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Yohan Popwell
Arranger
Sforzata Steel Orchestra
2005 T&T Panorama Season
 


 

Date: 2.04.05

The Finals of the National Steelband Music Panorama come off at the Queen's Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, on the evening of Saturday 5, February, 2005. The arrangers and musicians of the steel orchestras in both the medium and large band categories have been hard at work since the semi finals phase of the competition was completed just under two weeks ago. Eight bands out of fourteen in each section made it to the Finals, and as a result Sforzata Steel Orchestra is one of those who will be appearing under the bright lights this Saturday.

Competing in the medium category, Sforzata seems to have laid claim to the number one spot in more ways than one. The steel orchestra led the pack in both the preliminaries and semi-finals, and now, they are also playing in the number one spot, ahead of their other seven challengers for the 2005 championship title. When Steel Talks managed to catch up with Yohan Popwell, arranger for Sforzata Steel Orchestra, and the driving force behind the band's first class performances thus far for the 2005 pan season.

Popwell shared his thoughts on drawing the number one slot to perform in, and also spoke about the enjoyment of the musicians as they went through their paces while executing Winston Bailey's, aka the Mighty Shadow, 1994 smash "Dingolay." "The players are singing along, by now they know the whole tune," said Popwell, adding that everyone was having "fun" which he deemed a key component in the success of the band so far.

The versatile arranger would already be known to the global steelpan community as the arranger who brought the 2005 New York Panorama championship title to Sonatas Steel Orchestra. The band had not won a New York Panorama championship title in more than twelve years.

Popwell is of course seeking to continue his winning ways at the "Big Yard" at the helm of Sforzata come finals night. In addition to his responsibilities to Sforzata, he remains a key for figure at the legendary Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra, who are themselves seeking to return to the number one position in the large band category. Popwell's colleague, Leon "Smooth" Edwards is arranger for Trinidad All Stars, and Yohan Popwell has been his "right hand" for a number of years.

For 2005, Popwell is also arranging a few road tunes for Trinidad All Stars, to ensure the band has a captivating repertoire for their supporters and revelers alike on the road for Carnival Monday and Tuesday in Trinidad, February 7 and 8, respectively. But shortly before that time, for the National Panorama competition on Saturday, all eyes, and definitely ears, will be trained on Sforzata as they attempt to secure the championship title from seven other steel orchestras in the medium category of the National Panorama Finals in Trinidad and Tobago.

When Steel Talks    

C. Phillips, Basement Press Corp.
2005 When Steel Talks - All Rights Reserved

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