this rhythm, linked to the gods, tuned to a special pitch of sweetness, so irresistible in the hands of a master. “sweeter than honey, jam iron, woman does leave dey man” – Lord Shorty. “Korey did damn well say if yuh iron good you is king” – Rudder. They all depict the importance of the iron man in the orchestra. Long live the iron men and their sweet and pulsating rhythms that keep us chipping to the captivating sound of steel.

PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 39


● ● ● WHO’S WHO

WHO’S WHO ● ● ●

Alan JNO BAPTISTE The steel pan fraternity in Dominica and in East London has lost one of its biggest stars and dedicated worker for the musical genre. Alan Jno Baptiste was 57 when he died in his home country Dominica. The sudden death which shocked the island and all his friends in East London was attributed to Leptospirosis.

His career covered more than 30 years and was one of – maybe the best steel pan musician – to have emerged from the island of Dominica. His fast hands, great positioning, elaborate repertoire and wonderful personality made him a friend of all who knew him and he got on with all. Never a bad word was said about Alan. Alan Baptiste had to remain content with being one of the Grand Old East Enders most enduring pan entertainers, and was never in competition with anybody. He worked well with Gerald Forsyth, Ian Beckles, Daniel Lewis, King Gabby (the limbo dancer and pan musician) and all the other big names of the East End. He became a member of Nostalgia Steel Band and 40

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worked well with Sterling Betancourt on many projects. Alan arrived in London in 1993, and quickly established himself as a pan entertainer. He first worked with John Scruff before branching out on his own. He set up his own gigging band, ‘Phase Five’ with Freddie Hohenkirk, David Herbert, Janine Williams, Miranda Hohenkirk and Jerry Brown. Alan became a peripatetic teacher at three schools – Eastlea Comprehensive School, Plashet Girl School and Lister School of Performing Arts, all in the Borough of Newham. He later added four more schools to the list; such was his reputation to get the best of the students he was teaching. He met

Felix Joseph in 1994, and became the arranger of Forest Gate Steel Band, now renamed The Newham Steel Orchestra. This was his main stage and the band saw its best results under Alan. In 2001, Alan arranged the first steel band festival in the East End and eight steel bands entered. He engineered the celebrations for “50 years of steel band in the United Kingdom” with a concert at Stratford Circus Theatre, East London, and this was to date, the best exposure of pan to an East End audience. Alan set up the East London Steel Pan Enterprise with three other pan players and had an office at New Vic, Newham Enterprise Project. The East London Steel Pan

Enterprise became well know in the area – but Alan had to return home suddenly and the project ended. In Dominica he revived the steel pan fraternity there which had seen its worst days. He restarted classes for young talents and set up the Dominica Steel Pan Academy with Prime Ministerial backing. Indeed he received funding from the Minister of Culture and more was forthcoming from Caricom. When Alan died (15th October 2007) the island went into mourning and the academy was renamed “The Alan Baptiste Steel Pan Academy”. He was a friend of mine, and I will miss him. By Lionel MaCalman

PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 41


● ● ● EVENT PROFILE

EVENT PROFILE ● ● ●

STEELBAND MEETS BIG JAZZ BAND For the first time in Denmark, a steelband teams up with a big jazz band to produce a series of concerts as one ensemble. This ground-breaking band, named Big Band Pan Jazz for the occasion, is comprised of the joined forces of Hot Pans Steelband and Big Apple Big Band. The new band has commissioned 7 completely new compositions and 2 arrangements from the author of this article to form a 50 min. programme of music. The concept behind the music - apart from creating great tunes - has been to investigate the new textures and possibilities that arise when these two rather different ensembles are combined, as well as to build a sort of musical bridge between the two idioms. The idea of bringing the two bands together came from the leader of Hot Pans, Thomas Mehr, who has worked 42

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with steelbands for 25 years and always liked the sound of large bands stated - “When so many musicians play together, they need to communicate on a very high level. It is always a big experience for me to hear a lot of people listen intensively to each other, perform precisely, and at the same time navigate in a complex field of musical communication. That’s why the idea of combining a steelband with a big band was so alluring - the big sounds, the new textures - it’s fantastic! I am anxious to listen to the result! I hope that this project will give Hot Pans a great experience of working and performing in a completely different musical culture. Big Band musicians are excellent sight-readers, and it would

be great for the steelband to get a feeling of their way of working with the music. The music that Sune Borregaard has written for the band is rather different from what we usually play, and I anticipate that we will gain a lot of musical experience from it, that we wouldn’t get from our usual repertoire. I’ve worked with Sune before, as he has written for us on other occasions, so I know his style. But it still surprises me how talented he is as both a composer and arranger. There are many nice and catchy melodies and phrases in his music, but also a lot of interesting and surprising elements. Elements that may not catch the attention of the careless listener, but they get under your skin when once you are aware of them. This

music gets better and better, each time one listens to it, and the listening process is vital in educating young musicians. Actually, I’ve made bets with some of the band members that the phrases they now have difficulties in understanding will end up being the ones they just can’t get out of their head when they are done with the project.” Bringing a steelband together with a jazz big band is one of the many exciting blends with steelpan going on in Denmark. Another one is the avant-garde trio, SUMI, that blends steelpan with guitar, Fender Rhodes,

and plenty machines. Since Danes, and in particular Danes playing steelpan, are somewhat of a traditional-minded breed, it is vital to the steelpan community that projects like these occur so they can open people’s minds to different ways of using this wonderful instrument. It has such a potential sound that can add a lot to many musical genres, but it is often - in people’s mind - confined to the Caribbean genres. As Thomas Mehr says - “I hope that the members of the big band will revise their view on the steelpan as being an instrument in it’s own right that is just

‘Bringing a steelband together with a big jazz band is one of the many exciting blends with steelpan going on in Denmark’

as real and versatile an instrument as for instance a saxophone or a trumpet. We in Hot Pans are very aware of the folkloristic element in steelband music, and we love playing calypso and soca. As a matter of fact, the best part of our repertoire is music from the Caribbean. But we also like to challenge ourselves and the instrument once in a while with other genres and now by blending it with other instruments”. The Big Band Pan Jazz Project premieres in early 2008 in Hillerød, Denmark. RELATED LINKS: www.panjazz.dk www.suneborregaard.dk www.hotpans.dk www.sumi.dk By Sune Borregaard. PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 43


WHO’S WHO ●●● ●●● BAND PROFILE

● ● ● WHO’S WHO

Wayne Ricardo Gibson was born in Barbados where his main musical influences originated. He is mostly a self taught musician. Wayne started playing the bass and guitar with a friend in his local youth group. They all took turns on every instrument in the band- i.e. drums, guitar bass, and keyboard as they did not have enough musicians to play every instrument at their practice sessions. In his early days, Wayne found that Barbados was a good place to start a musical career as there were always gigs and it was possible to play every night if you wanted.

Wayne RICARDO GIBSON 44

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Wayne’s neighbour, Tyrone Clarke, had a steel band and Wayne would often find himself in the pan yard after school trying his hands on the drums before going to football practice. Tyrone was also responsible for giving him his first steel pan gig. There was never a music book in sight; it was all done aurally, so Wayne’s theory and sight reading was done by trial and error. Having bought the Royal School of Music theory book, Wayne started reading from page one until he understood although he confirmed that he would not recommend it as the way to learn but always reminiscence on his experience with a high level of fondness. Over the years Wayne has developed a technique of playing the steel pan with four sticks – a method used by very few pannists. He has performed at various locations including cruise ships plying the routes from Miami and Puerto Rico to Curacao visiting the Caribbean islands along the way. Wayne confirmed, ‘it was a great way to see the Caribbean’. Wayne’s first trip to

England was with the Desmond Haynes’s Calvary, where he provided the after matches entertainment. Since then he has been traveling to and from the UK. He stated, ‘having a base in the UK was a good way to see Europe and many other places I never expected to see as I was able to get a gig where ever I wanted to visit ’. Wayne played a double tenor with the seven piece jazz band, Street Level, in Bournemouth for ten years. This was a real oddity at the time. He was also a session player in the south of England with many other jazz bands. For six years he played and managed his own band, Socafire, performing the roles of singer and pannist. Lately he has performed with small combos made up of drums, sax, bass, guitar and steel pans. He feels as though he has been playing for a lifetime without a break. His musical interests range far and wide. The musical genres of the Caribbean soca, calypso, salsa and reggae still top his repertoire. Although he thoroughly enjoyed his musical endeavors as a pannist playing Jazz and the

Over the years Wayne has developed a technique of playing the steel pan with four sticks – a method used by very few pannists

mellow Latin Bosa Nova. Pop, Classical and even Indian music, they all have some ‘colour’ for him and he has played them all using the steel pan instrument. Some of Wayne’s recent projects include: Teaching, arranging and performing in a musical concert for HMS Prison at Bullingdon in association with the Trading Face Theatre Group. It was challenging, rewarding and memorable. Musical arrangement and/or tutoring at Mudeford Junior school steel band, DEED in Dorset, TAPS - Traditional Arts Project & One World band and Southern Arts. He currently lives in Switzerland where he continues to promote the steel pan culture.

Wayne fondly remembers his friends whom he has played with over the years including S W Storm & Island Fury, Street Level (Jazz band), Mike Sealy, (Jazz guitarist), Lloyd Denny, Iqbal Khan Pathan (Taps), Rainbow Steel Band and too many pan musicians to mention. He stated, ‘They all had a hand in making my playing most memorable and enjoyable. Keep music live as the musician union says, and so I plan to be playing for a long time to come!’ For more information then visit Wayne’s website - www. socafire.com or listen to 4 of his original tracks at myspace.com/waynerg Photos by Wayne Gibson

PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 45


● ● ● BAND PROFILE

STEELBAND SHOP HOLLAND Steelband Shop Holland was founded in April 2007 by four friends who love the Steeldrum. Three of them, Digna, Gerjo and Miranda, played lead pan with a Marching Band. This band dissolved and they lost touch with each other. After a few years, Digna was searching for a second hand steel pan on the internet and her advert was seen by Gerjo and Miranda who made contact as they were also looking for a steel pan. Their friendship was rekindled and having bought steel pans they traveled to the North of the Netherlands to meet Joel Huybregts and watch his band Tropical Steelpans practice. Digna, her husband Alfred, Gerjo and Miranda loved the music. After discussing the state of affairs with information concerning steel pans in the Netherlands with Joel, they concluded that the lack of information had to be addressed with some urgency owing to the vast amount of interest showed in the art form. There was also a lack of information about where to purchase a new Pan Instrument, tuning etc. After their meeting, Digna made a firm decision to do something about it and suggested the creation of the first Dutch Steelband Shop for steel bands, pannists, and steel pan music lovers. Gerjo and Miranda’s enthusiasm about the project was overwhelming; resulting in them joining forces with Digna and Alfred to set up the Dutch Steelband Shop. Their decision was followed by

months of investigation and meetings with Matthias Kauer of Switzerland, German steel pan manufacturer/tuner, Eckhardt Schulz, Nostalgia Steelband and Ebony’s manager, Pepe Francis, from England. They also spoke to the Dutch Marine and Police steelbands. They made great efforts to speak to everybody who is involved in the steel band art form in the Netherlands and the wider steel pan community including Tony Charles of London about selling his pan instruments in Holland, Andy Narrell about selling his CDs, Sune Borregaard from Denmark and Auke Eshuis about selling their musical score sheets, Panyard Inc in the USA, Steelpan manufacturers in Trinidad et al. The Trinidad and Tobago embassy in Brussels and the Dutch embassy in Trinidad assisted them in locating reliable shops in Trinidad so that they are now able to offer a wide selection of souvenirs from Trinidad. Their intensive investigation has led to the creation of their price lists and choice of merchandise to market. Their main aim is to provide the Dutch communities with current online information about the steel drum and bands. Interested parties can then purchase steel pan instruments of their choice. At present they do not have a show room but their dedicated and diligent work coupled with their commitment in planning

future steel pan workshops for both children and adults will result in the acquisition of permanent premises. In the mean time, they keep themselves busy by speaking to the wider steel band community with Matthias Kauer and Tony Charles as their advisers. All their members are self taught pannists. Digna started playing the mars drum at 8 and still plays in the local drum band. She also plays at a xylophone and other percussion instruments. Miranda also played the xylophone. Gerjo also played the mars drum and trumpet. He was the first of group to play the steel drum. Alfred plays the trio drum and bass pans but now spends most of his time babysitting their 4 year old son as Digna is always busy with the music and shop. They are hoping to introduce the art form to the rest of the Netherlands and give people the opportunity to enjoy the great music of this wonderful instrument. They all have full time jobs and Digna created their website. They actively canvass the internet in search of world wide news on the steel drum ensuring that the Dutch people are informed of events and steel band performances all over the world. For more information visit www. steelbandshop.nl

BOOK REVIEW

●●● UNHEARD VOICES

By: Myrna Nurse - Published by iUniverse Inc. ISBN-10: 0595401538 - ISBN-13: 978-0595401536 Unheard Voices: The Rise of Steelband and Calypso in the Caribbean and North America traces the history of this unique percussive invention of the twentieth century. The author of Unheard Voices, Myrna Nurse, artfully describes the origin and innovators of the steelpan, the controversies surrounding its music and leaders, and the violence that shaped the movement. Nurse’s portraits of the Caribbean artists describe both their unending struggle against poverty and violence, and their natural will to create. Her discussion of the American musicians is a compelling presentation of the drive and determination involved in furthering “the musical journey of the pan.” Unheard Voices relates the experiences of two of the movement’s fathers: Elliott “Ellie” Mannette and Neville Jules. Nurse also considers the women who have broken into this art form, as well as Calypso. Unheard Voices is a welcome addition to the small but growing body of literature on the musical inventions of the West Indian Diaspora. Myrna Nurse was born in Trinidad and immigrated to the United States in 1975. A naturalized citizen, she earned her PhD in 1999 from Temple University and is an assistant professor of English. Nurse lives with her husband, Keith, and has two children, Miranda and Alex.

UK PAN TUNERS Guild BECOME PART OF A GLOBAL NETWORK, SHARING GOOD PRACTICES AND DEVELOPING WORKSHOPS? CONTACT: 07973 697 507

By Digna Broek

Pan Sticks FOR SALE contact: Felix Joseph Tel:020 7474 7467 Mob: 07808 847 974

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PAN PODIUM WINTER 2008 47


WHO’S WHO ● ● ●

● ● ● READERS LETTERS

HAVE YOUR SAY! WE LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! Send us your views... m Dear Pan Podiuards Presentation

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rson Lesley Hende London

Dear Pan Podium

After attending the Panorama competition for many years it was certainly a refreshing development moving it to Hyde Park for 2007. The new venue is certainly spacious allowing easy movement for both the bands and patrons. Sadly I must say that something must be done with the PA system and possibly erecting larger screens in the public area so that all attending can fully enjoy the event. You would also need to address the positioning of the judges’ podium as it impeded the view of the performing bands. On a brighter note, congrats on yet another successful event and hope that the 2008 Panorama is even more spectacular.

Kerry Jones - Leicester

Dear Pan Podium

I like the new look of your magazine, I have been collecting it since you started and I am the proud owner of a valuable collection (all issues to date). You certainly do a wonderful job in promoting the national instrument and its infectious music. Keep the flag flying and let the world know about Trinidad’s musical gift to them. Keep up the good work!

Acklyn Higgins - New York 48

WINTER 2008 PAN PODIUM

Summer ‘07 issue

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Panpodium Issue 16  

Spreading the Love of Pan

Panpodium Issue 16  

Spreading the Love of Pan

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