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Dominica Continues Its
Steelband Resurgence

Pan by The Bay
Raises Steelband Music

Roseau, Dominica - It has been less than six months since Dominica pulled off one of the best steelband events for 2006.  Last Spring Dominica served as the host for the 2006 OECS Junior Pan competition.  The competition received rave reviews and attracted participants from six nations within the eastern Caribbean region.

Cool Steel Orchestra at the Pan by The Bay/Independence Pan Festival

Undaunted, driven and focused, Dominica remains on course to having not only a major resurgence in steelband activities within the island, but also becoming a dominant force in the near future.

Similar to other islands of the Caribbean, Dominica has experienced a significant increase in the number of young people interested and participating in steelband music-related activities.  Incidentally the only thing hindering larger involvement is the securing of sufficient instruments and the need for additional instructors for all the interested students around the island, according to Athie Martin, one of the country's respected resident steelpan performers.

Enthusiastic crowd enjoys Pan by The Bay In front of the
 Royal Bank of Canada in Roseau

The successful hosting of and participation in the OECS competition demonstrated Dominica's talent, commitment and potential in becoming a major force in the global steelband music community.  The Pan On The Bay Festival is an annual event spearheaded under the initiative of the Dominica National Steel Pan Association, in collaboration with the National Cultural Council & the Division of Culture.  In step with the growing interest in steelband music in the country, this year's crowd attendance was said by the organizers to be the best since the inception of the festival.

Dominica's idealist setting, beautiful landscape, beaches, pristine rivers and waterfalls coupled with its steelbands, make it a potential stronghold for all steelband-related events.  No longer content to be a bit player, Dominica is developing its greatest natural resource - its youth.  As Pan by The Bay demonstrated through its rich and diverse musical influences, Dominica's steelpan music movement is unlike any other.

The National Cultural Council & the Division of Culture are committed to instituting a comprehensive 'pan in schools' program, and a significant community outreach initiative,  according to Dominica's chief cultural Officer, Raymond Lawrence.  Pan is considered a vital part of Dominican cultural activities.  Furthermore, the government implores its citizens to support Dominica's rich culture, and says that it is committed to investing in the cultural resources of the country because "it believes culture impacts values and choices."

Businesses such as Digicel line
Dame Eugenia Charles Boulevard in Roseau

Ms. Anna Raffoul, the current president of the Steelband Association would like to see all the businesses in Dominica that "profess to be committed to culture, education and social development" put their financial backing behind their slogans, and support the young people and communities through the steelbands.  Local businesses and other corporate entities have started to show signs of understanding the importance of music - through the steelbands - on education and youth development.  When these businesses become involved -  through the steelband initiatives - with the communities they serve, in addition to the tremendous benefits to the young people, that the businesses themselves stand to gain much by being associated with and supporting, these music organizations, is certain.  Indeed, it is unlikely that Dominican businesses would not seek to avail themselves of the public relations, advertising and direct marketing advantages that the steelband phenomenon has afforded other businesses in the region associated with steelbands.  Based on the number of high-profile corporations When Steel Talks saw in the financial and business sections of Roseau - no steelband should be void of major sponsorship.  The Steelbands of Dominica have made remarkable strides forward with little or no external help.  It is time for businesses and government to step up to the plate and deliver.



Related Articles

contact: Dominica Steelband Association | Anna Raffoul, President | email:  | tel: (767) 448 2622
contact: Chief Music Officer | Pearle Christian |email: | tel: (767) 449 - 1804
contact: National Cultural Council | Raymond Lawrence | email: | tel: (767) 449-1809
contact: Garraway Hotel email: | web: | tel: (767) 449-8800


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