New York -
What these three brothers young men have in common
is not only a love for music, but that their introduction to music was
via the steelpan. All three visited the studios of
When Steel Talks to
chat about their successes and their various musical paths.
Sean and Sherwin also have an enviable educational record at one of the
better known musical institutions in the United States - the two elder
brothers, Sean and Sheldon attended and graduated together from the
prestigious Berkeley College of Music, while Sheldon, the youngest
sibling, is already attending courses at the institution and will be
starting his college year at Berkley in 2006.
From left to right: Sherwin, Sean and Sheldon Thwaite
father was a member of Trinidad and Tobago's famed Pan Am North
Stars Steel Orchestra. With such a strong influence in pan, the
brothers reminisced fondly how they began 'playing pan', not on actual
steelpan instruments, but by tapping out rhythms and patterns on their
couch, with pencils serving as pan sticks.
Each one of
these talented young men are well known in the music world, and of
course in the area of, but not restricted to, the steelpan.
Sherwin, the eldest, currently arranges for DC Pan Jammers, and is also
a producer. He is also one of the original members of the
Basement Recordings musical project, which has brought the likes of
Khuent Rose, Sheldon Elcock, Freddie Harris, Kareem Thomspon and Iman
Pascall together. His initial commitment to this initiative was
challenged by his own schedule, but his talent had been recognized and
hailed as being one of the best and able to be included in the Basement
middle sibling, plays a mean double seconds and also leads his own steeldrum
ensemble in New Jersey called Pan United
takes the music of the steelpan to Bates College in Maine, and as a
Professor, will be heading the steeldrum initiative at the institution.
passion is drumming, but he also maintains his love and skills on the
steelpan. This year, for the 2005 New York panorama, he played
double seconds for the current, and five-time New York panorama champion, Pantonic Steel
Orchestra. He has also periodically enjoyed the responsibility of
dexterously holding down drumming responsibilities for the band
occasionally during the band's practice sessions as they prepared for
the annual competition. The young percussionist is aggressively
assured and deadly serious about what he has to do, and what the future
holds for him.
one might agree with him that 'fate' was with him when he recently came
into contact with Lauryn Hill while at the Virgin record store in
Berkley. Ms. Hill was interested in his work, and subsequently
Sheldon, and his brothers have vibed and shared some studio time with
this internationally and critically acclaimed, Grammy award winner.
whatever their schedules, this family of brothers stays, and plays
together. Even though they all play pan, it is Sean who takes up
the reins in that area when the Thwaites gig. Sheldon is on drums,
with Sherwin on piano, where his right hand does keyboard duty, and as
he puts it - his left hand "plays a pretty good bass [line]." "So
what people get when we perform, is kind of a four piece band, but with
what has contributed in part to Sherwin's additional forage into
producing, is that when the brothers play out, people find that they
"are really good" but that their appearances did not necessarily
generate more work; and desire for their performances peaked during
summer, but waned in other months. The eldest Thwaite has decided
to be responsible for at least part of the brothers'' musical and
professional destiny - and to produce their own material, and dictate
their own terms. Sherwin is adamant that wherever he goes, the
steelpan will be there.
talent, daring, professionalism and dedication, even the sky does not
appear to be a limit for these musicians.
C. Phillips, Basement
©2005 When Steel Talks - All Rights Reserved
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