New York, USA - New York steel orchestra fixtures CASYM and Steel Sensation came together to co-produce an event called “Homegrown.” As the title so aptly suggests the event highlighted, promoted, and supported homegrown talent which have come through the ranks of these two distinguished NY music organizations.
On this occasion, on display - the arranging prowess of the up-and-coming steel orchestra arrangers Lance Maximum for CASYM and Tristan Brewington-Japsi for Steel Sensation. In short, the mission was clear - a continued investment in their own homegrown talent, their organizations, their future and continuing growth of the of the art-form through youth.
The well-attended three-hour scheduled event did not disappoint. Both steel orchestras displayed their music prowess and talent with distinction. Furthermore, the arrangers showcased their ability to successfully navigate through a wide cross-section of musical genres.
CASYM Steel Orchestra performs at the Homegrown Concert
CASYM’s performing orchestra was made up of the next generation of CASYMites, with previous generations of CASYMites now in upper management producing all aspects of the show. In fact it was not too long ago these leaders were themselves the youth of CASYM. Indeed the legacy of CASYM continues to produce a productive windfall with outstanding rewards on their past investments—talent and resource-wise—in their future. The organization has always been and remains a clear-cut youth movement.
Steel Sensation performs at the Homegrown Concert
Steel Sensation provided a more mature look as seasoned young veterans performed in this larger-than- normal Steel Sensation line-up. The inclusion of some of New York’s finest panists among their ranks speaks volumes to the respect arranger Tristan Brewington-Japsi has established within the NY performing Pan community. No small accomplishment among the very discerning New York steelpan music musicians. Tristan has honed his skills and is now perched to take a position among many of the current group of elite young arrangers who are making their mark not only locally, but internationally. Steel Sensation remains a stellar performing arts organization that requires a demanding music performance skill set from the advanced panists.
The event was held at the Brooklyn Commons facility located on Flatbush Avenue, in the Prospect-Lefferts Garden section of Brooklyn. With a 6:00 p.m. advertised start time, the events space area filled quickly to capacity. With two orchestras set up simultaneously, along with tables and chairs, the spacing was a tight fit - but accommodating.
Attending the Homegrown Concert
The enthusiast, supportive and formally-dressed audience arrived en masse and on time. It was an impressive turnout for a Sunday evening affair in late November. So much so that had more people turned out there would have been a space issue. Among the attendees was NY steelpan music icons - Hueloy Yip Young, Clyde Durant, Harold Sammy and Harold Nelson. Additionally present were distinguished pan fraternity members lending support - Odie Franklin, Khuent Rose, Kendall Williams, Marc Brooks and Kern Simon among many others. Not enough acknowledgement is given to the veteran pan supporting stalwarts who are always present at pan events. But on this night the MC Keith Marcelle took time to pay homage to these relentless Pan devotees and advocates.
New York steelpan music icons in attendance at the Homegrown Concert
The show ended on an extremely energetic note, as both orchestras performed a piece that highlighted the improvisational skills of New York steelpan musicians.
Both orchestras were professionally attired. Steel Sensation dressed in all black and CASYM chose black and blue. Both orchestras have a long, excellent history of providing professional performance experiences for their members.
However on the flipside, the show did begin much later than the advertised 6:00 p.m. start and that was a bummer. Sonically, the room was far from an ideal listening space for a Pan performance. The highly-reflective walls caused the room the saturate rather quickly. There was a need for a firm commitment to playing softly in order to combat and reduce the imperfections of the room. Neither orchestra was successful on this front. They were simply too loud.
Managers Travis Roberts and Ian Japsi of CASYM and Steel Sensation, respectively, must be complimented for their entrepreneurial spirit and progressive approach to providing a production that addresses some of the core issues regarding performing opportunities for the NY steel orchestras.
Can’t wait for the next “Homegrown” event.
Contact CASYM at: (718) 503-2911
Contact Steel Sensation at: (718) 809-8288
Djoser C. Dillon
Snarky Puppy -- ‘Like a Light’ - featuring a solo by Lance Maximin and three other CASYM members -- Shaday Williams, Tyler Cohen and Siboney Hector.
Reggae mix -- Bitty McLean - ‘Walk Away from Love’ - Beres Hammond - ‘They Gonna Talk’ Chronixx - ‘Smile Jamaica’
Lauryn Hill -- ‘Killing Me Softly’
Marvin Gaye -- ‘What’s Going On?’
Machel Montano -- ‘Fast Wine’
Peter Ram -- ‘Good Morning’ - arranged by Lance Maximin
Lance Maximin - Bio
At age 7 Lance Maximin joined CASYM Steel Orchestra. As a youth he developed a love for the steelpan and for the band itself. As time progressed Lance challenged himself to get better and better with every scale, song, performance - just about anything musically-related.
Through the guidance of his teachers Travis Roberts, Curtis Lynch, Joalene Griff, Michelle Williams and Sherlanda Willie, he gradually made his mark as a talented player, performer, soloist and arranger. From there Lance was given the opportunity to arrange and even become CASYM’s Musical Director.
Lance challenges himself and his band members to become better players and performers with every song he arranges. He hopes to take his talents even further with CASYM and follow Mr. William Jones’ dream and footsteps into leading the band in an even greater direction.
CASYM Steel Orchestra
Steel Sensation Players....
Ian Japsi - Drums
Noah Smit – Congas
Ave María - Schubert (Jorge Aragao) Rockabye - Sean Paul
Parang Medley - Traditional Parang
They’re Gonna Talk - Beres Hammond
Anda Parrandero - Los Toccodares
Tristan Brewington-Japsi is 22 years of age and currently arranges music for Steel Sensation. He also plays tenor with Samaroo Jets and Supernovas Steel Orchestra. Tristan has worked with ADLIB Steel Orchestra from 2014 through 2016. He arranged all of Steel Sensation’s music for the 2017 Homegrown concert.
Over the years he has worked on stageside music and also co-arranged with Amrit Samaroo for the New York Panorama. Tristan is getting set to travel to Trinidad & Tobago where he arrangers for Supernovas Junior Steel Orchestra.
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