Trinidad, W.I. - Moving Up is not merely the name of his premiere
CD but also a reflection of the journey taken by ace pannist Dereck
“Chiney” Ayum on steel drums. The album cover displays
“Chiney” standing on the deck of the Costa Fortuna Cruise Ship where
he has been a featured pan soloist for a number of years.
Other cruise lines he has traveled and performed on include the
Costa Atlantica, Cunard, Premier, Commodore as well as Showboat
Entertainment among others – which took him across five continents.
Dereck was responding to questions on his
showcasing of the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago on WACK
Radio 90.1FM on Sunday with DJ Heshimu and Hollis Clifton – Pan
Diaspora Visionary. The feature can be heard on the last Sunday of
each month within “Pan in Yuh Pwefen.”
itinerary has allowed him to display his panmanship in far off
places like Gibraltar, Malta, Russia, Tunisia, France, Spain, Peru,
Australia, Japan, Papau Nugini and Italy among others. Mr.
Ayum (pictured at right in red, with programme
hosts Hollis Clifton & DJ Heshimu) has played alongside such greats as Ken “Professor” Philmore –
the most influential person in his career, Andy Narrell and Len
This cultural ambassador has come a long way since
playing African drums with the Arawak Dance Company, and capturing
the first prize
on Auntie Kay’s Twelve and Under TV show. The first band he ever
played with, however, was Shades in Steel (traditional category). He
recalls a stint with Renegades and even the National Steel
Ayum’s first trip overseas, nonetheless, was in 1990
with Fonclaire Steel Orchestra. He remains grateful to Hal ‘Roy’
Greaves who impacted on his life quite early in his childhood. Chiney recalls playing in Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel alongside the
likes of Brian ‘Bean’ Griffith and Marilyn Williams, and at Peru’s Millennium
Hotel in the presence of manager Paula Atherley. He reminisces on his
biggest paycheck at the prestigious Phoenix Seagaia Ocean Dome in
Japan – the most memorable performance to date.
Throughout the interview the phone lines were
busy with callers from all across the globe congratulating the
guest. These included Nigel Williams, New York-based Anna Belfon who
formerly played with Fonclaire and Silvertones, and who admitted having
to run back home so that she could contribute to the programme. This
prompted Milka of Maloney in Trinidad – Anna’s friend – to have her say as well.
Then there was Judith calling from Toronto who shared that Chiney’s reference to his performance with Fonclaire in Toronto at
the Du Maurier Jazz Festival brought back a whole lot of memories in
which Trinis ‘made mas’ on the occasion. Tony Farrell, an ardent
Fonclaire supporter also expressed his gratitude to Dereck.
The icing on the cake, however, came from Mrs.
Ayum, Dereck’s mom who recalled that since he was very young, he was
‘beating’ everything in sight, including the table - so graduating from
the African drums to the steelpan was an eventual progression which
landed him a prize trip to Disney World. Finally, Michael
Charles - apart from congratulating Dereck on
taking the pan overseas - expressed his view that panorama should no
longer be a competition (as he thought it destructive to the art
form), but rather a
show in which bands simply make presentations annually.
Pan Diaspora Visionary
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