New York - Unless you are fortunate enough to
possess tickets for the 2008 Olympics being held in
Beijing, China, one of the best deals for the exchange
of cultural and artistic performances over the next few
weekends, is taking place in New York City. The
popular annual New York steel orchestras’ pan yard
launches have begun in earnest.
This past Sunday Pantonic Steel Orchestra held their 2008 launch at
their Brooklyn summer practice facilities. Pantonic’s panyard was filled with steelpan
music fans as
they traveled from throughout the New York
tri-state area to get their heavy dose of Sunday evening pan
music. It was labeled the 11th Anniversary Family
Day Celebration and featured performances by Crossfire, CASYM, D’Radoes, Harmony and Pantonic Steel Orchestras,
In addition to the many steelpan music enthusiasts,
(and more importantly) - members of every steel orchestra
in New York had some type of representation. The spirit of support and
camaraderie among the young steelpan is very
For the past three weekends steelband launches have been
promulgating steelpan music fever on the Big Apple
landscape as the New York steelbands major franchises
have officially opened the 2008 season. With
Harmony Steel Orchestra and D’Radoes Steel Orchestra
having already held their successful launches,
Pantonic’s launch was another vibrant community cultural
weekly expose that we can expect from now until the
August 30 New
York steelband music panorama competition at Summer’s
unofficial ending on Labor Day
weekend. The Labor Day weekend will culminate with
carnival festivities that will attract over three million
The Pantonic band launch featured five steel orchestras
which will be
participating in the season-ending competition.
Each group gave the audience a detailed and varied
musical repertoire that showcased the organizations’
versatility and crowd appeal. From the crowd reaction, the fans were very
pleased with the performances. Despite the late start due
to the earlier stormy weather, folks came out.
Orchestra opened the show with an interesting set that
took the audience from Destra to Chaka Khan.
Harmony, coming off a recent spring performance at
Carnegie Hall, continues to expand its repertoire and
were followed by Crossfire Steel Orchestra who presented
a very musically sophisticated set.
performance was the most intriguing of the night.
What Crossfire lacked in size, they made
up for in musicianship.
by musician stand-out Khuent Rose and Kadeem Alleyne
captured the fancy of the crowd.
Their talent is awesome.
Indeed it was the arrangements
and performance of Crossfire
particularly noteworthy. Their deep-thinking,
non-traditional rhythms, patterns and harmonies did not go unnoticed by the audience, as
it quietened down on their own to hear
Crossfire’s music. The
group’s repertoire ranged from Boogsie’s
“Musical Vengeance” to Sade’s “Sweetest Taboo.”
Orchestra followed next with a high-energy performance that covered their standard hits and then the more
current hits of today. No one put on a more visual display
than CASYM. The band is currently celebrating their
25th anniversary. From “Mo’ Wuk”
to “Why do Fools Fall in Love,” CASYM put out an
array of music that showcased why they are one of
New York’s most versatile and in-demand orchestras.
Next up was the veteran D’Radoes. Performing with
that signature Desperadoes voice and music approach, D’Radoes delivered a laid back but
classic and effective set that
took the attendees from Earth Wind
and Fire’s “Fantasy” to Abba’s “Dancing Queen.” The sound of this
Desperadoes offshoot was classic.
As one patron in
the crowd screamed “yuh hear music?” Unabashedly playing steelpan instruments that
prominently displayed the Desperadoes name and
connection between the D’Radoes musicians and the
legendary steel orchestra from Trinidad and Tobago - it
was certain that a special love affair between the group and the
Closing the night’s event were hosts Pantonic.
The New York favorite ran through its set of timeless classics
which included Maestro’s/Bunji Garlin’s “Fiery” sprinkled with this year’s hits like
Zan’s “On De Road.” It was a
special night for Pantonic Steel Orchestra as they
were able to attracted a wide and varied audience, and
continued their special knack for pleasing the young and
This was the 11th family day function for the group.
New York continues to be the home of the largest
steelband community outside of Trinidad and Tobago, the
birth place of the steelband instrument. The
lively competition between the local steel orchestras
sprinkled throughout the city has resulted in some
of the finest music performances and arrangements for
the instrument ever. The steelband launches of New
York are still some of the best cultural exposés in the
Steelband Music Calendar for dates and
locations of the upcoming launches and events.
Contact Pantonic Steel Orchestras at :email
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