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Steel Pan in Dominica

Date: 05.01.06

Exotica Cottages -
a Treat of a Retreat


Roseau, Dominica - It was serious business, brokering and bartering; and a fruit fair developed around the business of breakfast on the morning of the April 30 OECS Junior Steelpan Competition in Dominica.  With a determination born of people who were much accustomed to having their way, a spontaneous and dynamite, but furious fruit trade was in session.  Wheeling and dealing on the 'trading floor' were When Steel Talks, the junior steelpan competition adjudicators, one of Trinidad and Tobago's premiere pan soloists and the E-Zone team.

The scenery which compliments breakfast just outside Sugar Apple, where Exotica's guests feast

Citrus and mangoes were favored by one faction, while pineapple was in hot demand by another.  Bananas were generally kept by all, while watermelon was warmly welcomed elsewhere.  Shrewd fruit accumulation was the order of the morning for those who displayed the business acumen in bartering portions of fruit servings with several others, to obtain the most personally desired fruit plate for the breakfast binge.  These were eventually washed down by a variety of delightful homemade fruit juices - Tamarind, Cherry, Fruit Punch to name a few - from Exotica's culinary queen, Mrs. Fae Elwin-Martin.  These were just part of the delicious breakfast courses at Exotica Cottages, high up in the mountains above Roseau.

The mountain resort is a nature lover's paradise, and was home to When Steel Talks for their three-day stay in Dominica.  Singing birds, crisp mountain air, and a view of the sea in the distance greeted guests as they arose.  Each morning, Mrs. Elwin-Martin ensured that all her guests had nothing less than a fantastic and nutritious beginning to each day. 

On one of the mornings, the sound of a double second steelpan wafted down from the cottage just above where When Steel Talks was quartered.  It was Trinidad's Vanessa Headley softly and skillfully running through her practice session.

One morning, Vanessa Headley goes through her daily practice session at one of Exotica's cottages


Vanessa Headley performs as part of the demonstration during the panel discussion.  Also pictured, panelists and steelpan competition judges, Richard Pierre, (l) and Victor Prescod (r)

The seventeen-year old pannist was part of a group of panelists, who brainstormed on the current state, and challenges facing, the steelpan artform, on the evening of April 29 at the Garraway Hotel in Roseau.  Besides offering unique perspectives as a young woman determined to make the steelpan a major part of her life, Ms. Headley also performed during the event, demonstrating her dexterity and accomplished use of four sticks on her instruments.

Ocean view from Exotica

Suffice to say, that for those who were fortunate enough to have been housed at Exotica, the treat was multiple for the weekend - sweet pan, sumptuous fruit treats and breakfasts, solicitous hostess Mrs. Martin, sublime scenery, superb ocean view, and more.


2006 When Steel Talks - All Rights Reserved

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