Monday the 14th July 2007 saw the Engine Room Collective open the Carnival
Village’s summer events at the refurbished Tabernacle with their ‘Ladies Night’
featuring some of the UK’s young, gifted and aspiring female pannists backed by
the Engine Room Collective.
Shabaka Thompson, CEO of the Carnival Village gave an opening speech
highlighting its formation through the coming together of four partners - Ebony,
ABC, Mangrove and the Yaa Asante Waa Group based at two sites, the Tabernacle
and the Yaa Centre. He confirmed the Village’s plans to deliver a broad spectrum
of cultural activities to its surrounding communities as well as hosting family
functions like birthday, anniversary and wedding parties.
The Engine Room Collective has been hosting monthly music concerts featuring
some of the UK’s top pan musicians at the Inn on the Green, Portobello Green,
Notting Hill, London and also in Reading.
Doors opened at 7.00pm with the first performance at 8.00pm. Guests arriving
early were treated to sweet strains of steel pan music played by the very
talented Justin ‘Redz’ Richardson in the lobby.
The Engine Room Collective formed in 1998 specialises in backing the UK’s top
pan musicians. Capable of any style, the Collective aims to play with pan
musicians as often as possible. On the night , the Engine Room Collective
comprised of Curtis Ruiz on bass guitar, Felix Ruiz on keyboards, Chris Houston
on guitar, Ray Carless on sax, Bobby Stignac on percussion and Matthew Phillip
on drums. They accompanied Carlene Etienne – double tenor/vocals, Alicia Brown –
tenor/flute, Vanya Reid – tenor and Susannah McAuly – tenor.
It was truly ‘Ladies Night’ as these female pan musicians wowed the audience
with their awesome, energetic and inspiring display of musicianship. Their
musicality was truly outstanding. Each pannist played solos with Alicia blowing
sweet melodies on her flute accompanied at times by Ray Carless on sax and
Carlene, Engine Room’s First Lady of Pan, singing some catchy numbers whilst
playing her double tenors.
Carlene invited well known pan tuner, calypsonian, musical arranger, singer cum
all round musician Michael ‘Bubbles’ Olivierre, to join her on stage to sing,
‘Lady in Red’, and ‘Bubbles’ who has recently released his new album,
‘Unfinished Business/Soon Come’ entertained the audience to a heart felt
Among all the pan enthusiasts, honoured guests, musicians and members of the UK
Pan fraternity was veteran pan musician, Russ Henderson and renowned Trinidadian
bass guitarist, Douglas ‘Dougie’ Redon who both commented on the high level of
music they witnessed at the event.
Matthew Phillip, the driving force behind the Engine Room continues to provide
opportunities for young aspiring pan musicians. He has indicated that he has a
few more new initiatives lined up that are designed to get pan music more recognised and that his efforts will continue far into the future.
For more information on the Engine
Room Collective, visit