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Utopia Pan Soul: the Next Generation
Delivers a Great Day for Steelpan

Entrepreneurship, development, steelpan music and culture

New York - Utopia Pan Soul: the Next Generation again hosted another classy affair that provided participants  an intimate, special and unique steelpan music experience.  Moreover, Utopia Pan Soul continues to highlight the understanding and reality that there are much greater things and opportunities available for steelpan performing organizations, beyond the warrior throngs of panorama competitions.  Don’t get us wrong - we love panorama, but there is life outside of panorama.

A steady, continuous stream of tasty cuisine connoisseurs, and lovers and critics of great steelpan music visited the East Flatbush, Brooklyn enclave where Utopia Pan Soul set up camp for their famous annual BBQ.  This annual Summer event has become a main stay among New York steelpan music-related events.  It is just simply a matter of time before the New York tourist board lists this highly recommended event as a ‘must visit’ if you are in the New York city area.

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This Utopia Pan Soul occurrence was more than just a mid-summer hang-out.  It was foremost a live working exercise in how professionalism, co-operation and vision can lead to a successful operation. The multifaceted event encompassed  entrepreneurship, public relations, promotion, performance, fund raising, networking, and recording and video production among other characteristics.  Indeed, Utopia had the foresight to promote the event as a recording session for their upcoming CD and DVD, a fabulous musical freebie for those who came by for the fine barbeque fare.

Anchored by notable steelpan veterans, Marlon “Goose” Guerra, Curt Rogers, Sheldon Elcock and Ian Gomez - Utopia Pan Soul has quietly become one of the most intriguing and musically gifted music organizations in the country.  Surrounded with rising young stars like Iman Pascall, Jelani Fernandez, Omari Contaste, Marlon Constantine, Yolande Richardson and Denishia Mitchell - Utopia put on an exceptional open-air  show for the audience.  The musicianship of the Utopia artists was impeccable.  They caressed, stroked and coaxed fabulous tones and colors from their instruments.  It is not a mistake that all the Utopia musicians have a deep understanding of the subtleties of music, and approach their instruments with incredible sensitivity and a feathery touch.

Iman Pascall (steelpan standout) added to her already formidable music rsum by anchoring Utopia Pan Soul’s formidable rhythm section on drums.   Shafeeq Muhammad, Kerry Maynard and Roger rounded out the section with special guest Isabel Walker.  One of the highlights of the evening was an original composition written by Iman Pascall called ‘Inspiration,’ for which she temporarily exchanged the drumsticks for her pan sticks.  The multitalented Jelani also showed his arranging capacity  with ‘Firey’ and ‘Whole Day.’

Utopia has successfully identified and honed that delicate blend and balance in investing in their future as a band, while simultaneously developing the talent of the youth. The prudence in providing a professional and nurturing environment for the growth of their youthful talents has paid off big dividends.  Make no mistake - Utopia possesses some of the world’s finest young music talent.

The audience was serenaded with Sheldon Elcock’s arrangements that encompassed classics like George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ and recent steelband hits such as Len “Boogsie” Sharpe’s ‘Vengeance,’ which clearly struck a special chord with those present.  ‘Last Hoorah,’ one of Elcock’s originals, will surely be a favorite when their CD is released.

The ever-changing (as people came and went between sets) but small setting was the stage for an intimate connection and closeness not always experienced among performing steelband artists.  Indeed it was like being at the world-famous Blue Note and reveling in the discovery of the next great act.  The added presence of the Basement Recordings crew capturing Utopia’s performance brought a rare flavor and seriousness to the setting and performances.  While the music lovers enjoyed both fine musical and culinary fare, some made sure that they took away ‘dessert’ when they selected from the variety of, and purchased, Utopia Pan Soul T-Shirts that were on sale for fans.

All the Utopia Pan Soul personnel could be seen actively wearing many different hats throughout the day into evening - which included anything from cook to bottle washer - indeed, undertaking whatever was needed to make the event a success.  Utopia continues to display a keen sense for thinking ‘outside the box’ for progressive solutions to achieving their goals.  Kudos to Utopia Pan Soul: the Next Generation for creating an attractive, professional, conscionable and acceptable development package that facilitates progress, creativity and growth for performing arts steelband organizations to study and emulate.

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Contact Utopia Pan Soul: the Next Generation - Sheldon Elcock: 1 (917) 862-6974 | email: panserious@yahoo.com

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