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Welcome, Welcome to another edition of Pan Podium, the only magazine representing and promoting the interests, culture and importance of the steel pan and wider carnival arts.
www. carnivalarts .org.uk whatdoescarnivalmeantoyou? The UK Centre for Carnival Arts has launched www.carnivalarts.org.uk
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Join the UK’s leading carnival community today!
As we approach the carnival season here in London, I think it appropriate to look at how far the steel band movement in the UK has progressed since the first appearance of the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO) at the Festival of Britain on 26 July 1951, and how much further we have to go. Following their appearance at the South Bank, TASPO performed at a series of shows at St Pancras Town Hall, north London. These ‘fayres’, organised by community activist and founder of the West Indian Gazette, Claudia Jones, captured her passion and unique recognition of the importance and force of culture. They introduced Caribbean arts to London’s diverse community. In 1965, following Claudia’s untimely death in 1964, Russell Henderson and his steel band took to the streets of Notting Hill with Rhuane Laslett, a social worker from the East End of London who worked in the area and was determined to promote the cultural diversity of the then deprived Notting Hill area. The focus and determination of these two women laid the foundation for the Notting Hill Carnival – an event that attracts worldwide attention and generates in excess of £1m per annum for London’s economy. Yet, despite our history and the invaluable and unmatched contribution made by many thousands of pan men and women over the last half a century, steel bands are still facing an up hill struggle. As we plan for the 2008 Notting Hill Carnival, we need to ask “why steel bands are not properly resourced?” Young people involved in steel bands are not involved in street or gun crime. Bands deliver
essential services, engaging with hard to reach sections of local communities and providing positive avenues for people to express their creativity, learn new skills and build a new future. We teach not only music and performance but also self discipline, determination and professionalism. Whilst we may not be recognised or appreciated at home, BAS has been invited by bands across all EU states to take the lead in leading and building Steelpan European organisation, a pan-Europe network of steel bands similar in set up and structure to BAS. We will be talking to Pan Trinbago, the world governing body for steel pan, so that the work we do strengthens and supports all bands and pan players across Europe and has international benefit and impact. With that in mind, BAS will host an international conference in the autumn of 2008 that will have education as its core theme. We are looking for examples of good and/or best practice for inclusion in the programme. Please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. As last year, we are planning to host the 2008 National Panorama in Hyde Park on Saturday 23 August 2008. Hosting the Panorama in the heart of the capital puts steel bands front and centre of the Notting Hill Carnival’s weekend of celebrations. This will be followed by the J’Ouvert and Best Steelband on the Road competitions on Sunday 24 and Monday 25 August 2008 respectively. I wish everyone a Carnival over the next few months and happy, safe and enjoyable time, and to all those competing in competitions, ‘GOOD LUCK!’
PS. A date for your diary. The BAS 10th Annual Awards will be held on Saturday 6 December. There are limited tickets for this event. To reserve tickets contact email@example.com.
Pan Podium summer 2008
> ISSUE 17 summer 2008
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UK Pan Tuners
Without these talented craftsmen there will be no steel pan instruments to play.
Bijlmer Kids Steel Band
Hailing from Amsterdam’s Bijlmer area this children steel band has survived through Frauke’s determination and the kids love of steel pan music.
Pan Explosion 2k8
BAS annual event featuring young aspiring composers, arrangers and pannists competing for coveted titles.
Invaders Steel Band
Their pan yard is commonly referred to as the University of Steel band, where many top pan musicians have originated from under their breadfruit tree.
Trinidad All Stars – Caribbean Expo
Musician extraordinaire. World Champion Panorama Steelband Arranger. Annise’s musical quest continues to drive his innovation.
West Hill Primary School Steel Band
BAS Trafalgar Square Steelband Jamboree 2K8
SV2G Education in Steelpan
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Based in the Sage Gateshead in Newcastle this band is led by the young and talented, Wendy Brown.
The Man behind ‘Music From Behind the Bridge’.
SV2G pioneers the UWI syllabus and accreditation system for steelpan to pilot in the UK.
Volcano Steel Band
Annise ‘Halfers’ Hadeed
Sforzata Steel Band Based in Curepe, Trinidad, Merlin Gill formed this band in 1975 and they have never looked back.
Caribbean Summer in Dortmund Pan Kultur’s annual Caribbean event that brings some sunshine to the German city of Dortmund.
Copenhagen Steelband Festival 2K8
Jamal ‘Pacman’ Glynn
Steelband Chief Nigeria
In a four-hour long celebration at the palace of the Alagbara of Agbara, Agbara town in Ogun State, south west Nigeria, two chieftaincy titles were conferred upon panman Bowie Sonnie Bowei
Our mission is to raise the status of Carnival Arts and we have chosen to do this by taking the art form into the mainstream...
South Africa Pan Jazz Project
This unique project brings together musicians from Hampshire, Art Asia, and the Western Cape, South Africa.
Leicestershire Pan Jam
The final festival community concert was in front of a capacity audience of 700,
Pan Jam’s aim this year was to allow people to experience the true feeling of pan and the many wonders they had been deprived of.
Jamal was born in the early 1970’s and his initial musical experience began with an array of soulful music and bright colours it being the kaleidoscope era.
The Maharajh Kids Steelband
During their Xmas school break in 1961, the Maharajh Kids steelband experienced their first “working” holiday in Barbados.
46 Entertainment Reviews 47 Pan Dango
A fantastic summer slice of the Caribbean on Tyneside featuring a plethora of the region’s steel bands
West Hill Primary School has been fortunate to be able to offer a very unique musical opportunity for its young learners.
BAS’s annual event held at this iconic venue where global tourists are treated to a taste of the Caribbean steel band culture.
46 Pan Podium summer 2008
who’s who ll l
hello, Melody, Chords, Chorus, Verse, Bridges, Syncopating Rhythms and the Circle of Fifths. Steelband music is very infectious and the virus is being spread at a fast and furious rate, so much so that we are hoping that it may soon reach global epidemic status. This artform is now firmly rooted into the fabric of multicultural Britain. 2008 sees the UK steelband community celebrating the 31st anniversary of the Notting Hill Panorma, ‘Champions of Steel’ competition. From its inception in 1978, this iconic competition has grown in stature and has now attained the status as being the official start of the Notting Hill Carnival celebrations. Its move to Hyde Park, the heart of the world’s most diverse capital was the biggest transformation of this competition and marks another milestone of its achievement. BASFDF’s Pan Explosion 2K8 competition held in Fairfield Halls this year revealed that the future of pan rests safely with the youth. Our BAS/GLA Steelband Jamboree in Trafalgar Square was yet another success despite the
inclement weather. The CAPCA/BAS Junior Panorama competition held on the 11th August continues to develop young pan musicians and acts as a feeder for the larger orchestras. We eagerly await our 31st National Panorama, Jouvert ‘Bomb Tune’ and Best Band on the Road competitions followed by our annual BAS Awards in December. . BAS’s media machinery, Pan Podium, continues to actively support and promote the unselfish efforts of the global steelpan community to its world audience ensuring that the recognition struggle is always at the forefront with the global pan family reaping the fruits of their labour. Pan Podium’s mission is to spread the gospel according to Pan. Pan Podium continues to work closely with our global media partners to ensure that we are aspiring and achieving our common goal in unity. Pan 4 Life!
Editor: Robbie Joseph Writers/Contributors: UK Pan Tuners Guild, Frauke Lühning, Anthony Blackman, Mazzini Gill, Ray Funk, Jacqueline
Roberts, Ruth Currie, John Baugh, Shaun Miles, Ranee and Malaviya Maharagh, Judith Spoo, Annise Hadeed, When Steel Talks, Pete Beadell, Pat Munroe, Sune Borregard, Paul Anderson and Jamal Glynn 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.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.
The UK Steel Pan
Tuners Guild ≥
In October 2007 a group of Steel Pan Tuners got together to talk about the possibility of forming an organisation to support the future of pan tuning and pan tuners.
Need a Steelband? All events catered for Steelbands to suit any occassion E: firstname.lastname@example.org 6
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In the UK, pan tuners have always worked as independents, without the support of other tuners or bands, unless directly affiliated with a specific band. Over the years issues relating to support and service improvement are becoming more and more important for all pan tuners, what with a steady increase in the request for pans and pans to be tuned and the possibility of
having to service pans made by another pan supplier or pans from overseas. Pan tuners are becoming increasingly concerned about maintaining quality within their craft and ensuring that the service they provide is of the highest quality. The pan tuners have continued to meet regularly and in November 2007 they made a concerted decision to form the UK Steel Pan Tuners Guild. The Guild was formed to provide support for all UK Pan Tuners and as a forum to ensure the continued development of pan production and maintenance within the UK. It is hoped that the Guild will develop into a forum to ensure good
practice, training and quality assurance for all members. Members of the Guild are based all over the UK and continue to work as independents that support the values of the Guild. Members of the Guild can be contacted through: The UK Steel Pan Tuners Guild email@example.com Phone: 07504 083 595
Pan Podium summer 2008
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In 1998, a small welfare foundation that managed a bicycle garage and repair shop in Amsterdam’s suburb, Bijlmermeer commissioned Frauke Lühning to form a youth project using the steelpan. Bijlmermeer is not a popular tourist town even though it boasts of having residents from one hundred and thirty (130) nationalities and is considered to be the most cosmopolitan part of Amsterdam.
Bijlmer > KIDS Steelband
Bijlmermeer consists of high rise blocks of flats built in the late 1960s. The 1970s saw waves of immigrants from the Dutch colonies of Suriname and the Antilles and from the 1990s onwards many West Africans. By the middle of the 90s, the neighbourhood had the highest crime rate in the Netherlands and the stigma of a ghetto. Frauke studied classical and afro-caribbean music and started visiting Trinidad in 1995. In 1997, she joined the Phase II Pan Groove steel orchestra. Being a music teacher she was interested in the different ways of teaching music and was immediately captivated by the potential of the steelpan instrument and the viability of its use in children’s music lessons. During her 1998 stay in Trinidad &Tobago, she bought pans made by Bertrand ‘Butch’ Kelman and Bertie Marshall and shipped them to Amsterdam. The following years saw Frauke conducting numerous short projects in Bijlmer schools but the lack of a permanent location for the instruments made it impossible to form a band. Since 2000, she has managed to acquire a permanent location and has been slowly building an orchestra with the kids who wanted to continue playing after their school projects ended. By 2005, the Bijlmer Kids Steelband had performed for many events. They reached the finals of the Amsterdam music school competition twice; even though they did not belong to that organisation. They have performed at various festivals all over the Netherlands, appeared on TV and played at galas in the presence of members of the Royal family. The group presently consists of fifteen children whose ages range
between 9 and 14. The majority of the children are of Ghanian heritage. Their repertoire which lasts for more than an hour consists of soca, reggae, samba, pop and classical. The kids have a habit of sourcing music on the internet and getting Frauke to musically arrange it for them to play on the steelpan. Since the ‘Foundation Steeldrum Bijlmer’ that manages the project has not been able to source any funding, their only income is generated from their performances at these concerts. Their classes are free as they want to encourage as many children possible and Frauke works as a volunteer. She still visits Trinidad at least once a year to get inspiration and acquire new ideas. In the meanwhile, Frauke is doing her MA in ethnomusicology at the University of Amsterdam, where she writes about the history of steelband. Since 2004, Frauke has been playing with the WITCO Desperadoes in Trinidad. The community work they do in the Laventille area reminds her of her work in Bijlmer. She has been one of their summer youth camp teachers since 2006. One of their dreams is to have their own pan yard. The band currently practices in a sports hall and as they share the facility they are only able to practice twice a week. Frauke stated, ‘It would be great to have a real pan yard where the kids could practice on a daily basis’. The kids’ enthusiasm is evident in the vacation periods when Frauke organizes daily classes at 10 o’clock in the morning and at least ten children are present. She confirmed , ‘Their thirst for the music coupled with this enthusiasm makes the project such a beautiful experience and is my driving force to go on when the going get tough’.
> www.myspace.com/bijlmersteelbandkids 8
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Pan Podium summer 2008
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Ebony, Eclipse and Jenny Gilberg victorious at BASFDF pan explosion 2K8
event profile ll l The BASFDF 9th annual Pan Explosion held at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon, Surrey on Saturday the 31st May 2008 was certainly blessed with lots of warm weather coupled with a high standard of steelband music. Pannists as young as seven (7) competed against their older counterparts for the Ensembles title. The overall winner on the night was steelband music as the versatility of the instrument and dexterity of its players certainly treated the audience to a musical explosion of steelpan music.
Before the start of the event, CSI Community steelband hosted a typical Trinidadian style jam session in the car park with bottles and spoons, scratchers and any other paraphernalia that created some percussive rhythm. World renowned steelpan manufacturer/ tuner, Dudley Dickson, along with Tubbs, Chato, Brent Holder, Jason Constantine and lots more had a very hectic free styling percussive jam session setting an electric atmosphere for the start of the event. Pan Explosion is about the promotion of excellence. In its simplest form it is the commissioning of new music and the promotion of the UK’s steel pan virtuosos and this year’s competition featured musicians from across the UK. Its secondary role is to provide the emerging and future leaders of the UK’s steel band movement, BASFDF, a platform from which they can enhance and develop
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their management skills and share with the wider steel pan community their vision for the future of the instrument not only in the UK but also in Europe and beyond. Guest artistes were Harlow steelband and soloists, Dan Sadler and Kyron Akal. Whilst the judges on the night were Tamara AromHobbs, Debby Romain and Dan Sadler who was replaced by Chris Storey for the Over 25 Ensembles competition owing to illness. After the event yet another ‘liming session’ ensued by hard core ‘Limers’ who did not want the evening to end. Everyone is now looking forward to the 10th Pan Explosion in 2009. BAS Executive Officers and members of the Association extended their thanks to all guest artistes and competitors for the time and energy they spent preparing for the event, as well as BAS partners, Carnival Village and Fairfield Halls for their support and most particularly, to the audience.
Ensembles Under 25 Contrast Steelband - consists of roughly 20 players ranging in age from 13 to 40+. They were formed in 1974 by Cy Jacques who has now retired and emigrated back home to St Kitts & Nevis leaving management of the band in the capable hands of Pat Munroe. Croydon Steel Orchestra - This is Croydon’s fourth time taking part in Pan Explosion and the third time for Kerrie, Annie and Leanne. For the other members, this is their first time entering except Charlotte who also participated in two rounds of ‘Pan Clash’ last year. Ebony Steelband - This band of under 25 year olds have been together for three years and have come a long way since their novice beginnings. This is the first time these musicians have entered Pan Explosion and are already looking forward to many more. Ebony Steelband Protegez - ‘Protegez’ was set up in 2008. Tutors Candice (23) and Joelle (19) teach the band once a week. All performers are under the age of 14 and this is only their third ever performance. Results: Ebony Steelband – 490 Contrast Steelband – 456 Ebony Steelband Protegez – 382 Croydon Steel Orchestra – 373 Ensembles Over 25 CSI Community Group - Caribbean Steel International (CSI) Community group, lead by Brent Holder, is a voluntary run steel band based in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. Eclipse Steelband - Formed in 1980 and was led by Dennis Osbourne, today Mark ‘Tyson’ Williams is the leader of the band and his musical arrangements has seen them capture second place in the 2007 BAS/CAPCA Junior Panorama competition. Results: Eclipse Steel Orchestra – 534 CSI Community Group - 498 Soloists Charlotte Benson - Croydon Steel Orchestra Charlotte has been playing pan for six years. She started on Double Seconds then moved briefly to Double Guitar and Bass before settling on Tenor. Jenny Gilberg - North Tyneside Steel Band, Newcastle - Jenny has been playing pan for just over eight years. She is a member of North Tyneside Steel Band and also plays with the North East of England regional band, Volcano Results: Jenny Gilberg – 245 Charlotte Benson – 183 Guest Artistes Harlow Steel Band was established in 2003 as a community dropin activity for children and adults supported by Harlow Council, Ebony Steelband and Essex Youth Service. Guest Soloists Kyron Akal is an ardent supporter, competitor, champion soloist, arranger and judge at Pan Explosion. Dan Sadler currently plays and arranges musical pieces for Sounds of Steel – Portsmouth. Dan has been a competitor in Pan Explosion competing in both the soloists and ensemble sections.
Pan Podium summer 2008 11
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INVADERS SOUNDING SWEET …THE ROARING 40’s, 50’s, 60’s
Eviction from a National Steelband Heritage Landmark...
...The invaders story ≥
The original architectural design and ambience of the Invaders pan yard then, was a high wood and galvanize shed, nestled under a towering, forever laden breadfruit tree, next to a large outhouse in the backyard of # 147 Tragarete Rd. To get inside the pan yard, one had to walk through a passageway between two wooden houses, whose front doors and windows literally opened onto the pavement. The ping, ping, pong, pong, bang, bang sound of the sticks and hammers tuning and blending, could be heard from the street, as one negotiated a mossy drain trailing from a stand pipe, hooked up to a galvanize enclosed open air bathroom, refreshed with the lingering semi controlled stench of the cesspit. Big business and urban development has, and is remodeling the original landscape of Wordbook, including the location of the many pan
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yards. A popular Carnival strip and thoroughfare to and from downtown Port of Spain, Tragarete road, hosts four  yards, Silver Stars, Playboyz, Modernaires, and Invaders. The posh high rise apartment buildings of One Woodbrook Place, has already relocated Starlift whilst the removal of Phase 11 remains a work in progress. Invaders, the mother and grand mother of many west bands, has experienced the heaviest ordeal from these wealthy and ambitious developers. Born as De Oval Boys in 1937, because of the proximity to the Queen’s Park Oval, and renamed after the war movie Invaders in 1940, the occupation of this historic and valuable piece of real estate, is some 68 years and counting. When the houses were eventually cleared to allow for a total pan yard, one wondered how a steel
band did fit into such a small area. It is apparent that the developers have no cultural ties or loyalties, and it is obviously another page in the saga of the disrespect and unimportance of our grass root heritage, and by extension the national instrument. Invaders has been faced with eviction twice in these 68 yrs, in 1979 and again in 2007, and whether the steelband’s administration is culpable or not for pussyfooting with the acquisition of the property, something has to be done very soon with respect to proclaiming and preserving our steelband heritage, especially historic panyard locations. Anything that age and as deeply associated with the evolution and invention of the only acoustic musical instrument of the 20th century, has to be deemed as significant as the magnificent 7 around the Grand Savannah, and other historic landmarks throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
Invaders was the Woodbrook force to be reckoned with as far as rioting, progressive pan tuning and design, playing Mas, sweet music and the best chip coming out of Port of Spain’s west side. A Road March of 1950’s, Lord Blakie’s Steelband Clash, is a commentary on a battle between Invaders and Tokyo, in the heights of steelband riots and musical rivalry. Breaking news in the 1940’s was the issue of Dr. Ellie Mannette’s creation of the [concave as against convex] sunken pan as it is today. Nicknamed the Barracuda Pan, and simply because of the superior and clearer musical sound, it was stolen and strung up on a tree ‘behind de bridge’. The might of Invaders was challenged to enter this area to reclaim the instrument. Nevertheless, even amidst the violence, the rank and file of west Port of Spain could be seen jumping with Invaders in differing roles of badjohns, rioters, pan beaters and revelers. The affluent folks, doctors, lawyers, politicians, intellectuals, college students all supported this band, and if you need proof, check Invaders any J’ouvert morning and witness the cross section of adults and senior citizens still yearning for that nostalgic chip up Tragarete road. Several steelband icons and other worthy individuals have contributed to painting the timeless mural that is
Invaders. Ellie and Birdie Mannette, Cobo Jack, Ray Holman, Earl La Pierre and Happy Williams, are just the tip of the iceberg of talented products of this steelband. The children and grandchildren include Starlift, Modernaires, Playboyz, Phase 11, Third World and Brimblers. Invaders undoubtedly became a leader in the early times of pan tuning, playing and innovativeness, especially Bomb tunes, from Pan round de neck, to wheels and on stage. Unlucky is the easiest word to describe this band’s achievements in National Panorama or the Music Festival. They have always been in and around the finals of these and other major Pan events, but, unfortunately, winning remains elusive to date. However, they held for a considerable time, the title of the biggest west band, accompanying thousands of costumed masqueraders back in the day when Pan ruled the Carnival scene. The legendary George Bailey, another notable icon and Invaders mas man from the wire bending era, contributed to their mas presentations before he went solo and won several Band of the Year titles.
PAN from the WEST is the BEST …says Bro. Valentino 2000’s
This band, not only commanded the respect of the other powerful bands, but was also responsible for pioneering and spawning much of the revolutionary changes to the style and sound of the steelband. They definitely had a remarkable uniqueness in tuning
and playing. The standards set and levels of pan music attained by the elder crack shots was phenomenal, with a star studded cast, featuring the likes of Emmanuel “Cobo Jack” Riley, a top ranked steelband icon and Invaders pannist noted for ramajaying i.e. extemporizing at will, playing off the cuff, unrehearsed chords and melodies during whatever tune the band played on the move. This was in essence, the redefinition of steelband music some 50 years ago. Urban music it was, if one were tempted to categorize and compare that style in the context of today’s diverse music genres, and the abilities of current steelband musical arrangers. They all dabble in an adult contemporary mix or fusion of Calypso/ Soca, with the tempos and rhythms of the Classics, Jazz, Pop, R&B etc. Small wonder why ‘own composiion’ is another hallmark of the west. Invaders maintained the status of flagship and front runner of the west for approximately 25 years. They have endured so far, and outlasted many bands throughout their 68 years. Despite the negative effects of progress, change, migration and shifting paradigms, they are still ranked in the National Panorama’s top 10. The legacy that is Invaders is inestimable. Many of Trinidad &Tobago’s accomplished musicians, arrangers, tuners and pannists has roots planted with Invaders, passed through and were schooled, utilized their pan music platform, or, are the bloodline offspring of this parent band. Obviously eviction would tend to close the book for Invaders, since in reality, this will be the actual dismantling and removal of a national steelband monument, a shrine from which countless musical talents, and creations have evolved, a pinnacle for steelband and gateway to the illustrious urban steelband music from the West. Mindboggling it is how prime real estate motivates the big money developers, but, conversely, it takes drastic measures like the impending eviction to motivate national attention and recognition of the priceless heritage of the Invaders Steelband, and the entire Pan fraternity. by: D. Anthony Blackman Copyright Reserved
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In the wee hours of Carnival Sunday morning 2005, thirty years of hard toil, sweat and tears finally bore fruit. The Sforzata Steel Orchestra was declared the Panorama Champions in the medium category. Thus began the reign of this band from the east at the top of the competitive standings. Early on, Sforzata gained financial support from the Trinidad National Brewery in the sum of TTD $8,000.00. For this assistance, the band adopted the name Mackeson Sforzata for a short period of time. Sforzata also became quite popular in the community but failed to gain the mammoth following which Scherzando had once commanded. Part of the reason for this had to do with its location and composition. The panyard site was at the corner of Warren Street and the Eastern Main Road, St. Augustine. However, the band drew the majority of its membership and strength of its support from outside the area as far as Arouca, Arima and Santa Cruz. For this reason, it was decided to remove the town name “Curepe” from the band’s title, in contrast to its predecessor, which is still known as Curepe Scherzando.
sforzata steel orchestra ….NO LONGER JUST “THE SUNSHINE BAND”
The Sforzata Steel Orchestra was formed on 29th July 1975 by Merlin ‘Mutt’ Gill, Irvin Burgess and friends, the band was an offshoot of the Curepe Scherzando Steel Orchestra. The word sforzata is a musical term of Italian origin meaning reinforced or strongly accented, in reference to the way in which a note or chord can be played. 14
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In 1984, Sforzata was evicted from its panyard and forced to take up residence on a vacant lot near the Priority Bus Route. New support from the area at this time was encouraged not only by the band’s success at national competitions, but also by the negative stigma attached to the high volume of drug related incidents in the area. In the 1976 Panorama competition, Sforzata placed third in the Eastern Zonal Finals and made it as far as the National Semi-Finals. In the same year, sixteen members of the band toured Miami and played at the bicentennial celebration of American Independence. The band managed to make it to the finals in 1978 but placed last with their rendition of Lord Kitchener’s Pan in the 21st Century. Surrounded by a variety of musical styles, the band won the Bomb competition with the folk song Mango
and continued to be in winner’s row for the next three years. Sforzata’s track record at Panorama prompted it being labelled by pan aficionados as the ‘Sunshine Band’. The orchestra was continuously plagued by failure on the final night of the Panorama competition despite performing well in preliminary rounds. This affected the band’s players, and the band gradually shrunk. In an attempt to reverse this trend, the band’s arranger Merlin “Mutt” Gill sponsored the band in 1985, but even this had little effect. The waning of the orchestra’s support indicated the fickle nature of its fans, demonstrating the way in which bands are valued on their competitive successes. Buoyed by the late Russell Teshiera’s vision and support, Sforzata has redefined its role in Curepe. The very successful Annual Kiddies Carnival has been a mainstay on the band’s calendar. Started in 1990, it takes place every Carnival Sunday and is actually one of the biggest Carnival activities in East Trinidad. The panyard at Evans Street, Curepe has maintained its reputation as one of the safest in the country. It now holds regular inter- steelband activities along with hosting parties and even a wedding or two. The band maintains a very active social calendar. With the establishment of the medium band category in 2004, Sforzata quickly reinvented itself as one of the giants in the steelpan world. In 2005, the band took a risk on an up and coming arranger, Yohan Popwell. With a fresh arranger, the band swept the preliminary, semifinal, and final rounds in 2005 for their first ever Panorama victory with Shadow’s tune, Dingolay. They successfully defended their title in 2006 playing Baron’s This Melody Sweet. In 2007 and 2008 the band placed 3rd in the panorama finals. The band is managed by Trevor Reid and Juslin Earle. Sforzata is indeed living up to its name; strong and powerful. by Mazzini Gill
Tunes and Placement 2004 - War 2004 - Merlin “Mutt” Gill, 2005 - Dingolay - Yohan Popwell - 1st Place, 2006 - This Melody Sweet - Yohan Popwell - 1st Place, 2007 - Calypso Music - Yohan Popwell - 3rd Place, 2008 - Thunder Coming - Yohan Popwell - 3rd Place Pan Podium summer 2008 15
l ll who’s who
who’s who ll l “Change and controversy, as much as continuity and tradition, have always been and always will be part of the bacchanal of Trinidadian carnival”
The Man Behind Music From Behind the Bridge With a mix of personal experience, detailed research, scholarly discourse and musicological analysis, Shannon Dudley’s new book Music from Behind the Bridge: Steelband Spirit and Politics in Trinidad and Tobago (Oxford University Press, 2008) is one of the best studies yet of pan.
It joins classics like Steve Stuempfle’s The Steelband Movement and the work of Kim Johnson as essential to anyone interested in the history, music and culture of pan. Dudley’s book is especially strong in its consideration of the evolution of pan performance and culture during Carnival in Trinidad, both with the Panorama competition and the “Bomb” competition. The tune that was dropped like a Bomb amid secrecy and high delight of its patrons
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early on Jouvert morning as steelbands paraded by and gave its arrangement of a pop or classical selection. This is not the work of an academic who came to the islands for a year and was never seen again. Dudley is no Johnny Come Lately to pan. He has a history in the music stretching back decades, and he continues to lead. He is currently an Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington where he leads the university steelband and teaches a wide range of courses in music of the Americas and ethnomusicology. Growing up in Berkeley, California, Dudley first heard a steel pan while in high school when Andy Narell came and gave a demonstration of pan, while promoting the Cazadero summer performing arts camp where pan was to be on the program. Dudley first played a pan at Oberlin College, where despite his love of music he was pursuing a biology degree. He soon started performing in a student led steelband that was not a part of the university music program. After getting his degree, he spent two years in southern India where he led a choir at a local university and studied South Indian carnatic music. It was in
India where he realized that he did not want to pursue science or medicine, but that really his first and foremost love was music. Upon his return to the United States, his love of pan led him on a pilgrimage to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he spent a year learning about pan from one of Trinidad’s legends, Cliff Alexis. Then working with the Minnesota school system, Alexis put Dudley to work sinking, grooving and shaping pans. When Cliff Alexis received the invitation to come to Northern Illinois University and work with Allan O’Connor, the pioneer in bringing pan into the percussion programs in American universities, Dudley decided to follow. He spent almost a year working with Cliff Alexis, while taking a job with the university’s public relations department. During this time Dudley was playing with the university steelband as well as a smaller group. His love of music led him to apply for a graduate degree in ethnomusicology. He enrolled at the University of California Berkeley in 1986 and had originally intended to do his dissertation on South
Indian music. But his love of the steel pan soon drew him back to that as his subject. During this period he became involved with teaching pan at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond. It was an after school program for disadvantaged youth. He remembers this as one of the most rewarding experiences he ever had. Andy Narell then introduced Dudley to Patrick Arnold, who had started tuning pans for the after school program after relocating to the Bay Area from Canada. When Patrick Arnold brought up Our Boys from Tobago to live and work in the Bay Area, Dudley got involved in writing arrangements for Our Boys such as Bach’s “Air for G String.” By the mid-nineties, Dudley had joined Tom Miller’s ensemble Pan Ramajay, both performing with them and playing on the group’s second CD. It was in 1989 that Shannon made his first trip to Trinidad and spent the Carnival season working with Pandemonium under the
baton of Clive Bradley. He returned in 1992 and spent almost a year studying the history of pan, playing in various bands, taking in the whole rich experience of music and festivals as well as Carnival and doing research for his dissertation. He has since returned several times for Carnival, conferences and the recent launch of his new book. Interestingly, his book on pan was his second book. The first is Carnival Music in Trinidad (Oxford University Press, 2004). This short book, just over a hundred pages with a CD, is part of the Global Music Series, an excellent set of over a dozen “case studies”, which Oxford University Press has published in the last few years on various types of music, all geared toward the serious ethnomusicology student. Dudley’s book on Carnival offers an enjoyable quick look at calypso, pan, soca, and the myriad of other forms of music swirling around Carnival, such as rapso, chutney and all the hybrid forms like ragga soca and chutney soca. Chris Tanner, founder and director of the Miami University (Ohio) Steel Band, noted that it was “comprehensive yet brief, detailed but easy to read.” With the CD and the focus in the text on the musical examples, it is the best introduction there is to carnival music in Trinidad. Since 1996, Shannon Dudley has been teaching at the University of Washington where he spearheaded the effort to bring pan into the university curriculum. UW’s Ethnomusicology Department is famous for its Visiting Artists program, inviting musicians from around the globe to provide extended residencies in Seattle. Dudley arranged for pan legend Ray Holman to hold the Visiting Artists position for two years, 1998 to 2000 at UW, a unique honor for a pannist and something that has not occurred anywhere else. Holman’s residency also led to the purchase of a set of pans for the university. Over the two years, Ray Holman taught individual pan lessons, led ensemble rehearsals and gave a series of concerts with the newly formed steelband in a variety of settings, as well
as doing some unique collaborations with the jazz studies section of the UW Music Department. Since Ray Holman’s departure, Dudley has led the University steelband, which performs at the school of Music open house and the spring percussion performance concert. He continues to play and has a keen interest in pan. More recently he spent a year in Puerto Rico where he has been researching Puerto Rican steelbands as well as salsa groups like El Gran Combo. For him, pan remains an essentially participatory activity, the performer and the supporters all caught up in a joyous celebration of life, all part of a rich Carnival tradition. As he noted in his first book, “Change and controversy, as much as continuity and tradition, have always been and always will be part of the bacchanal of Trinidadian carnival, reflecting the dynamism of a diverse and evolving society.” In Music from Behind the Bridge, Dudley emphasizes the African roots of pan from Orisha rhythms but is careful to note that, “Steelband musicians regularly transgressed the boundaries that their larger society erected between musical repertories, appropriating and adapting both African and European musical traditions in imaginative ways.” His chapter, “The Rise of the Arranger,” provides portraits of Anthony Williams, Bobby Mohammed, Clive Bradley, Earl Rodney, Ray Holman, and Jit Samaroo, tracing an evolution of style and innovation in the art of Panorama arranging. Dudley does a fine job of addressing the intricate nature of Panorama, the community involvement, the various threads of competition, and how pan evolved into a complex music that is still in its early stages. It is an essential book by a scholar with a true and abiding love of pan. By: Ray Funk Pan Podium summer 2008 17
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trinidad all stars at expo zaragoza 2008 Expo Zaragoza 2008 held in Spain is an International Exposition consisting of over 100 participating countries of which 14 are from the Caribbean Community and the Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra was contracted to provide steelband music daily (approximately 440 performances) at the Caribbean Pavilion from June 9 to September 14, 2008. One local
newspaper reported that at one of their forty five minutes performances, the fourteen pan musicians of the Trinidad All Stars steel orchestra had over 800 patrons who were not familiar with its sounds swaying their hips and tapping their feet to the infectious music. The orchestra received a standing ovation and continued playing after receiving numerous encores. Their music and the trimmings in the Caribbean Pavilion certainly transformed it into a Caribbean atmosphere enjoyed by all in attendance. The Expo’s theme is Experience the Biggest Water Festival on Earth. The Water Tribune is the school of thought which has been created, parallel to the visual, cultural and leisure elements of the Expo in response to the requirements of an International Exposition which stems from the will to stimulate reflection, debate and a search for solutions in relation to water and sustainability. The Expo Zaragoza 2008 site is set to become a Business Park after
summer 2008 Pan Podium
the International Exhibition. Once the International Exhibition closes its doors on 14 September, the post-Expo phase will begin and the pavilions of the Expo site will be converted into a 160,000 square metre Business Park. Estudio Lamela and the Master de Ingeniería y Arquitectura studio have been commissioned with the restructuring project, while the commercialisation of the interior spaces is to be managed by the international consultants Jones Lang and King Sturge. Owing to its unique sound and being the only new acoustic musical instrument invented in the last century, the steelpan, which can play all types of
music, continues to fascinate patrons who have neither seen nor heard this instrument before. The dexterity of its players and the versatility of the instrument are main contributors to its success. On entering the Caribbean Pavilion, one is greeted with sun, rain, lightning and thunder effects, while viewing beautifully painted scenes of Caribbean landscapes and houses on the walls. Then comes the booths (all 14 islands) on the perimeter of the Pavilion displaying what they are all uniquely famous for. Centrally located is an eight- sided elevated music stand where the cultural activities
take place daily. From the Bahamas - Dicey Doh, from Barbados - folk dancers, drummers, limbo and moko jumbie, from Antigua & Barbuda - 3 Cylinders, from St Lucia - The String Band, from Trinidad and Tobago - Indian dancers and the Trinidad All Stars. The Caribbean Pavilion continues to attract thousands of visitors daily and is rated in the first 5 of all the pavilions at the Expo and has been earmarked as the venue for the closing Party hosted by the Commissioner of the Exposition. Congratulations to the Caribbean community. For more information visit:
www.expozaragoza2008.es Pan Podium summer 2008 19
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band profile ll l There is currently no national graded examination available in the UK; however this pilot project will research the possibility of an accreditation system for all to access in the UK. The project is supported by the Associated Board for the Royal School of Music, of which, a validated syllabus could see alterations made before the Board decides whether to open it up to the rest of the UK. SV2G employed the steel pan academy in Coventry to assist with their research by carrying out questionnaires to current steelbands and teachers in the UK. Numbers and levels of pupils currently learning and playing steel pan instruments in the UK were ascertained. The steel pan academy designed the questionnaire in two formats to accommodate both independent steelpan tutors/leader and head of music services at local education authorities. Preliminary findings revealed that approximately 7,350 pupils were represented by responses in the UK, out of which 2,500 are currently learning to play pan by five tutors in Manchester alone. Approximately a quarter of the sample represented currently use some form of scheme as part of their teaching. Schemes that were available to observe indicated a majority included basic musicality and pan principles. The final research of the project will not be published until the end of the project that will be towards the end of 2008.
steelpan in education project - the arts council england
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 2nd Generation (SV2G), secured £78,000.00, of which £50,000.00 was invested by the Arts Council England. SV2G set up the Wycombe Steel Orchestra two years ago, and launched a unique project that started in Trinidad and Tobago in the summer of 2007. Members of the steel orchestra went 20
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to the University of the West Indies to study the syllabus and accreditation system to pilot in the UK. As well as taking the examinations in solo steelpan performance, the members received invaluable experience and training that enhanced their teaching and leadership skills. An examiner from the University of West Indies will visit the UK to
examine the cohort of pupils preparing for the examinations in September 2008. The delegation in Trinidad and Tobago met with several faculties and departments at the University of West Indies, Pan Trinbago, various schools, Pamberi Steel Orchestra, plus several other panyards (currently known as ‘Pan Theatres’), and the British Embassy.
In November 2007, SV2G held a public meeting, invited all organisations and individuals involved in steelpan in the UK to be updated on their project. The meeting concluded the need for a formation of an association of steelpan teachers and tutors. As part of SV2G’s project, the formation of the association has materialised through the co-ordination of SV2G. This project has also recognised and celebrated the creative achievements of young people, a celebration which offers encouragement to the next generation of a rich, diverse heritage of young people to continue exploring and developing their creativity.
Jacqueline Roberts Jacqueline is the co-founder and Chairman the St. Vincent and the Grenadines 2nd Generation (SV2G). SV2G raises the awareness of African and Caribbean Heritage and Culture. She is also the Chair for Carnival Network South East England; The National Association for St. Vincent & the Grenadines Associations UK; and the Creative Director for Wycombe Steel Orchestra. Although Jacqueline’s background is one of local government, serving as a Civic Officer, Research, Policy and African and Caribbean development work, she has also trained classically on the violin. Jacqueline serves on various advisory committees for community cohesion, funding bodies, education, as well as a Governor at a Snr and Jnr school. One of Jacqueline’s current projects from her extensive portfolio is managing the UK Steelpan in Education project for SV2G and the Arts Council England. This pilot research project is to assess and create an accreditation system in the UK for the Steelpan Instrument. Jacqueline led a delegation to Trinidad & Tobago last summer to study at the University of the West Indies (UWI). Examinations were taken at the centre for Festivals and Creative Arts using the UWI steelpan accreditation system. Since then, as part of the project SV2G has an arrangement in partnership with UWI to manage their syllabus and examinations in the UK.
Pan Podium summer 2008 21
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Volcano, the latest addition to The Sage Gateshead’s Regional Youth Ensembles family, is a steel band led by renowned pannist, Wendy Brown. Members are also given the opportunity to access international level tuition from guest tutors such as the experienced soloist, arranger and composer, Brent Holder, within the first-rate rehearsal environment of The Sage Gateshead. The group enjoys a high-energy rehearsal and performance schedule which requires them to commit numerous arrangements and new compositions to memory Volcano has performed at The Sage Gateshead’s annual Gateshead International Jazz Festival, at Steel Spring and also collaborated on an exciting piece with Jambone, the Sage Gateshead’s regional youth jazz big band. Their performance at the recent Gateshead International Jazz Festival is
proof that the pan culture in the North East is grooming a new wave of excellent young pannists. Musical director, Wendy, led Volcano to captivate a huge audience with a 30 minute set on the enormous concourse area of The Sage Gateshead. They secured the busy lunchtime slot before the afternoon’s three major
volcano > Steelband
jazz concerts kicked off, and had audiences tapping their feet and swaying way up in the balconies. Performing Wendy’s own compositions and complex arrangements of pop and soca classics infused with a jazzy edge, the group enjoyed hearty applause from the lively festival audience.
About to enter its third year as an ensemble, Volcano has really benefited from the world class performance and rehearsal spaces of international arts education and performance venue, the Sage Gateshead. As one of six audition-based regional youth ensembles housed in the building (they range from a folk group through to a full size chamber orchestra), Volcano forms the energetic steel pan element of the comprehensive music education programme on offer by the organisation to young musicians in the region. With hopes to create performance opportunities alongside other Northern steel bands, Volcano’s first joint appearance was with the wonderful Sunshine Panners from Hayden Bridge. 2007/08 promises to be very exciting for Volcano with plans, amongst others, for residential workshops and a Hall One performance at The Sage Gateshead alongside some spectacular pannists. Practising as a member of Volcano undoubtedly improves both musical and performance skills as well as being a lot of fun. It is a wonderful
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opportunity for members to meet and work alongside pannists from bands across the region and to stretch themselves. In these ways we hope that the existence of Volcano will ultimately benefit the grass roots steel bands that members are loyal to. Wendy takes a challenging approach to the musical development of these young pannists, with strict focus on technical ability as well as general musicianship skills, and unlike several steelbands in the area asks players to focus on one instrument throughout the academic year. The group also benefits from the rich performance programme of the increasingly renowned venue with workshops led by visiting artists such as the Kodo drummers, and jazz drummer and percussionist Dylan Howe. Volcano is just one of the Sage Gateshead’s six Regional Youth Ensembles, offering superb learning and performance opportunities for young instrumentalists and vocalists in a wide range of musical styles: Folkestra (folk band), Jambone (jazz big-band), Katabatic Winds (wind
orchestra), Quay Voices (chamber choir) and Young Sinfonia (classical orchestra). With previous performances including a large scale collaborative youth gala concert, and their own concert in the funky club style venue at the Sage Gateshead, Volcano are now setting their sights higher and are leading up to their much anticipated performance in the building’s 1700 capacity Hall One, which will be the culmination of the year’s work and an intensive summer residential course. Their appearance at the Pan Dango Summer Tyne festival in July 2008 was fantastic. By: Ruth Currie, photos; Mark Savage Visit the Sage Gateshead website for more information about the organisation and their activities. www.thesagegateshead.org
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In the hustle and bustle of the city of Port of Spain, in the Park Street area near the Globe cinema someone was born destined for musical fame. Little did the residents of the Green Corner area realise that Annise ‘Halfers’ Hadeed was to become one of Trinidad’s most established musicians.
Annise remembers listening, at the tender age of five, to the Starland Steel Orchestra at its panyard in St Vincent street in the vicinity of ‘Green Corner’, which was not far from his home. He attended the Western Boys RC School on Richmond Street, and it was at this time that his interest in pan music began. He moved to Woodbrook when he was 10 and lived between the two famous steel orchestras, Invaders and Starlift. He recalls visiting both pan yards around this time and finally settled just around the corner from Invaders, the University of Pan. He remembers listening to a tune played in the Invaders panyard and returning the following day to ‘pick’ the tune on a tenor pan and from that time it was no turning back.
‘halfers’ hadeed “
I appreciate so much music it is impossible to narrow down my preferences but jazz is my greatest love and of course true calypso.
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Smith. Halfers stayed at Phase 11 for some time and in 1976 done his first musical arrangement, ‘I got to be free’, by Denise Williams. His music started to take off and in 1978 he was part of a quartet called Citizen – which comprised of Michael ‘Toby’ Tobias on drums, Andy Phillip on bass and Raf Robertson on keyboards. The following year, Boogsie and Halfers were responsible for all the pan work on the album, Phase 11 presents Boogsie. The essence of this album was to promote Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe. In 1979, he spent a month in the UK making a second visit the following year when he became involved in the formation of the Breakfast Band due to his earlier association on recordings
He began playing for Invaders from around age eleven. At his first Panorama competition that year he played percussion and also played pan on the road for Carnival. When he was in his third year at Queens Royal College, Trinidad, he made the decision to pursue his career in music, as he saw music as his life... After the 1973 Trinidad Carnival, Annise and other members left Invaders to form their own steel orchestra, which did not materialise. After some persuasion from his Queens Royal College colleagues, Keith Glaude, the late Chris Glaude and Gomez, Halfers joined Phase 11 Pan Groove in late 73’. Annise also confirmed that Brian ‘Sayman’ Parris now resident in Mexico was also instrumental in his move to Phase 11 Pan Groove. At this turning point in his career he came into contact with Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe, whom he previously in 1969 at Starlift pan yard whilst he was still at primary school. He mentions several other noted musicians who around that time was using the steelpan as a solo instument such as Earl Rodney, Orthelo Molineaux, Robert Greenidge and Rudy ‘Twolef’
with the noted drummer, Richard Bailey. By 1981, he was back in the UK working with the Breakfast Band, appearing at Jazz festivals all over Europe while being involved in recordings for a number of singles and albums for various artistes. In early 1983, he became a freelance member of the Breakfast Band and started arranging for Europe’s finest, Ebony Steel Band. He continued this affiliation with Ebony while continuing his professional music career. Annise has arranged music for Kalomo Kings of Pleasantville, San Fernando, for the Trinidad and Tobago Steelband Panorama competition between 1988 and 1991 while in 1992 he did the musical arrangements for Solo Harmonites. He was also performing with the Martinique based West Indies Jazz Band during the period 1990 -94
and was involved in the recording of two of their CDs in France. He continued playing as a freelance musician with a quintet in Paris doing numerous gigs and recordings, while maintaining his relationship with Ebony as an arranger steering them to victory at the Notting Hill Panorama ‘Champions of Steel’ competition in 1988-9, 1991 – 1999 consecutively, 2001, 2005 and 2006 making him the only steelband musical arranger to win a National Steelband competition fourteen (14) times giving him the status of the World Panorama Champion Arranger. He was presented with an award by the Barber Green Committee for this achievement. He also arranged the test piece for Ebony in the finals of the 2000 and 2002 World Steelband Muisc Festivals in Trinidad which saw Ebony tie for 1st place in the test piece category with Exodus steel orchestra in 2002. In January 1998 saw the release of an album long overdue as it was the solo debut of this renowned Trinidadian musician. It incorporates the jazz beat with the added Caribbean flavour. ‘Take a Taste’ the title of the album was made possible by the gathering of Pan Podium summer 2008 25
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Caribbean born musicians who are also well established in the international world of music. The steelpan is used in conjunction with the bass, piano, saxophone and drums on this album and six of the tracks are composed by Halfers. The other two tracks are composed by Clive ‘Zanda’ Alexander and Russ Henderson. Halfers has shown his talents in this production that will take you on a journey through the versatility of his music. The album also gives the rich diversity of his musical expressions. Annise also composed and arranged the music for the songs, ‘Ramajay’ in 1990, ‘Fresh’ in 1991 followed by ‘Showtime’ in 1992 which were all sung by calypsonian, Gregory ‘GB’ Ballantyne for Trinidad Carnival/Panorama. In 1996, Annise was part of the Paris based DJOA Claude Sommier Sextet, which produced the CD entitled Calalou. In the same year he arranged, ‘Mind Yuh Business’ for Phase 11 Pan Groove in the Trinidad Panorama preliminaries as Boogsie was unable to do it. Annise was asked to do the musical arrangements 26
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with only ten days to the event and saw them qualify for the next round among the first five bands, without his intervention they would not have participated in that year’s panorama. In 1997, he did the musical arrangement of ‘Misbehave’ for Hydro Agri Skiffle Bunch who were eventual winners of the South Zonal Panorama. They also placed fifth in the National Panorama Finals which was their greatest achievement as a conventional steel orchestra in that competition at that time. He also arranged their 1998 tune, ‘Behave Yourself’. From 1999-2001 and in 2008, Annise did the musical arrangements for PCS Starlift. He then arranged for the Merry Tones steel orchestra from Diego Martin, Trinidad for 2002-3. Annise has also toured extensively in the Caribbean, USA, Canada and Europe. Asked if he had a preference for any particular pan, he replied, “Every individual pan has its part to play in an orchestra. Each one is important as the other, but I work with the double seconds because of the range
it can produce. It gives a ‘warmer’ sound in the low notes but is capable of achieving the high ones when you need to.” Halfers’ musical tastes are broad. He stated, “I appreciate so much music it is impossible to narrow down my preferences but jazz is my greatest love and of course true calypso.” He sees the future of the musical instrument, the pan, as being dictated by the involvement of different bodies in its varied uses. He said, “Nature will take its natural course for the pan. You must remember that it is the twentieth century’s only new acoustic musical instrument. It is still in its infant stage in relation to other known and established ‘conventional’ instruments.” The awesome gift possessed by this talented musician is truly an inspiration to all of us. Halfers has made great strides with the steel pan as his chosen instrument on the international music circuit. His actions have led to the wider acceptance of this 20th century and the steelpan culture as a whole.
west hill primary school steelband ≥
Since April 2006, a Hednesford Primary School has been fortunate to be able to offer a very unique musical opportunity for its young learners. From the wide range of genres of music on offer, the school secured external funding and purchased its own set of steel pans. From the moment of the delivery of eighteen 55 gallon oil drums, direct from the Caribbean, the school was aware that the impact upon its pupils and community would be great! In almost two years, five teams of pupils have been formed and receive weekly tuition from a visiting teacher, John Baugh and their head teacher, Shaun Miles. In addition to this, the school has created a rota enabling the young musicians to perform before school, break times, lunchtimes and after school each day. Head teacher, Shaun Miles said, “The impact upon our school has been very
positive. Not only has the introduction of steel pans excited and enthused our pupils, it has given a tremendous opportunity for our young musicians to learn, to succeed and to perform together. It has provided a superb introduction to performing as an ensemble and has resulted in our young musicians having many, many opportunities to perform at some notable venues. The involvement of our pupils has certainly improved their self-discipline, dexterity, coordination, self-esteem, thinking skills, listening skills, creative abilities and personal expression. A number of our pupils who had not previously been interested in learning a musical instrument have since shown a great appreciation of what playing an instrument means. Links to other subjects such as Geography & History have been made through the connections to the Caribbean and the roots of Caribbean music. We have been fortunate in having visits from two steel pan players who are known both nationally and internationally and have influenced our young musicians further.
Overall, the experience has been one which has been very worthwhile and one which we continually invest in. “ The young musicians sat an examination conducted by the London College of Music in December 2006. They were the first pupils in the entire county of Staffordshire to take such a Steel Pan Ensemble examination and the school were thrilled when not only did they receive a Distinction, they received the highest result in the UK for such a music examination. During 2007, they have received numerous bookings, performed widely throughout Staffordshire, appeared on BBC TV and have made their very first album. Already the band has a number of engagements for 2008 and look forward to sharing their music with wider audiences. This group of talented young musicians has certainly set some high standards that will see the steel pan culture excel far into the future. By John Baugh and Shaun Miles Pan Podium summer 2008 27
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BAS/GLA 7th Trafalgar SquAre >
PAN Jamboree 2008
> The unpredictable English weather did not affect six top UK steelbands from appearing at the British Association of Steelbands (BAS) 7th annual Steelband Jamboree in Trafalgar Square. Over the past years BAS has fully supported both Mayors of London in taking this iconic venue, Trafalgar Square, to another level to be fully appreciated and enjoyed by local and national communities as well as global tourists. Sunday 03rd August 2008 saw the sky covered in dark clouds with a threat of rain showers but this did not deter the pan musicians and coupled with the ambience of the square and crowd appreciation, the square was transformed into an electric atmosphere. The sweet strains of sweet steelband music filled the air with renditions from all genres which saw people dancing everywhere on the Square. Even when the heavens opened and the showers came the steelbands continued playing. 28
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Trafalgar Square was transformed into a Steelpan Village. Southside Harmonics, CSI, CSO, Comets, Harlow and Metronomes steel orchestras entertained the crowds of visitors, tourists and supporters. The orchestras were dotted around the lower level of the Square and it was not unfamiliar to see the crowds drifting from orchestra to orchestra as they played alternatively. Caribbean Steel International Community Group Steel Orchestra appearing for the first time at this
event positioned to the left of Nelson’s Column certainly treated the crowds to some lively and melodic music. Brent Holder has certainly done a wonderful job with his young musicians. To the left of CSI was Comets Community Steel Orchestra led by Gina Sheridan with David Wellcomme responsible for their musical arrangements, their musicians certainly entertained the audience with some catchy numbers. Their budding pan musicians certainly will take this art form into the future. Croydon positioned at the foot of the stairs which provided
an amphitheatre setting, treated their audience to a varied repertoire. Paul Dowie continues to inspire his young band of musicians. Southside Harmonics’ young and capable players delivered a varied repertoire of some heart rendering tunes that pleased the crowds immensely. Julian Gibbs continues his musical journey to develop
his young and capable players into skilful and talented pannists. Harlow Steel Orchestra positioned at the north east section of the Square was also making their first appearance at this event. They certainly had the audience dancing to the sweet sounds of steel. Their young pannists dished out
some catchy renditions which received lots of compliments. Samuel Dubois has done some inspiring work with these young pannists. Metronomes positioned at the foot of Nelson’s column, led by Eversley ‘Breeze’ Mills with the gifted Kyron Akal responsible for their musical arrangements certainly treated the audience to musical treat. Captivating the crowds with their wide repertoire, their submission to the public‘s request for more saw their performance surpass the scheduled time, the Square’s heritage warden had to call a halt to their performance. As is traditional, Liz, the event flag woman, could be seen proudly waving her Trinidadian flag in front of each band throughout their performances. BAS/ GLA has hosted yet another successful Steelband Jamboree filled with a wealth of steel pan music. Don’t miss the 2009 BAS/GLA Trafalgar Square Pan Jamboree Pan 4 Life Pan Podium summer 2008 29
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event profile ll l the chance to meet a pan player from Finland, UK, Paris, the US, Berlin or Amsterdam and just talk pan – this is great! And we are all part of the pan family!”
an enthusiastic public. More than 2000 spectators gathered around the main stage on Saturday night, where the local band BAENG BAENG started the 3 course menu with a kaleidoscope of original compositions, Latin pop songs, and Caribbean music. The large band of more than 40 players ranging from young people to those in their 60s demonstrated a constant evolution in their technical and musical performance, and their fun-loving presentation set the mood for other acts to follow.
2008 in Dortmund Imagine nine bands from Europe and the USA getting together for two days in a flourishing park, performing steeldrum in a colorful variety of musical styles and most culturally inspiring way and you will understand why the centre of steel drum music was in Dortmund, Germany for a weekend in early July.
Pankultur in Dortmund, the ambitious and courageous non-profit German music school, cofounded by panplayer/composers Martin Buschmann and Juergen Lesker, had taken the annual Caribbean Night one step further. They put together a two
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day festival in the Westfalenpark of Dortmund (on the same scale like Hyde Park in London or Central Park in New York) where steelpan music was to be heard in every corner. By bringing together bands from all over Europe, the program was made spicey with
the top acts “Ebony” from the UK and “Delaware Steel” from the US, and the music mixed with Caribbean foods and drinks (along with gorgeous weather) – Pankultur brought the Carribean cocktail to steelpan lovers in North Rhine Westphalia. This festival found
Delaware Steel, directed by Harvey Price, has grown out of the University band to be one of the top acts in the USA. The band is sought after in places like Bastard (Sweden) where the group recently played at a week long chamber music festival and in Israel with Zubin Mehta and the Netanyahu Philharmonic Orchestra. In Dortmund, Delaware Steel played a mix of traditional and modern steel pan music ranging from the late great Lord Kitchener to Andy Narell. Their mint-quality presentation was greatly appreciated by the Dortmund public. Their jubilant players encouraged a hip swinging group of young women in their grass skirts celebrating a hen-party to kick it up a notch. Next to perform was Ebony; their repertoire of popular songs including Trinidadian hits really touched the nerve of all steelpan lovers. Ebony’s,(dubbed ‘Europe’s finest’) musicality had the audience lapping up every note even through the slight drizzle of rain that
left the dance floor wet. At the end of their performance they swapped their band-T-shirts with Delaware Steel like you would see after a football game, bringing the curtains down on a very entertaining first day of the festival filled with infectious steel band music. The second day of the festival was just as hectic and entertaining with Steely Wonder from Finland taking turns on stage in the park with Swedish pan players from Caribbean Hotline. Tropical Steelpan from the Netherlands opened the Calypso tent for Calypsocation from Paris and easily raised the temperature in the tent by 20 degrees. Cadillac Steelband from Oldenburg and Tin Pan Alley welcomed the public at the main entrance of the park. Whilst handson-workshops for kids, steel drum manufacturing and tuning clinics were run by Eckhard C. Schultz. The local Pankultur band presented their young children to adult programs, while BIMA and his jazz emsemble led the audience to a different sphere of steelpan music and to add to the Caribbean ambience, Son de Colonia offered Latin music that went down really well with mojitos and pina coladas. Steelpan novices and the hard-core enthusiasts coming to the Pankultur events for years were thoroughly impressed by the wide range of performances. Spectators loved the open atmosphere whilst pan players mingled and interacted with each other without thinking about competition or rehearsing for hours on end. A familiar statement heard was, “Where do I get
The junkaroo parade finally gathered the pan-around-the-neck-players together in a long queue and they marched from one venue to another, while the flag girls led the way, the crowd of more than 3000 followed in an endless stream, stopping and listening to every band perform till the parade eventually made its way to the main stage where Delaware Steel started the Grand Finale. From “Under the Sea” to honour the kids among the spectators to “Mozart’s Magic Flute – Overture”, “Sea of Stories” to “Sahra” by Len Boogsie
Sharpe - a colorful musical mix. Thanks to Pankultur and its hardworking team for putting together this wonderful Festival, for hosting and feeding more than 350 pan players and making them feel welcomed at all times. Thanks to the tourist office of the Islands of the Bahamas for being a main sponsor and bringing Antonius Roberts, a renowned sculptor from the islands. Mr. Roberts wooden sculpture, “Bahama-Mama with a rose” carved on site will be permanently placed in the Westfalenpark to be a reminder of this cultural music event. Pan players did not feel like leaving after the last note was played by Delaware Steel. “This needs to become an annual event”, they agreed unanimously, “like a familiy getting together for a reunion”. Well, we will think about that……. photos by Annette Huddeman text by: Judith Spoo International Relations – Pankultur Dortmund
Photos by: Anna Huddeman Pan Podium summer 2008 31
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who’s who ll l ahead for this task. The instruments remained with the Nigerian Army, which eventually sent about nine soldiers to Trinidad to become steelpan musicians. They became the core of what would be the Nigerian Army Steelband which Sonnie Bowei joined during his stint in the military. This was the only steelband in Nigeria until 2001 when Sonnie Bowei’s brainchild Xcel Steelband came into being.
Steelband Chief - Nigeria
In a four-hour long celebration at the palace of the Alagbara of Agbara, Agbara town in Ogun State, south west Nigeria, two chieftaincy titles were conferred upon panman Bowie Sonnie Bowei, and one upon his wife, Ndudi Bowei. The couple was honored in traditional fashion and in recognition for their integral and ongoing roles in the development of Nigeria’s steelband artform, especially within the community where Panland, their organization is set up.
Sonnie Bowei’s first title is The Amuludun of Agbara Land meaning “the one who makes that land sweet” (signifying his making the land ‘sweet’ with steelpan music). The second, The Majeobaje of Oto-Awori Kingdom is more philosophical, meaning “the good deeds which Sonnie Bowei has done should not be allowed to get spoilt.” The title bestowed on Ndudi Bowei,
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his wife - who does not play pan but is indispensable in her role as managing director of Panland - is that given to the wife of a Chief - The Yeye Amuludun of Agbara Land. Sonnie Bowei’s life now revolves almost entirely around the steelpan and was influenced more than twentyfive years ago when he performed
with the Nigerian Army Steelband. The instruments used by the band were left behind by Trinidad and Tobago’s Starlift Steel Orchestra who performed in 1977 at FESTAC (Festival of Arts and Culture) in Nigeria. The bulkier steelpans Starlift used were manufactured on-site at the Nigerian Army Band Corps Headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, by a Trinidadian sent
The enterprising Nigerian also wanted to see steelbands become the norm, not remain a novelty. So in addition to Xcel Steelband performing around the country, Sonnie Bowei began fostering interest in founding other steelbands. Panland - the umbrella organization for Xcel Steelband, and then the Xcel Steelpan Co., Ltd. - was officially commissioned in response to the need for instruments for Xcel and other fledgling steelbands. Located at km33 Badagry Express Way, Agbara, Lagos, on about one acre of land, Panland houses several facilities including a training school, a steeldrum factory and an electroplating plant for chroming steeldrums. It sports a performance area for Xcel, and boasts both a recording and production studio for the purposes of recording the steelband and producing steelband-related television programs, in addition to accommodation for students training as pannists or pan builders/tuners.
November 2006 saw the first really major initiative (in addition to Panland) of Sonnie Bowei come to fruition - Nigeria’s first secondary school national panorama where the Nigerian Navy Secondary school emerged victorious. Another school panorama is planned for November 2008 featuring eight schools. Today there are steelbands in several secondary schools and a few churches - all utilizing instruments manufactured at Panland, and with initial instruction by Sonnie Bowei.
The illustrious pan entrepreneur remains busy, dedicated to introducing steelband further afield in Nigeria. Sonnie Bowei/Panland is also focusing on organizing a steelband competition dubbed the “Forces Panorama” featuring the Nigerian military and paramilitary slated for August 2009. Another panorama involving 36 states and the federal capital in Nigeria is also being planned for 2010 during the Abuja national carnival. These undertakings are joint initiatives with various Nigerian government ministries. In January the Boweis received the news they were going to be honored. Among the many guests present for the occasion were the representative of Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo (who, back in 1977 was the military head of state responsible for bringing Starlift Steel Orchestra to Nigeria for FESTAC), the deputy governor, along with the Commissioner of Chieftaincy Affairs - both of Ogun State, numerous kings - all traditional rulers of Igbesa, Ilogbo, Ijanikin, and a host of other notables. Also on hand for the auspicious occasion were pan lovers, relatives, friends and community members. His Royal Majesty, Oba Isaac Gbadebo Agunbiekun, the Alagbara of Agbaraland crowned both Bowie Sonnie Bowei and his wife Ndudi Bowei. By Panonthenet Website: www.panonthenet.com Pan Podium summer 2008 33
l l l WHO’S WHO
WHO’S WHO ll l Having battled for a unique space to celebrate the traditions and creativity of the highest art forms out there, it’s an amazing feeling to see the UK Centre for Carnival Arts quite literally take shape before our very eyes. With the doors opening in early 2009 and a grand carnival spectacular in May 2009, the sector has a lot to be proud of.
Our mission is to raise the status of Carnival Arts and we have chosen to do this by taking the art form into the mainstream...
Paulanderson Executive Director UKCCA
Ten years ago virtually no one could have imagined that one of the most under funded and under valued art forms could spark cultural regeneration and renaissance. No one could have predicted how a world wide heritage of traditional creativity and celebration would galvanise multiple partners and bring together some of the most vibrant and diverse communities in the UK in a landmark £7.5 million state of the art building in Luton. Yes, we did say Luton, a widely accessible place with strong carnival traditions serving one of the most diverse audiences in the country but most importantly, the place where, on your behalf, we will position UK carnival arts and artists on a world wide stage. Our mission is to raise the status of Carnival Arts and we have chosen to do this by taking the art form into the mainstream - into education, into regeneration, into business, into archives into communities. This does not mean to sell out carnival, but simply to maximise the same benefits other art forms enjoy and have enjoyed for many years. To achieve recognition of carnival’s contribution we have told the many stories of our rich and culturally diverse carnival community and extracted how carnival can complement local and regional agenda’s contributing to: • Neighbourhood renewal /regeneration • Tourism Development • Arts in Education • Business Development • Community Cohesion The UKCCA has learnt to adapt to the
complex languages of funding regimes and bodies and present Carnival’s arts within each of these confidently, accurately and extremely professionally. I believe we have made strong and convincing arguments not just to uphold these agendas but also supporting the important developmental needs of our rich and vibrant sector by helping to raise carnival artist’s abilities to meet new challenges and opportunities. Helping Carnival to thrive and not just survive is so central to realising our vision for carnival arts. Getting a landmark dedicated building to this stage has required vast amounts of toil, sweat and tears and generous amounts of single mindedness and perhaps more importantly unwavering belief. As I look back after the last six years I am very encouraged by how far we’ve come, but I know as a sector there is still a long way to go. Carnival Arts must now take centre stage if it wants access to new opportunities like the Olympics and it must strengthen its ability to deliver across exciting new agendas. This is so central to our vision I have made it my role to bridge the divide between new opportunities and carnival arts and continue to work tirelessly to fight not just for our building needs but for carnival as a sector. We invite you to hear the Mas, see the music and feel the energy – its carnival coming down de road at a place near you... see you there. Paul Anderson Executive Director - UK Centre for Carnival Arts.
Find out more and join the UKCCA carnival community at > www.carnivalarts.org.uk 34
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l l l event profile
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southafrica > pan jazz project ≥
In March 2008, 45 musicians travelled to Cape Town, South Africa to give music performances as part of The South Africa Panjazz Project. This unique project brings together musicians from Portchester and Brookfield schools in Hampshire, UK, Portchester Panyard and Sounds of Steel, Art Asia, and four schools in the Western Cape, South Africa. Tutors from the UK set up music projects in 2007, including a panyard in the Western Cape, and the 2008 tour saw 100 singers, steel pan players and jazz musicians performing together at 12 venues in the Western Cape for the first time. Our South African partners
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come from a number of Townships, and professional South African musicians also performed with the project. The South Africa Panjazz Project comprises three music groups - an International steel orchestra, jazz orchestra, and the fusion of these genres – Panjazz. The project has been able to develop further, since Art Asia took a keen interest in late 2007. The support, enthusiasm and expertise of tabla maestro, Sanju Sahai, Sarod player, Dr Rajeeb Chakraborthy and Vinod Desai have added a vital ingredient to the project. Our Bollywood performances in the Southampton Mela festival are
testament to this new partnership. So what of the future? We hope to further develop our relationship with communities in the townships, and are looking to return to Cape Town in 2010 for the World Cup finals and then to the UK in 2012 for the Olympic games. Panjazz can bring International communities together through highquality music making, a powerful vehicle for change and community development. Look at our website: www.sapanjazz.org to find out more. By Pete Beadell
PORTCHESTER INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL 2008 ≥
Every year in July, Portchester Community School near Portsmouth hosts its International Arts Festival. Portchester is a Performing Arts College, home to Portchester Panyard and Sounds of Steel. Over 200 community members use Portchester for steel pan classes on a weekly basis throughout the year. The Arts Festival offers an opportunity for performances and workshops by our Junior, Secondary, Adult education and Community steel bands. As well as providing a pan centre for the local community, Portchester is also an outreach facility, employing pan tutors to work in schools throughout the region. Regular festival days
afford the opportunity for school steel bands to work and learn together. We have been really fortunate this year to host an 8-day visit by musicians from Graeme College, South Africa. Sixteen pan players from Graeme College worked with members of Portchester Panyard, Sounds of Steel and Shirelands Collegiate Academy in Birmingham giving 8 performances in 6 days, as part of the South Africa Panjazz Project. The final festival community concert on Friday 11 July, in front of a capacity audience of 700, saw performances by over 100 members of Portchester Panyard in 6 different pan groups. Sounds of Steel joined forces with
a 130 strong festival choir including the Graeme College group for a performance of “Shosholoza”, a real “tour de force”. The partnership with South Africa continues
to grow and there are now plans for a new partnership between Art Asia, Sounds of Steel and projects in India. By Pete Beadell
Pan Podium summer 2008 37
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event profile ll l for Warwickshire County Council. Pat Munroe, the main steel pan instructor for Leicestershire looked at the comments and feedback sheets from last year’s adjudicators and set her aims and goals this year within her teaching structure throughout the schools to reflect the responses, which included achieving more work from each individual player throughout each and every band, approaching new beats, adding different counter melodies and harmonies, teaching more complex pieces etc. Basically making them learn to play in a fashion which means they can leave Leicestershire and continue playing pan anywhere in the world without too much of a struggle.
School Pan Jam ‘08
Pan Jam 2008, Leicestershire’s 2nd all steel pan event took place this year at the Peepul Centre, Orchardson Avenue, Leicester on the 21st June. After last year’s overwhelming response they had to move it to a bigger venue, which they thought would be sufficient but was proved wrong, the limited capacity for the building was reached well before the start of the show. Pan Jam’s aim this year was to allow people to experience the true feeling of pan and the many wonders they had been deprived of. With steel pan being a new instrument, the audience was able to see pan played at all levels. Following on from last year, a panel of adjudicators were used to comment and give written feedback to all participating schools and colleges so the players would be able to address any areas
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that may need improvement. This year’s panel consisted of Debi Gardner, Secretary to the BAS and Economic Development and Enterprise Manager for the UK Centre for Carnival Arts, Toussaint Clarke, UK Global Pan Tuner/ Tutor/Musical Arranger/ Player Rainbows Steel Orchestra, Marcia Douglas, Youth Development Worker for Leicestershire/Part time Pan Instructor and Kallie Mattu, Player/Pan Instructor
Of course, a lot of pupils found it hard and challenging with her new style of tuition, but not as hard and challenging as she found it trying to achieve results in the short and demanding lesson times in which she had to deliver it. Pan is not just Pat’s work for a living, she eats, drinks and sleeps pan as a vocation, in which she gains a lot of knowledge and experience from travelling around the UK as well as beyond, visiting other schools, bands and pan Instructors, watching and learning different techniques, performing and taking part in competitions. All this has helped to enrich her teaching and initiate a start to bringing Leicestershire in line with the rest and best of the pan fraternity. This was seen at the BAS/FDF 9th
Pan Explosion in May 2008, where Pat organised and steered some players from Contrast Steel Band to a second place win. This was a great achievement for Contrast Steel Band as well as Leicestershire. Soloist, Kallie Mattu, who performed a medley of classical pieces using only one hand, opened the show. His impressive performance had the audience amazed. The night’s performances contained Leicestershire Arts Junior steel orchestra, a 25 piece band, who opened with Valerie by Amy Winehouse and A Message To You by the Specials, and Leicestershire Arts Senior steel orchestra, a 29 piece band, who closed the show and brought the house down with a celebration medley containing pieces like Holiday (Madonna), Happy Birthday (Stevie Wonder), Final Countdown (Europe), Walking On Sunshine by Aly and Aj, Get Down On It by Kool and the Gang, In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins and of course Celebration by Kool and the Gang. They chilled the audience back down with Kiss from a Rose by Seal. The audience was also treated to performances by seven junior/primary school bands playing renditions of traditional folk songs, pop, reggae, hymns and ballads in soca, reggae, calypso, ska and whatever style or fashion Pat thought fitted that band. All seven schools were joined together
for a 2-hour workshop in the afternoon to learn to play Don’t Stop by S Club 7 for the evening show, which had the audience and players jumping and clapping all the way through. During the interval the crowd was entertained by Contrast Steel Band, so the students and audience had a chance to see their instructors perform all genres of music giving them something to aspire to. The five senior schools/colleges who took part wowed the crowd with pieces from Jimmy Buffett, Bryon Otis, Robbie Williams, Akon, The Specials, Elvis, Sean Kingston, Enrique Iglesias, Harry Belafonte and TV theme tunes. They also had a 2-hour workshop to learn and perform Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley in the Ska beat. This also went down extremely well considering by the end of the workshop it did not sound like it was going anywhere else but in the bin. The majority of the performers in the show have no more than a 30-minute lesson once a week, some were seasoned performers, some completely new to the stage but all performers, tutors, panel, guests and audience thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and hope to make it a regular event. KEEP PAN LIVE! By Pat Munroe Pan Podium summer 2008 39
l l l special feature
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Sunrise Steelband and Hotpans (the “older” band from Hillerød Music School) had to extend their repertoire to fill the gap. Hotpans’ repertoire included advanced arrangements by Jit Samaroo, Ari Viitanen, Thomas Mehr, and Sune Borregaard. Their choreographed dancing, synchronised movements coupled with lots of smiles got the crowd even more excited.
The last band, Copenhagen Steelband, the oldest steelband in Denmark went on stage at 9 pm. They have been around since the mid-eighties and four of the original members are still playing in the band. This band performed a very varied and rather interesting repertoire ranging from soca hits like “Somebody” to more popish Matt Bianco tunes and A.C. Jobim. They had a wonderful engine room that apart from a sticky groove featured many great chases between congas and timbales. The show was billed to end precisely at 10:00 pm as per city rules but officials allowed it to continue for a short period owing to the vibrant audience participation and loud applause. Unfortunately, Copenhagen chose a rather lengthy one, and the concert was brought to
an end in the middle of the tune. Nevertheless, City officials were very happy with the festival and are already talking about next year’s event at the same venue. SteelpanDK welcomes the thought and sees it as the start of a great tradition in the Danish steelband community. This Festival was arranged instead of the Danish Panorama which has taken place in the last 3 years. Danish pan people including bands and organisers thought that a non competitive event would encourage further development of the artform through interaction, sharing and learning. The Festival proved this to be true ensuring that Danish steelbands development continues to evolve. by Sune Borregard related sites: www.steelpan.dk - website of the Danish Steelpan Association www.sunrisesteelband.dk www.hotpans.dk www.copenhagen-steelband.dk
Steelband Festival ‘08 A lot of Danish people are still unaware of the existence of the large steelband community in their capital area. Thus the reason why SteelpanDK arranged a mini steelband festival by the Copenhagen waterfront on the 3rd of August. The prevailing weather did not deter this year’s steelband festival at one of Copenhagen’s most preferred summer hang-outs, the waterfront at Islands Brygge. Sunrise Steelband from Hillerød Music School opened the show at 6 pm in high spirits. It only took them a few minutes to catch the audience’s 40
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full attention. Regardless of the fact that they are a school steelband consisting of relatively young kids they were able to set a high standard for the remaining bands to follow. The performance stage was quite remarkable. The stage was roofed by
the wooden hull of an old steamboat turned upside down and angled against the sunset over the city and the harbour. The sweet strains of steelband music attracted a fairly large crowd of happy people who danced on the dusty ground in front of the stage. One of the steelbands failed to turn up so Pan Podium summer 2008 41
l l l who’s who
who’s who ll l the carnival celebration with over 200 steel bands in Trinidad and Tobago has created some of the best steel pan musicians in the world. (Liam Teague, Ray Holman, Earl Rodney and Len, “Boogsie”, Sharpe, who is presently referred to as the Mozart of Pan). Jamal stated, “the steel pan is the only family of instruments that an ensemble can play a song in less than 30 minutes.”
Jamal ‘pacman’ glynn Jamal was born in the early 1970’s and his initial musical experience began with an array of soulful music and bright colours it being the kaleidoscope era. Both his parents had a great love for music, his mother would sing hymns whilst preparing their family meals and dad sang popular tunes by Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra; he was also known for his high quality whistling. Jamal remembers their house being filled with music every Saturday by the current hits of the period being played on their record player whilst his mother danced with him and his Christmas gifts always included a musical toy from his father. He recollects assisting his uncle in vanishing acoustic guitars, which he repaired. As the electricity supply was not very reliable around that time, blackouts were regular and his uncle, Wainwright, would play his guitar joined by the rest of the family in singing until 42
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the electricity returned or they fell asleep. Jamal found singing difficult whilst his sisters, Debra, Susan and Kath-Ann made the task look simple, singing songs played on the radio with great ease. His other uncles played the steel pan and as he could not sing Jamal thought he could play the tunes on tin pans. So he took some used juice tins (a variation of tins was used at the time) and tried to imitate the steel pan as was the norm with the young people of that era. His action enabled him to develop good wrist work needed to play the steel pan adequately. Jamal is left handed and at times finds that it proves helpful. At the age of twelve, he played for a
mother’s day concert at his secondary school, Curepe Junior Secondary. He played the steel pan accompanied by his music teacher, Earl Cannovan on piano. Jamal joined the school steel band and as his hunger grew, by 1984, he found himself in a senior band at the age of thirteen, his mother found the environment of drugs, gambling and late nights too dangerous for a young boy. The joyous music of the adults enthralled him. Jamal received lots of licks while developing his passion for steel for traveling to the senior band, “Curepe Scherzando”, as he lived in Morvant. He quickly decided to join “Solo Harmonites” who were nearer and at the time more advanced, having won four national panorama titles. Panorama being an integral aspect of
He became section leader in every band he went to as a result of his great love for teaching all aspects of the instrument whilst assisting others to develop highlighting patience as a key factor. Jamal went on to the St. Augustine Senior Secondary and joined their steelband who defeated the South East Port of Spain Secondary school steelband in the junior panorama competition (they previously won six times). St Augustine did recordings and also went on to win the junior festival and toured Europe. Players included the Layne Twins, Justin Thomas, Sherwin Bernard, Salman Cupid, Andre Busby, Terence Sealy and Brian Villafana. At the end of his secondary education at St, Augustine Senior Secondary Jamal traveled to London and joined the Ebony Steel Band Trust in 1991. He tutored at Ebony, Yardley Primary in Streatham and Ashburton High in East Croydon. In addition Jamal had performances for the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace and for disabled, geriatric and pediatric patients at hospitals throughout London. He is currently based in Trinidad and continues to enjoy a connection with Ebony being their contact for steel pan accessories, and guide/security for new players coming there for the annual National Panorama competition. In 2000, he enrolled at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus where he began to read for a Certificate in Music with pan being the main instrument. He completed this course in 2002 obtaining a B+ average and started reading for a BA, in Musical Arts that same year. Several
other great opportunities presented themselves in the likes of being student representative of the music department for two years and co-arranging with his friend and colleague, Damyon Alexander for St James Government Secondary steelband for junior panorama and achieving 7th place in 2004. His skills have greatly improved through the reading opportunity at the UWI festival steel ensemble where he was inducted from 2003 with annual auditions performed and the Festival Arts Chorale, where he has been a member since 2000; sitting on the cabinet as librarian for two years and public relation officer for one. He has toured and performed with the UWI festival steel ensemble, to the USA, Martinique and done premier performances with Ray Luck, a Guyanese pianist, and recordings of original compositions by Ray Holman. Jamal is currently tutoring pupils between the ages of six to sixteen at the Birdsong Academy. Birdsong was the first steel band on the UWI campus, St, Augustine. He is also a member of the Trinidad and Tobago National Steel Symphony Orchestra, being a cabinet member in charge of equipment. This group uses the new family of steel pan named the ‘G’ pans. Jamal joined Phase 11 Pan Groove steel orchestra in 1998 and has been section leader of the quadraphonic section. Phase 11 are National Panorama Champions for 1987, 1988, 2005, (2006 where Jamal was the drill master), 2008. In July 2008, Jamal was appointed vice captain of Phase 11 Pan Groove by Len Boogsie Sharpe. He sees Boogsie as his mentor and inspiration. This has proven to be a notable transition coming from a humble home and persevering at the art of pan playing traveling through the different eras of pan is for bad johns with no future in it to being a holder of a BA in Musical Arts, vice captain of a globally recognized steelband and a member of the Trinidad and Tobago
Jamal’s reason for doing music therapy is to share the dream he has to ease pain and sickness.
National Steel Symphony Orchestra. He is also a mentor to many young players and contemporaries. Jamal’s reason for doing music therapy is to share the dream he has to ease pain and sickness. There is no music therapy treatment being administered to patients in Trinidad. Playing in hospitals in England he experienced the smiles and joy the music brought to the patients. Jamal professes to be a good listener who allows colleagues to ‘blossom’ from their personal involvement. His high quality on technical approach has been noted by his lecturers. He has traveled extensively with different steel bands to global destinations including Japan, Germany, France and London. Great coordination skills have paid off as Jamal was put in charge of rehearsals, organizing uniforms and performances. Having been a security officer for three years afforded him the opportunity to interact with music lovers rather than music makers as well as visit grand houses, top hotels, banks and Piarco International air port where he obtained an aviation certificate. The need to become a musician instead of a player by rote directed him to the University of the West Indies. There his performances on the steel pans have improved tremendously. he stated, “I can now say with confidence that I hold a BA in Musical arts. I see the steel pan as being the healing musical instrument of the world and wants to be a practitioner of music therapy using the steel pan as the preferred instrument. Pan Podium summer 2008 43
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kids steelband Back in 1956 in rural Pepper Village, a small settlement near the town of Fyzabad in southern Trinidad, an 8-year-old youngster named Malaviya Maharajh commonly referred to as Mal, first showed interest in the steel pan instrument.
Mal came from a typically thinking family of East Indian descent, where non-traditional East Indian activities were frowned upon, and as the steelband was associated with the ‘bad john, drug using, gambling elements of the society at that time, he faced the disapproval of his peers. This ideology did not deter Mal at all, in fact over the following months his younger brother, Valamekhi
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also known as Mickey also showed interest in the steelpan, and proved to be even more proficient with the instrument. Mickey performed at local shows and talent contests, and always seem to be the limelight of any performances, stealing the show every time. Mickey settled in on the tenor pan, whilst Mal chose the play the more versatile double second pans. This transformation was relatively simple owing to
Mr Boisey Rouse and the Southern Syncopators Steel Band located next door to them and for whom their father, Kadar was the manager. Both brothers started appearing on the local Radio Trinidad talent contest, “Auntie Kay Radio Show”, where they competed with the likes of Jemma Noel, a trumpeter and the Twisting Tots, Wayne and Marva Arthur, two kids who twisted their way to every one’s hearts. Most of the time they placed first in the contest, and before long, their other two brothers, Anand, who played a home made high-hat/kickdrum setup, and Kushwant nicknamed, Kush, who opted for a single bass, joined in. Ranee, their only sister and the youngest, just couldn’t be left out, so she picked up the only thing she could lift, the maracas. This was the inception of the Maharajh Kids, and by 1959, these five kids were well on their way to becoming a household name in Trinidad. As time passed they joined the ‘Texaco Caravan’ travelling show hosted by Holly Betaudier, and this led to them headlining their own, “Cow & Gate presents the Maharajh Kids” show which gave them the opportunity to perform all over the island of Trinidad. They appeared on several radio and television shows including the “Satteen Session” on Radio Guardian, and a Hurricane Flora Relief Show on the Trinidad & Tobago Television (TTT). Columnist Brunell Jones of the Trinidad Guardian featured regular articles and reports on The Maharajh Kids’ progress in school, as well as their musical careers. During their Xmas school break in 1961, the Maharajh Kids steelband experienced their first “working” holiday in Barbados. They were also asked to visit Venezuela shortly after their tour of Barbados but the request did not come to fruition. Their schooling was always given priority and as a result any foreign appearances during school time were ruled out, this led to numerous offers being turned
down over the years. Probably two of their biggest opportunities were to appear on the Arthur Godfrey Show, the predecessor to the Ed Sullivan Show, and the Dinah Shore Show in the USA. But again, due to schooling these offers were never even considered by their father who valued the kids’ education above any fame. They became a regular act at local spots like the Penthouse Night Club, Hilton Hotel, Hotel Normandie, Bel-Air Hotel, Breton Hall Hotel, and Radio Trinidad’s, Sunday Serenade Show. They started appearing on shows with top local acts like the Lord Bryner, Ed and Angela Johnson, John Agitation, Vilma Ali, Mighty Zebra, Winston Beharry, the Lord Kitchener, and the Mighty Sparrow. When Johnny Nash appeared in Trinidad in 1961, the Maharajh Kids were one of the opening acts. In about 1963, a similar group called the Niles Kids came to light. They were sponsored by Klim Milk, but seemed to have dissolved just as fast as they had surfaced. By the mid to late 1960’s along came the Samaroo Jets. Just about that time (1966), the oldest Maharajh Kid, Mal, finished high school at Queen’s Royal College and left for Chicago to continue his studies. This marked the end of the Maharajh Kids as a musical group. One by one, the kids left the country for the same reason, and by 1969, they were all gone. The Maharajh clan now all live in Canada yet no two reside in the same city. Four of them are still involved in music, but it is only the youngest, Ranee, who continues with the steelpan, she runs her own local project training kids to play steel band music, ensuring that the culture is alive and evolving. Kush played bass guitar and drums in a group for a while in the ‘70’s, but is now content with just listening to music. Mal currently plays keyboards and guitar as a freelance musician whilst Anand is into keyboards and studio production. Mickey is an arranger and an established guitarist who played
Pan is evolving at such a rate that its global recognition and musical journey towards being an established instrument amongst the family of conventional instruments is truly well on its way...
for the Tropical Fever band based in Canada. However, their music activities have taken a part-time role owing to the demand of their professional careers. They just do not have as much time as they would really like to contribute to their in-bred love of playing music and entertaining others. The Maharajh Kids and parents withstood a lot of ridicule, harassment, and general demean for being involved in an art-form that at the time was not considered to be the thing to do for children of East Indian or any other ethnic background. In retrospect, the members of this pioneer kids group, their mother, and their now-deceased father all considered the “Maharajh Kids” experience a positive one. It’s exciting to see how attitudes towards the steel pan art form have changed, to the point where the “Pan” is evolving at such a rate that its global recognition and musical journey towards being an established instrument amongst the family of conventional instruments is truly well on its way and its future lies with its continuity by the youth of yesterday, today and tomorrow. By Malaviya and Ranee Maharajh Pan Podium summer 2008 45
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l l l entertainment review
A pick of the best
Bima continues to build on his musical offering to the world and presents this high quality recorded product. Simple and uncomplicated Spanish as well as American folk music influence within the body of work. Track 4, ‘Tarn’ is a good example of this. A great CD to own! Thirteen tracks of delightful music. I immediately added it to my library.
Nostalgic is the first word that comes to mind while listening to this CD. It is important not to forget in this digital era where everything is recorded and tweaked to the highest quality that a basic approach can sometimes be so refreshing. A three pan ensemble recorded with the original flavour that anyone who plays or has played the steel pan instrument will appreciate. Back to Basics is the message.
A selection of twelve musical tracks produced by two great musicians, Robbie Greenidge and Ralph Macdonald. Released through Antisia Records, the music is warm and romantic like the Caribbean itself. Well recorded, well executed, the combination of Macdonald’s percussive genius and Robert’s mesmerising expertise with the pan instrument can only result in a must have production. A great CD filled with good music and great musicianship. Another collector’s’ gem!
From the Heart
An all live collection of seven songs played by Skiffle Bunch from 1998 – 2001. The quality of the live recordings is questionable but the content and use for referencing musical greatness is invaluable. The seven tracks were arranged by Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe, Annise ‘Halfers’ Hadeed, Godwin Bowen, and Rachel Hayward.
The long awaited first offering from Johann, recorded in 2007 and aimed at the Xmas season. He successfully navigates through Caribbean versions of ‘I’ll be there for Xmas’ then to a lovely parang composition, ‘Ave O Maria Ave’ featuring the renowned Luces Brilliantes Parang Group. A successful project that leaves its audience eagerly awaiting more music from this young, gifted and talented musician.
Pan Tuner, Calypsonian, Musical Arranger, Composer, Singer cum all round musician, Michael ‘Bubbles’ Oliviere has released his long awaited CD. Eleven tracks of original music all composed by him. The lyrics of each track contain some important life messages with the first track being dedicated to the steelpan. This production certainly reveals Bubbles’s musical versatility and we now look forward too much more of his music.
TCL Skiffle Bunch
In the Rainforest
A Sweet Touch of Christmas
Michael ‘Bubbles’ Oliviere
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Unfinished Business/ Soon Come
SummerTyne steel pandango Sitting on the banks of the River Tyne in the North East of England, Newcastle and Gateshead are closely linked – by seven bridges – and have been dramatically transformed into a new vibrant, cultural and cosmopolitan destination. The Sage Gateshead is an international home for music and musical discovery, bringing about a widespread and long-term enrichment of the musical life of the North of England. Sage Gateshead inclusive approach enables all their performance, learning and participation programmes to be constantly inspired and supported by each other. Steel Pandango held on the 19th July 2008 was part of SummerTyne’s opening
weekend - 18th – 27th July 2008. A fantastic summer slice of the Caribbean on Tyneside featuring a plethora of the region’s steel bands performing in the open air of Performance Square. One of a huge programme of events and activities for the whole family to enjoy throughout the festival. Pan Dango featured Silver Intermediate Steel Band, Silver Advanced Steel Band, Newcastle All Stars, Tremors, Sunshine Panners, Steel Quake and Volcano. SummerTyne’s ten-day summer festival on NewcastleGateshead Quayside featured Sinéad O’Connor, k.d. lang, Martha Wainwright, the Neville Brothers, Allen Toussaint, Northern Sinfonia, Eve Selis, Brandi Carlile,
Mayra Andrade, Antonio Forcione, a VAMOS Latin Dance Party, Rogue’s Gallery – Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, Chanteys with special guests, Capoeira, steel pan and salsa workshops, an Americana weekend, exhibitions, film screenings, family activities, free outdoor stage and much more...plus a celebration of the building of an eighth bridge across the River Tyne by Australian artists, Bambuco. For more information about Sage Gateshead visit - www.thesagegateshead.org / 0191 443 4661 Thanks to Rachel Edwardson Photos by North News and Pictures
Pan Podium summer 2008 47
Carnival Village is already showing!
UK Pan Tuners Guild Become part of a global network, sharing good practices and developing workshops? Contact: 07973 697 507
Summer 2008 As we prepare for a formidable future, our venues open to a host of exciting events such as the hugely popular London Calypso Tent 2008, After Panorama Party, Talk Tent and Portobello Film Festival The Tabernacle
Powis Square, London W11 2AY T: 020 7221 9700
The Yaa Centre
1 Chippenham Mews, London W9 2AN T: 020 7286 1656
Pan Sticks FOR SALE contact: Felix Joseph
Programme publicity across London Book online from 7July info@ / www.
Tel:020 7474 7467 Mob: 07808 847 974
carnivalvillage.org.uk R E N O VAT I N G PROGRAMMING EVENTS!
Carnival Village Transformations 2008/09/10
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