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BAS Pan Explosion 2005


Supporting the Making Poverty History Campaign.
Robbie Joseph

United Kingdom - What a night it was, filled with the sweet sounds of steelpan music. BAS sixth annual Pan Explosion competition staged at the Pyramids in Portsmouth this year on Saturday 5th November 2005 certainly brought the extra fireworks on ‘Guy Fawkes’ Night to Portsmouth on the English South Coast. The evening started with Loxford Pan Ultimate Steelband entertaining the audience as they drifted through the lobby of the banqueting suite towards the seating area. Pan Ultimate’s wide repertoire ensured that everyone listened to their favourite genre of music.

Pepe Francis, Chairman of BAS and MC on the night, introduced Earl Rodney – the grandfather of steelpan, who opened the evening with a varied selection ending with a rendition of ‘Fifty Million Frenchmen’ accompanied by master pan tuner, Dudley Dickson, on percussion. Judges on the night were Gerald Forsyth, Princess Rollock and Daniel Louis.

The fifth anniversary of the soloists competition requiring own compositions was kicked off by Carlene Etienne of Ebony on double tenor playing, ‘Ribbon in the Sky’. Carlene withdrew from the competition on a technicality. She was followed by Belinda ‘Stick Knickers’ Stevens of Croydon Steel Orchestra, the first female competitor to compete in this event since its inception, playing ‘Thursday’s My Hometown on tenor. Her performance earned her 4th place with 168 points. Justin ‘Redz’ Richardson representing Metronomes Steel Band was next on tenor with his composition, ‘Seasons’ which saw him capture 2nd place with 248 points. Following him was Delphina James of Ebony on double seconds with a truly exciting piece of music entitled ‘Rush’. Delphina’s performance saw her capture the coveted title of Pan Explosion Champion Soloist with 265 points. Dan Sadler, the final contestant from Sounds of Steel delivered a well structured composition, ‘Off the Top’ on double seconds that saw him capture third place with 246 points.

During the intermission, the Plymouth based Real Steel Orchestra led by their young and talented arranger, Leroy Clarke, delivered a varied selection which had the audience begging for more. The ensembles competition followed with Sounds of Steel Senior playing ‘Lazy Daze’ and ‘D Master’, very rhythmic deliveries which earned them 5th place with 442 points. Croydon Steel Orchestra’s young and adventurous players whose ages range between 14-18 performed next. Their renditions of ‘Pan Playground’ and ‘There must be an Angel’ arranged by David and Nic Wellecomme saw them attain 6th place with 362 points. Next up was Ebony, last year’s winners. Their renditions of ‘New Day’ and ‘Ordinary People’ arranged by Samuel Dubois, last year’s Pan Explosion Champion Soloist, saw them capture 2nd place with 510 points. Pantasia Steel Orchestra lit up the hall with their renditions of ‘Flying Away’ and ‘High Mas’ arranged by Chris Storey. They were the steelband fireworks on the night as their dynamic, rhythmic and melodic renditions saw them being crowned the Champions on the night with 530 points. Stardust with their very youthful ensemble with players ages ranging from 12 -21 played, ‘Thanks for Being You’ and ‘First Experience’ arranged by Miles Pascall. Their extremely confident and promising performance earned them 4th place with 484 points. The final band to perform was Sounds of Steel Junior playing ‘Samba Saudade’ and ‘Tobago Band’ arranged by Lindsay Jobling. Their renditions were well executed with good rhythmic flow allowing them to attain 3rd place with 491 points.

The evening was brought to a close with Sugar K of Unique FM pumping out some catchy numbers that had the crowd dancing. Supporters from some London bands formed a vibrant rhythm section keeping a wicked tempo going and only stopping during performances. This action certainly added to the flavour of the evening.

The British Association of Steelbands (BAS) is proud to have initiated and developed this competition encouraging younger players to compose, arrange and play musical pieces on the steelpan instrument thus ensuring the development of the artform in future generations. BAS looks forward to hosting and supporting yet another highly charged and competitive Pan Explosion in 2006 somewhere in the Midlands, revealing the innovative skills and talents of the many young pan musicians aspiring to explore the vast avenues of musicianship available to them.

Soloist Results

Ist Delphina James - 265 points

2nd Justin ‘Redz’ Richardson – 248 points

3rd Dan Sadler – 246 points

4th Belinda Stevens – 168 points

Ensembles Results

1st Pantasia - 530

2nd Ebony – 510

3rd Sounds of Steel Junior – 491

4th Stardust – 484

5th Sounds of Steel - 442


From The News Desk of  -  Robbie Joseph - 10-27-05 -- All Photos - R. Joseph

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