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Pantasia dominates the BASFDF Pan Explosion Competition 2009

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In Pictures

By Robbie Joseph – Pan Podium

Ebony Protegez

United Kingdom - On a bright and warm summer’s evening on Saturday May 30th the premises of the UKCCA in Luton was filled with the sweet strains of steelband music emitted from the seven steelbands dotted around their grounds running their last practice sessions before entering the spacious auditorium to perform in front of a capacity audience. 
Joel ‘Tubbs’ Hamilton –Mills, the event’s MC reminded the audience of the concept of the event i.e. initiated by the British Association of Steelbands to encourage young people to compose, arrange and play musical pieces on the steelpan and how it has progressed from its humble beginnings in the Tabernacle, Powis Square, London from 1999 to date.   

Rachel Rankin

The event started with Rachel Rankin nee Haywood playing four musical pieces, Prelude in C Minor by Bach, All at Once by Whitney Houston, Carillon by Herbie Flowers and Carnival is for Woman by Ray Holman.   Her performance confirmed the fact of the steelpan’s versatility with all genres of music. 

The twenty five and Under Ensembles competition followed with Pantasia being victorious with 531.5 points followed by the Ebony Protegez in second place with 482 points. The Dubois sisters continue to work their musical magic with their young band of pannists. Delphina ‘Panness’ James, former Chair of BASFDF gave the following feedback on Pantasia’s performance, ‘Pantasia’s own composition was nicely controlled and rehearsed. Great structure with nice chord voicings. I enjoyed listening to their tune of choice which an old tune was played by today’s youth. This is definitely a band to be reckoned with in future years.’  

The UKCCA Revellers, their resident steelband led by Ian Beckles performed as the guest band after the intermission with Richard Alvin Gittens visiting from Trinidad playing lead soloist on the tenor. Their solid performance left the audience thirsting for more of their fine music. They were followed by Shakka who sang and played the keyboards providing an added feature to the Pan Explosion programme.  BAS Chairman, Pepe Francis, made a short speech commending the BASFDF on how much they have achieved since their inception. 



The 26 and over Ensembles competition followed with Pantasia and Ebony jointly capturing first place with 522 points. In third place was Eclipse led by Mark ‘Tyson’ Williams with 495 points. Real Steel from Plymouth attained fourth position with 472 points and this was their first appearance in this competition.  Harlow who was a guest band last year also competed for the first time in this competition with all their players being under 25 except for their arranger, Samuel Dubois, a former Pan Explosion Champion. They were awarded fifth place with 433 points.   Judges on the night were Debbie Romain, Rachel Rankin and Richard Gittens with BAS Secretary, Debi Gardner, as the Adjudicator.


The event’s musicality was of a very high standard with players showing their enhanced dexterity with the steelpan instrument. As in all similar events the winner on the night was steelband music as everyone in attendance was treated to a wealth of it on the night.  After the event Pan Podium spoke to a number of people and Lizzie from Newcastle who played with the Caribbean Steel International Orchestra (CSI) at the 2008 Notting Hill Panorama commented, ‘I think Pan Explosion provides a brilliant opportunity for young players to showcase their deft skills to a live audience. BAS has provided the perfect platform for young pannists to gain and enhance their confidence when playing to large live audiences’.   
The evening drew to a close with all in attendance wondering when was the next Pan explosion and where will it be held as the UKCCA venue was an ideal one for this sort of event.  Hats off to the BASFDF and BAS for yet another successful event. 
 Please visit the following links to view the BASFDF 10th Pan Explosion photo gallery and videos-


Ensembles – (25 and under)

1st - Pantasia – 531.5 points
2nd - Ebony Protegez - 482 points
Ensembles – (26 and over)

1st – Ebony and Pantasia – 522 points
3rd – Eclipse – 495 points
4th - Real Steel – 472 points
5th – Harlow – 433 points

By Robbie Joseph – Pan Podium
Contact Robbie at - www.panpodium.com - at WST Ning profile click here

In Pictures


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