Celebration of Women and the Steelpan Art Form

 

Tribute To Women In Pan

 

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Meet Aviel John - Brooklyn, New York

“I believe Panorama is a blessing because we all come out for one thing and that’s to give our all and to show people what we are about. A lot of people put their all into the summer late night practices, sweat and tears just to be on that stage. Even if the results are not what you wanted it to be it, we are all here to enjoy the music and play our hearts out.”

She is a bassist with a ‘feather’ touch. A natural. In an exclusive interview with When Steel Talks - panist Aviel John shares her reflections, experiences and views on Pan, and the steelpan art form overall.

A When Steel Talks Exclusive

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WST - “Tell us about Aviel John?”

Aviel J. - “I am 17 years old, born in Brooklyn and I play 6 bass. I been playing pan since 2011 but my first Panorama was 2012 with Pantonic Steel Orchestra.”


WST - “When and how did you first become aware of the steelpan instrument?”

Aviel J. “At the age of 13, my first time touching a pan was in a program at Winthrop. I was introduced to a tenor pan but that wasn’t what I really wanted to play. The following year I decided to play for a band and wanted to play something different and that is when I chose to play bass.”


WST - “What keeps your passion for the instrument and music going?”

Aviel J. - “What keeps me going is just the interest and love I have for music overall. Playing pan is an enjoyment for me and it keeps me in a good mood.”


WST - “What does your family think about your involvement in Pan?”

Aviel J. - “They think that it is a good opportunity for me to be a part of. Knowing that they didn’t have the chance to play for themselves, they made sure my sister and I were a part of it and always supported me at any events.”


WST - “What is the greatest challenge facing this current generation of steelpan musicians in Pan?”

Aviel J. - “I must say finding a place to practice, especially in the summer time.”

Aviel John on six bass
Aviel John on six bass

WST - “Describe your most memorable steelpan musical experience?”

Aviel J. - “My most memorable steel pan experience would have to be 2015 panorama. To me it wasn’t like any of the other panoramas. It was a chance for me, and my band mates as well, to free ourselves like we never did before. Even the practices, I don’t know why - but it will be a summer I will never forget.”


WST - “What have you been most proud about as it relates to Pan?”

Aviel J. - “To see the younger people as myself doing their own arrangements.”


WST - “What disappoints you the most in the steelpan movement?”

Aviel J. - “To me I will say the support system. I feel like although we play with different bands, that shouldn’t separate us from being one foundation. We should all support each other in everything to see each other grow.”


WST - “If you had the power to change something in Pan immediately what would that be?”

Aviel J. - “For there to be more unity in the community and to support all.”


WST - “What is Panorama to you?”

Aviel J. - “Panorama to me is a competition among all the bands to see what the arrangers could bring forward, which I think pushes the arrangers and the players to do their best. It’s the best time of the summer.”


WST - “Is Panorama a curse or blessing from your perspective? ”

Aviel J. - “I believe Panorama is a blessing because we all come out for one thing, and that’s to give our all and to show people what we are about. A lot of people put their all through the summer late night practices, sweat and tears just to be on that stage. Even if the results are not what you wanted it to be it, we are all here to enjoy the music and play our hearts out.”

Aviel John on six bass
Aviel John

WST - “What type of music do you listen to outside of Pan?”

Aviel J. - “Rap, soca and reggae.”


WST - “What is your vision for the steelpan instrument?”

Aviel J. - “For it to be more common all over.”



 
Aviel John performing with Pantonic Steel Orchestra





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