‘Terrorist Steelband’ sets up Community Group Steelband

WST World News Division


Chris Cox on four pan

United Kingdom - CSI and it does not relate to the well known Crime Scene Investigators television series. It however refers to the Caribbean Steel International steel band originally formed in 2004 with three members, Brent Holder, Michael ‘Chato’ Toussaint and Jason Constantine. After obtaining invaluable experience from working with some of the top steel bands in the UK, Trinidad and Japan, they made a conscientious decision to form a gigging band to fulfill the growing demand for 3 or 4 piece steel bands.

CSI performed at EMMAS Festival in Olbia, Sardinia. The Caribbean Steel International Orchestra was invited to perform at the Ethnic Meeting of Music and Arts (EMMAS) in Olbia, Sardinia during the weekend of the 29th- 31st December 2006. 2006 marked the 17th anniversary of EMMAS with CSI being the first steel band to appear at this world music forum. Artistes from USA, Brazil, London, Italy, Croatia, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, Romania, France, Portugal, Senegal, Spain and Bulgaria have performed at this festival. The cultural diversity was unified by the common denominator, music. When the Festival started in 1989 it was dedicated to jazz but this changed in 1995 when all genres of music were included.

After performing at the EMMAS festival in Sardinia in December 2006 they were evicted from their return Ryanair flight by the pilot who thought they were potential ‘terrorists’ after receiving some unfounded reports. Click on the links below to read the full story.

A short while after the ‘terrorist’ incident and after ensuring that their small steel band was well established on the gigging circuit CSI founding members decided to start a community group that would involve their local communities in the steel pan art form. A substantial amount of time and effort was invested before Caribbean Steel International (CSI) opened a community group steel band in the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London to promote the steelpan artform, aimed at giving the public the opportunity of learning about, and how to play the steel pan instrument.

CSICG (CSI Community Group) celebrated their formation with a band launch at the Ravenscourt Theatre, their panyard, on the 30th May 2008 and appeared for the first time at the British Association of Steelbands’ Pan Explosion ensembles competition on the 31st May 2008 and captured second place. Now that their community group steelband is established, their 2008 summer project will include around 200+ people getting involved in the Notting Hill Carnival and the National ‘Champions of Steel’ Competition in August 2008. The project involves workshops in playing the steel pans, rehearsals for the competition and performing upbeat tunes on the steel pans on colourful floats for both carnival Sunday and Monday - enjoying the spirit of Carnival!

CSI welcomes any potential sponsorship deals that would assist them in their 2008 and future projects – contact Brent Holder at Email: brent.holder@btinternet.com  or 07932 400166.

Related websites:


CSI Community Group Steelband


Terrorist Steelband Links:

Times Article

Guardian Article

Liverpool Echo

Liverpool Daily Post


By Robbie Joseph

E-mail: panpodium@aol.com  or robbie@panpodium.com


More on steelbands of the United Kingdom

All pictures by Robbie Joseph


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