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Best Steel Orchestras in the World assemble at “POP Meets STEEL”

June 26 and 27

Trinidad and Tobago

‘Pop Meets Steel’ Programme

Some of the world’s best and most renowned steel orchestras will be assembling in Trinidad and Tobago for command performances over two days as part of the NAPA Festival project.

 Saturday June 26

Tripolians Steel Orchestra

  1. Run Yuh Run

  2. Jane

  3. Kitchener Medley: Sugar Bum Bum, Spree Simon, Margie, The Road, Fever, Flag Woman, ’67, Rain-O-Rama

Desperadoes Steel Orchestra

  1. So Sick

  2. Ordinary People

  3. Paradise Garden

  4. Rebecca

  5. Can Can

  6. A Night in Tunisia

Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra

  1. Bass Man

  2. Lightening Strikes Twice

  3. Conga

  4. When You tell me that You Love Me

  5. Killing Me Softly

  6. Master Blaster

Invaders Steel Orchestra

  1. Dance with My Father

  2. A Little Bit of Love

  3. Summertime

  4. Tell Dem

Fonclaire Steel Orchestra

  1. P.D.A. We Just Don’t Care

  2. Black or White

  3. Now that We Found Love

  4. Human Nature

  5. Pan by Storm

Exodus Steel Orchestra

  1. Pandora

  2. Umbayo

  3. Green Light

  4. Jordu

  5. Pan in “A” Minor

  6. Flying Home

  7. Ganges And The Nile

Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra

  1. Have I told You lately

  2. Monastery Garden

  3. Children of Sanchez

  4. Theme from ‘Cats’

  5. Unknown Band

  6. Cachucha – from the Gondoliers

 

Sunday June 27

La Horquetta (LH) Pan Groove

  1. Pan in “A” Minor

  2. Brazil

  3. La Bamba

  4. Raghin

  5. Baghi Bi

Phase II Pan Groove

  1. Moon River

  2. Bésame Mucho

  3. Theme from Exodus

  4. Lovers After All

  5. Pan Army

Sound Specialists of Laventille

  1. Morning Dance

  2. Pan in “A” Minor

  3. Can We Talk

  4. Surrender

  5. Unfaithful

  6. Empire State of Mind

Renegades Steel Orchestra

  1. Pan in “A” Minor

  2. All Night Long

  3. I Surrender

  4. Pint O Wine

Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra

  1. How Do I live without You

  2. I look to You

  3. Amperica-Roca

  4. Georgia

  5. Ra-na-he-na Ra na he ham

  6. Pan on Fire

Silver Stars Steel Orchestra

  1. Love Theme

  2. Bohemian Rhapsody

  3. I Gotta Feeling

  4. I’m Alive

  5. Phantom of the Opera

  6. Battle Zone


St. James Tripolians Steel Orchestra

St. James Tripolians
St. James Tripolians

St. James Tripolians Steel Orchestra has been in existence for over 38 years. Founded near the end of 1971 by Emmanuel “Manuel” Camps, the band was on the road for Carnival 1972, playing All Day, All Night, Miss Mary Ann and Drunk and Disorderly.  The band came out of Tripoli, a band founded in 1940 by Joe Crick, with such pioneers as Granville Sealy, Hugh Borde and Clyde Inniss, among others. Tripoli left Trinidad and headed to the US where they toured in the 1960s with Liberace. There they were given the opportunity to perform in some of the most renowned music halls. The members who remained in Trinidad were advised by Lloyd Butcher to create a ‘pan around the neck’ band and so the group Tripolians, taking its name from Tripoli, was formed.

Along with their first captain and founding member “Manuel,” were Kelvin Questel, Granville Sealy, Sonny Roach, Lennox Grainger, Elliot Wilson, David Mauge (deceased), Eddie Richards, Untin, and Clyde Inniss - all of whom helped to develop the band. Steelpans were borrowed from other bands and practices were held on Kathleen Street, St. James.  Soon after the Tripolians were established, Lloyd Hoyte, Frank Webb, George Creese - who is over 70 and still plays in the band -  and Victor, and his father Ancil Franklyn, joined the group.

The St. James Tripolians Steel Orchestra has many achievements. They were the winners of the first Panorama competition for Single Pan Bands in 1975 with Do Dem Back. In the early days, the players of the orchestra carried their steelpans around their necks, journeying to and from St. James. The band was known for their ‘Sailor mas,’ made even more dramatic by their popular flag waver ‘Totie’ who was a fish vendor by profession. The orchestra has also been invited to perform internationally, touring Jamaica and Barbados on many occasions and making an appearance in Kentucky at the Great American Brass Band Festival.

The orchestra is currently managed by Keith J. A. Simpson and captained by George Richardson and Ramesh Armaday.  Their musical director is Tricia Richardson.


Desperadoes

Desperadoes
Desperadoes

The Desperadoes Steel Orchestra is based in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Over the last fifty years, the band has established a record of achievement unsurpassed by any other steelband. Today the band continues to thrill local and international audiences with their special brand of music. Desperadoes is at ease performing in all genres from their scintillating interpretations of the most complex European classical music and Jazz - to their melodious renditions of Soca, Reggae, Pop and Latin pieces.  Desperadoes is recognized internationally as the premier institution and symbol of pure excellence in the world of steelband entertainment. The band has truly taken steelband music to the next level.

With its musical exploits, the band is a living legend in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean. It has been victorious in the Panorama competitions in Trinidad and Tobago on ten occasions. They were the Pan in the 21st Century Champions in 2005 when they performed Ordinary People and then again in 2006 with the selection So Sick. The band has also excelled at the music festivals held in Trinidad and Tobago having won the Festival on three consecutive occasions. As acknowledgement of its musical hegemony the band was presented with Trinidad & Tobago’s Chaconia Medal Gold National Award and named the “Steelband of the Century” by Pan Trinbago, the world governing body for the Steelpan.

Beyond the domestic arena, Desperadoes has toured the Caribbean, Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, Europe and Asia, performing at some of the most prestigious cultural centres globally. These include the Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Apollo Theatre in New York. The band also performed at the World Olympics held in Atlanta, U.S.A. Acknowledged globally as one of the cultural icons of the Caribbean, Desperadoes has also appeared with renowned international artists such as tenor Luciano Parvarotti, Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band with Robert Greenidge, and Ralph Mac Donald of ‘Just the Two of Us’ fame.

In 2007 the band was an integral part of a Trade and Cultural mission promoting Trinidad and Tobago in the Far East – performing in South Korea, Beijing, China and India. In April 2009, at the Conference of the Americas, Desperadoes was among a select group of artistes chosen to entertain the Heads of Government of the Americas including President Barack Obama of the USA.

Musicians:

Tenors
Rikky Andre Robley, Ursula Tudor, Jenelle Glasgow, Michael Glasgow, Nathan Moses, Michael Duncan, Keron Glasgow, Martin Cain

Double Tenors
Alvarez John, Carlon Morris, Nathaniel Moses

Double Seconds
Adrian Glasgow, David Davis

Double Guitar
Kevin Glasgow, Urica Gilchrist, Heston Gilchrist, Nigel Flemming, Clifford Brown

Tenor Bass
Bertram Glasgow, Brian Charles, Earl Noel

Six Bass
Miranda Martin, Patrice Charles, Sophia Frederick-Paponette

Nine Bass
Roseford Coutain

Drums
Rawle Flemming

Scratcher (misc percussion)
Phillip Elder

Congas (misc percussion)
Rupert Phillip, Carlton Douglas

Cowbell (misc percussion)
Kevin Holder


Katzenjammers

Katzenjammers
Katzenjammers

Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra is the oldest playing steelband on the island of Tobago. Formed in 1951 in the fishing and tourism village of Black Rock, Katzenjammers is well known for its energetic performance in the various genres of steelpan music; such as Calypso, Pop, R&B, religious and Jazz. The orchestra is the band of choice in Tobago for government functions, hotels, wedding receptions and private parties.

To date, the orchestra has enjoyed tremendous success since its return to national competitions in 2003. At present, Katzenjammers is the only orchestra in Tobago to have won three National titles. These are: National Tune of Choice in 1963, and Pan in the 21st Century in 2004 and 2008.

The organization prides itself in discipline, dedication and excellence, in order to maintain its successes and objectives. Steelpan music is one important piece of community and soul that has not been destroyed despite neglect. It is therefore not surprising that Katzenjammers steel orchestra is comprised mostly of youths. These youngsters play the steelpan, motivated by the joy of the experience itself. The great effort exerted by the youth fuels a competitive spirit amongst them and further provides a platform to showcase the plethora of talent and creativity within the band.

Katzenjammers’ musical accomplishments come from the soul of the arrangers, players, traditional community spirit and camaraderie which have kept the band together for over five decades. Veterans such as Hugh Ramsey, Jeremy Williams, Aldwyn Ramsey, Rupert McCardy, Dwaine Archer, Handell Alfred, Claude Ramsey and Brent Charles have all contributed to the successes of the band.

The orchestra is currently managed by Beverley Ramsey-Moore, captained by Jemma Duke, directed by Maxon Ramsey and has as its arranger Edwin Pouchet.

Musicians:

Tenors
Kersh Ramsey, Maxson Ramsey, Kelesha Carter, Kenvern Marcelle, Shevrolyn Jerry, Shumba George

Seconds
Kadion Moore, Claudius Agge, Maurice Melville, Khadicia Julien, Rimond Reid

Guitars
Teri Jack, Ricardo Mc Pherson, Jenelle Moore, Kyrstal Vincent

Cello & Triple Guitar
Kasem Quamina, Glenroy Archer

Bass
Keeron Baynes, Kenneth Williams, Shaquille Arnold, Shirlon Moore

Tenor Bass
Sherry Arnold, Shanice Arnold

Rhythm
Allan Duke, Sheralyn Jordan, Hugh Ramsey, Glenford James, Kelvin James


Invaders

Invaders
Invaders

In 1937, the breadfruit tree at the Mannette family home on Tragarete Road facing the Queen’s Park Oval sporting grounds, was the meeting place for an unusual group of musicians.  Stanley Hunte and Ellie Mannette were the leaders of the youngsters who talked about their own band of steel drums. Some may have described the group as a ‘gang’ but the neighbourhood boys were going to focus on music and steelpan, an instrument that was still being shaped.

They decided to call themselves “Oval Boys,” after their first panyard located under the stands of the Queen’s Park Oval. They collected discarded paint cans, biscuit tins and other empty metal containers to be used as instruments. The Oval Boys changed their name to “Invaders” after seeing the US war movie, “Night Invaders.”  Soon their permanent home was under the breadfruit tree at 147 Tragarete Road, where the band resides to this day. Through experimentation with materials available on the street, they started to bridge the gap between the earlier, rhythmic beat of the tamboo-bamboo, and the harmonies that would soon emanate form the steelpan.

Those were days of rivalry, innovation and excitement. The rivalry between bands of Laventille and John John in East Port-of-Spain, and those in Woodbrook and Western Trinidad, often led to violent clashes.  During the 1940’s, Invaders was one of the most feared steelbands on the road. The sight of their battle flag was enough to frighten the faint-hearted. Lord Blakie’s (Carlton Joseph) calypso, “Steelband Clash,” documented a confrontation between Invaders and Tokyo, a band from East Dry River in Port-of-Spain.

In those days, Ellie Mannette was the creative force behind the band, designing and tuning the pans for which he earned the title “Father of the Modern Steel Drum.”   His job in an iron foundry gave him a special feel and skill for steel and other metals. Mannette experimented with the 50-gallon oil drums in place of biscuit tins. He sank the playing surface downward into a concave shape instead of the convex shape used at the time, then went on to create six of the nine main instruments in the steel drum family. He also discovered, through trial and error, the uniqueness of the note blend on each pan; and that the sweetness of the music could be brought out with sticks wrapped with rubber.

For the past 25 years Mannette has been at the forefront of the steelband movement in the United States. He left Trinidad and Tobago for New York city in 1967. In the USA, he has travelled extensively, making and promoting the steelpan. As a result of his efforts, successful Steelband programmes can be found from New York to Washington State and from the Dakotas to Texas.

Mannette works with over 200 public school, university, community and private bands. He gives lectures and conducts seminars on the construction, tuning and history of the instrument. His work has been on display in museums all across the United States. Currently he resides in Morgantown, West Virginia, where he is artist-in-residence at the West Virginia University.

Invaders’ growth and change was partly due to its Woodbrook location where a local theatre was established in 1949 with Invaders as the resident steelband. It may have been a factor in the 1960s when Shell Oil Company became one of the first steelband sponsors. Shell later changed its name to Trintoc and then Petrotrin, retaining sponsorship until 1998.

Invaders produced many fine panists and tuners who add to the musical legacy created by the founders. The youngest Mannette brother, Vernon “Birdie,” was tuner and captain for 25 years, maintaining Invaders’ reputation for ‘sweet’ pan. Ray Holman, the prolific composer and arranger started with Invaders when he was only 13 years old. His work with pan jazz arrangements gives him a unique position in pan history.

Spawned from Alexander ragtime Band and Oval Boys, Invaders produced many other bands. Among them were: Saigon, Green Eyes, Gale Stars, Pat, Phase II Pan Groove, Third World, Tropitones, Metronomes, Troubadors, Dixie Stars, Sombreros, Starlift and Girl Pat.

Musicians:

Tenors
Rudolph Williams, Anthony Phillip, Richard Bentham, Natalie Baptiste, Jamaal Gibbs, Luke Walker Kerri-ann Hyndman-Borris

Double Tenors
Jason Ho, Khadija King, Nicholas Oliver

Double Seconds
Gibson Mark, Myles Paynter, Kayode Robinson, Kareem Browne, Atiya O’Neil

Double Guitars
Leidman Dore, Elroy Baptiste, Crystal Benthum

Cellos
Desiree Myers, Josanne Arthur, Chelsea Bailey

Tenor Bass
Steve Mendoza, Chantelle Carimbocas

Bass
Courtney Taylor, Nigel Gonzales, Petra Moses, Glenda Boney, Giselle French, Keneisha Barclay

Rhythm
Timon Valentine, Claude Griffith, Oswald Williams, James Inniss, Bernard Gibbs, Frankie Thomas, Joseph Michael Richard


Fonclaire

Fonclaire
Fonclaire

NLCB Fonclaire is led by Milton ‘Wire’ Austin, one of the remaining founding members of the band. Celebrating their 45th anniversary this year, Wire recalls that the journey of his band began in 1965. He and a group of young people living in and around the present panyard pooled together their innate ability to create melodious sounds from inanimate objects, like the oil drum, and formed the steel orchestra. The band derived its name from two adjoining streets—Fonrose and Claire—in the country’s second city of San Fernando, where the majority of the members dwelled. In its early years the band searched for a unique sound and character to distinguish itself from other pan sides.

In the four decades since Fonclaire evolved, taking on different appellations with each new sponsor—Joseph Sabga & Sons Ltd, NBC, Vat 19 and now NLCB—the band systematically tested its musical skill and knowledge in its pursuit of excellence. The breakthrough came in 1971, the year of the historic tie in the National Panorama final between Solo Harmonites and CIBC Starlift. Fonclaire, playing a soulful Rudin and Austin arrangement of the Mighty Duke’s Carnival in Trinidad, placed fourth in the competition. The band was adjudged ‘People’s Choice’ and led to Fonclaire securing the distinguishing sound it craved, becoming known as the band with “the Soul Beat.”  Pioneering a mixture of vocals with steel, accompanied by funk and soul beats with a Caribbean flavour, proved to be a winning combination for this leading steelband. Two successful LPs followed: “Funk and Steel and Funk,” and “Steel and Brass,” with vocals by Elton Xavier.

Always a contender for the yet elusive National Panorama title, Fonclaire has done the City of San Fernando proud. It placed second in 1975 with a Lord Kitchener composition, Spree Simon, and again consecutively in 1989, 1990 and 1991. Fonclaire also placed third in 1986 with another Kitchener made-for-pan calypso, Pan Here to Stay but the band’s most memorable performance to date, was its scintillating rendition of Ken “Professor” Philmore’s arrangement of Pan by Storm in 1990. Across the globe, in North and South America, Canada and the Caribbean, they have won rave reviews with their repertoire of seventy-two selections in different styles such as jazz, gospel, contemporary, hot soca, sweet soca, vintage kaiso, reggae, Cuban/Latin American, pop and R&B. Fonclaire has also had the distinction of performing with internationally renowned recording artiste Billy Ocean, legendary jazz exponent Clive Zanda and reggae band Aswad. The steelband has also aligned itself with several international recording agents and consultants as it continues to revolutionise the sound and image of the instrument.

Musicians:

Tenors
Joseph Reid, Henriques Lakatoo, Talmai Layne, Akini Pompey, Geary Hinds, Donyell Thorne, Teri Simone Henry, Carliza Remy, Atherley Figaro, Marc Sebeeran

Double Tenors
Philip Maurice, Adana Pompey

Double Seconds
Kale Weekes, Shennel Paul, Alyssa Fredericks

Double Guitar
Cherisse Remy, Marlon Gaymes

Cello
Joyanne Farrell, Rachelle Regis Glaud, Cliff Murphy, Aretha Austin, Haille Stewart

Bass
Teriq McGillivery, Aaron Williams, Kealon Clarke, Elon Chatterpaul, Hayden Marchan, Frederick Chatterpaul

Drummer
Kervin Philbert

Percussion
Brandon Greenidge

Rhythm
Alvin Pierre, Marlon Williams, Keron Sylvester, Dean Constance

Congas
Deryk Ayum


Exodus

Exodus
Exodus

Exodus was formed in May 1981 and ventured into the National Panorama competition in 1982, a mere nine months after its formation. The band placed eighth in the finals. Since then Sagicor Exodus has established itself as one the premier steelbands in the world. History will show that over the years, Exodus has won - at one time or another - almost all major steelpan competitions in Trinidad & Tobago. Among its achievements are:

National Panorama finals on four occasions; National Steelband Music Festival on three occasions; World Steelband Music Festival in 2002 and 2005; Caribbean Panorama on the single occasion it was held and; Steelband Champion Of Champions which commemorated 40 Years of Panorama. Exodus is in fact the reigning World Steelband Music Festival Champions which they won at Madison Square Garden, New York in 2005.  Internationally, Exodus has toured several major cities worldwide and has produced six compact discs. Sagicor Exodus is also the holder of Trinidad & Tobago’s second highest medal of honour, The Chaconia Gold.

Musicians:

Tenors
Kurt Edwards, Jamaal Lewis, Christopher Morris, Lisa Mc Clutchie, Michael Beharrysingh, Simone Small, Kevin Lewis

Double Tenors
Shannon Balbosa, Alyshia Wiseman, Ronald Clarke

Double Seconds
Stephen Pierre, Anthony Rose, Stefon Pierre, Roisha Edwards, Brigid Haynes

Cellos
Julie Williams, Hayden Hosein, Roland James, Gregory Mansano, Kizzy Lewis

Tenor Basses
Clement Springer, Jeanelle Armour, David Dolabaille

Double Guitars
Shivon Bourne, Frederica Venus-Bourne, Afiya Farrel

Low Basses
Jason Aberdeen, Andy Husband, Quacy Ward, Shane Nelson

Percussion
Kail Thomas, Keith Gardiner, Gabriel Fonrose, Errol Wickham, Dunstan Thomas, Don Wilson.

Keyboards
Pelham Goddard


Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra

Trinidad All Stars
Trinidad All Stars

The rich and colourful history of the steelband movement in Trinidad and Tobago is interwoven with the Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars. Developed between the first and second World Wars, the steelband was born of an innate and explosive creativity. The band’s roots go deep and its turbulent early beginnings and explosive creativity are the hallmarks of steelband music today.

“Hell Yard Boys” was the name they gave themselves back in 1935.  Hell Yard was a poor area on the banks of the East Dry River in Port-of-Spain.  The movement away from “tamboo-bamboo” to pan had only just begun. This name changed several times – to “Second Fiddle,” then to “Cross of Lorraine,” and finally “All Stars,” chosen because of the perceived superior ability of the players.  Soon after the war, “Trinidad” was added.

In 1982 the contributions of Trinidad All Stars to the steelband movement were recognised by the Government of Trinidad & Tobago with the presentation of a national award – the Humming Bird Medal (Gold). Four years later, the band was again honoured with an award from the Port-of-Spain City Council.

One of the many achievements of the band was its pioneering of classical music on the road, played to the rhythm of calypso - affectionately known as the ‘Bomb tune.’  This highlighted the capacity of the steelpan to go beyond the previously self-imposed musical bounds of calypso or boleros. Trinidad All Stars was the first band to play the pan with two sticks. For the first time, both the melody and the harmony could be heard played together. The band made the first “Quatro Pans” later called the ‘Grundig’ and the guitar pans. A former captain of Trinidad All Stars, Neville Jules, also had the privilege of making the first bass pan.

These accomplished musicians have maintained a standard of excellence through their innovative mastery of the instruments. They have secured first place victories in the biennial Music Festival on six occasions, have won the National Panorama six times, the Bomb Competition on countless occasions and successfully held nine Classical Jewels concerts.

The members of N & M Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra have carried the vibrant culture of Trinidad & Tobago around the world: Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, China, France, Ghana, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, St. Maarten, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Musicians:

Tenors
Brenton Peltier, Onika Baird, Kelvin Harris, Janeil McClean, Ria Toppin, Nikisha Patrick, Cassie Figaro, Netsa Nathan

Double Tenor
Natasha Lyndsay

Double Seconds
Shaoubaca Elie, Verdell Hearwood, Cleve Leonard, Joseph Long

Triple Guitars
Marlon Howe, Denise Hernandez, Shareen Walcott

Four Cellos
Petal Joseph, Monica Roach

Basses
Leon Long, ren Hamlet, Denise Riley, Nicole Belgrave, Donna Da Costa

Percussion
Jason Lewis, Michael Mohammed, Anthony John, Lennox Ambrose, Errol Collins, Trevor Garraway, Junior Telemaque, Carlton John


La Horquetta Pan Groove

La Horquetta Pan Groove is an unsponsored Single Pan Steel Orchestra, also known as LH Pan Groove. The band was formed on 9th December 1989, and mainly consists of youths from the community. The band assists themselves by means of fund-raisers and play-outs.  They are at this time in the transformation process from Single Pan to Medium Conventional Band Category for Panorama 2011.

This band has excelled in major national competitions. They have been awarded 1st place in the National Panorama Competition for five consecutive years, as well as the TSTT (Telecommunication Services of Trinidad & Tobago) Pan Down Memory Lane Competition four years in a row.

They are currently managed by Kirt Robinson and captained by Michael Prudhomme.

Musicians:

Tenors
Christine Ferdinand, Russell Edwards, Georgella Scott, Kelley-Ann Bruce

Seconds
Che Carter, Michael Prudhomme, Nadia James Guitar Kyle Toppin, Kerry Carter, Kum Thas

Rhythm Section
Roger Robinson (Dudup), Ross Thomas (Slam Bass), Leason Jacobs (Kettle Drum), Chadwich Cumberbatch (Marac), Rodney Augustus (Iron), Dextan Lewis (Toc Toc), Chad Roberts (Scratcher)


Phase II Pan Groove

Phase II Pan Groove
Phase II Pan Groove

Phase II Pan Groove was formed in 1972 by a small group of innovative musicians seeking to produce a more creative sound on pan, by experimenting not only with different types of music, but also with the combined effects of contemporary instruments and pan.

Undoubtedly, the most outstanding feature about Phase II Pan Groove is the fact that from its inception, the bold decision was taken to promote the performing of original compositions in Steelband competitions earlier pioneered by Ray Holman. In keeping with this policy, the band consistently elected to perform pieces specifically composed and arranged for the instrument, by its charismatic leader and Musical Director Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe.

Despite this calculated disadvantage, Phase II, after an initial period of non-acceptance, was able to gain some recognition from 1977, when the band captured its first North Zonal title, and thereafter emerged as Champions of the North for a then unprecedented four consecutive years (1986-1989), eventually creating history in 1987 by becoming the first unsponsored band to win the national Panorama competition, as well as the first band to do so performing its own tune. This feat was repeated in 1988, and from that year, the band has very rarely placed lower than in the top three positions, including its most recent national titles in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

At the Steelband Musical Festival, ‘Boogsie’ has been dubbed the Mozart of Pan by foreign adjudicators, as his compositions have been able to stand alongside those of the great classical masters. This was evident at the Festival of 1986, when the band captured third place, performing ‘Dance of the Douens’ composed by ‘Boogsie.’

Over the years Phase II has toured extensively throughout North America, the Caribbean, Europe, South Africa and Japan, and had the distinction of being part of the cultural contingent that accompanied our Soca Warriors to the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Its virtuoso musical director, generally regarded as the world’s premier panist, along with his acknowledged genius as a composer and arranger, has toured extensively around the world as a solo artiste, sharing stages with some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians. He has recently been inducted as an honorary distinguished fellow of the University of Trinidad and Tobago where he now teaches musical improvisation. Mr. Sharpe was also awarded the Chaconia Silver Medal in 1988 and the Hummingbird Medal Gold at the 2009 awards ceremony, for his contribution to the art form.

Musicians:

Tenors
Ronald Ashton, Franklyn Olliverra, Joseph Pollidore, Rondell Williams, Gary Padmore, Hapty Prince, Roland Lyons, Mervyn Caines, Ronald Mohammed

Double Tenors
Patrick O’Brien, Wendell Bleasdell

Double Seconds
Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Amanda Gooptar, Terry Bernard

Double Guitars
Errol Skerritt, Steve Taylor, Ronnie Collins, Anthony Franklyn

Four Pan Cellos
Ashika Gaspard, Kenneth Harewood

Tenor Bass
Judy Noel

Seven Bass
Bennie Matthews, Jenessa Baptiste, Michelle Clarke

Nine Bass
Carlisle Sobers

Percussion
Ronnie Howard, Dennis Urquhart, William Fraser, Michael Spencer, Kevin Herbert, Clayton Morris


Sound Specialists of Laventille

Sound Specialists of Laventille
Sound Specialists of Laventille

Laventille has produced many a top steelband. They include Desperadoes, Highlanders, Savoys and in 1975 Sound Specialists from the Eastern Quarry area. The nearby Tokyo was the band to which Sound Specialists owes its birth, since many of the original players in Sound Specialists which started out as a traditional band, came from Tokyo.

In the competitive arena, Sound Specialists’ first incursion was in 1976 when the band took part in the annual Guardian Newspapers contest. This competition was held however not at the St. Vincent Street Car Park as at present, but at the grounds of the West Indian Tobacco company in Champ Fleurs, east Trinidad. The tune selected was Flag Woman by Kitchener and this was the Road March of the year.

The band gained sponsorship from Readymix Limited in 1977 and as Pan Trinbago started a competition for “Pan around-de-neck” bands they played Jump Judges Jump by Shadow. The band, now improving by leaps and bounds, qualified for the semi-finals.  By 1980 the band had improved to such an extent that they placed fourth in the finals for single pan bands in Panorama. The days of being a ‘traditional band’ were numbered - so that when “Pan is Beautiful Too” came about in 1980 the band had been converted into a conventional one. In 1983 Sound Specialists lost its sponsor Readymix due to financial constraints and did not participate in the subsequent two Pan is Beautiful series in 1984 and 1986.  By 1988 the band reappeared. There was no Music Festival in 1990 due to the attempted Coup in July of that year. However, in December 1990 for the first time a competition was held entitled Pan Parang. It was held in the Arima Velodrome.  Sound Specialists won the contest in the category for Conventional Band. The band played A Trini Christmas and emerged with 702 points.

In 1992 Courts Furnishings (Trinidad) Limited sponsored the band. The band pleased their new sponsors by reaching the finals of that year’s festival with a performance of Gustav Holst’s Jupiter and Superblue’s Get Something and Wave. The band has made every music festival finals since, so when Pan Trinbago stated the Trinidad and Tobago leg of the World Steelband Music Festival, Courts Laventille Sound Specialists was confident that they would have qualified, and after performing John Williams’ Throne Room and  End Titles and Len “Boogsie” Sharpe’s Clear De Way, the band placed sixth.

A re-branding of the band took place in 2004 and they are now known as the Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille. This orchestra continues to thrill many with their music and has been outstanding with their J’Ouvert Bomb presentations and at the Laventille Steelband Festival. The year 2004 saw them placing fifth in the Medium category of the National Panorama finals. In 2004 they qualified as one of Trinidad and Tobago’s representatives to the finals of the World Steelband Music Festival.

The band was a semi–finalist at the 2005 National Panorama competition and was the winner of the J’Ouvert Bomb Competition in the classical category. At the 2005 TSTT Pan in the 21st Century Competition they placed third with a breath taking rendition of Morning Dance.  And the orchestra also won the ‘Spirit of Emancipation’ award in the sixth annual Laventille Steelband Festival Street Parade.  Also in June of that year, Sound Specialists of Laventille placed fourth in the World Steelband Music Festival at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York, USA.

2006 – A time of growth for Sound Specialists of Laventille where the finals of the National Panorama saw the band place second in the Medium category. This showed that Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille was taking on the mantle of being a great Laventille Steel Orchestra.

2007 & 2008 the band won the National Panorama competition in the Medium category playing Colleen Ella’s Johnny and Destra Garcia’s Hooked respectively.

In 2009 the band placed third in the Panorama competition and sixth in Pan in the 21st Century competition. In 2010 the band placed second in the Panorama competition and sixth in the B mobile Pan in the 21st Century competition.

The band has gone from strength to strength and by its enthusiasm and commitment will, in the near future, accomplish its ultimate aim to win the National and World Steelband Music Festival titles as well be one of the best Steel Orchestras in the world.

Musicians:

Tenors
Stephen Thomas, Ryan Pran, Sheleen Baynes, Jason Mc Kell, Ja’vaughn Ramsay, Kevin Williams, Sydney Christopher

Double Seconds
Wendell Joseph, Toni Williams, Stephanie London

Guitars
Ayoka Hicks, Akeel Baines, Willis Roben

Cellos
Cordell Melville, Okerah Parris, Elizabeth Bartholomew, Rholda John

Bass
Narissa Charles, Dary Ann Cordner, Nikita Charles , Cindy Campbell, Andre Lamy

Rhythm
Wayne Scipio (captain), George Cruickshank, Daniel Phillip, Mervyn Mc Kell, Ronald Mc Clean, Merlene Ramsay, Willbun Crichlow, Henson Neptune


Renegades Steel Orchestra

Renegades
Renegades

The BP Renegades Steel Orchestra is one of the oldest surviving steel bands in the world today. Launched on May 24, 1948 (Empire Day), they took their name from a Western movie. In the early years, Renegades was not a major musical force and due to its notoriety of being one of the toughest street bands in the city, suffered for recruits. They however transformed their image to become by the 1980s, one of the leading steel orchestras in the world.

Renegades dominated the National Panorama Competition in the 80s and 90s, with nine victories from 1982 to 1997. It was the first band to play in position one at the finals (1982) and win. The band was also in the top three spots fifteen times, from 1980 to 1997; it is the only band to have won Panorama titles back to back on three separate occasions, (1984-1985; 1989-1990; 1995-1996), and to have garnered a hat trick (in 1995, 1996 and 1997). In fact, when Renegades won in 1997, it was also the first band to have won as many as nine Panorama titles.

Renegades has placed second on three of the five occasions it participated in the biannual National Steelband Music Festival, Pan is Beautiful and in 2008 swept the field in the minor categories winning the soloist, duets and quartet categories. Renegades also won the Pan in the 21st Century Competition in 2003, with Joey Lewis’ Pint of Wine, placed second in 2006 with Lionel Richie’s All Night Long and took second place again in 2010 with Celine Dion’s I Surrender.

Renegades is also the most travelled steel orchestra in the world. They have toured every continent bar one- Antarctica. In 1990, they were the featured act at Paris Bastille Day with French pop composer and multi-media performer, Jean-Michel Jarre before an estimated world record audience of over two million people. That same year they opened the Nelson Mandela Welcome Rally at the Yankee Stadium, in New York City. In 2006, Renegades performed at the 18th Commonwealth Games in Sydney and at the WOMAD Festival in Adelaide, Australia. On August 29th, 2009, the band performed at the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the independence of Trinidad and Tobago; the orchestra first accompanied dramatic soprano Anne Fridal, soprano Renee Solomon and lyric baritone Marvin Smith, before filling its own time slot with a variety of musical pieces.

Renegades is the recipient of many awards, including Trinidad and Tobago’s second highest award, the Chaconia Gold Medal (1992) for its outstanding contribution to the culture of Trinidad and Tobago. In 1986, the band received the Keys to the City of Port-of-Spain and in 1990, a Pan Trinbago Award for its outstanding contribution to the development of the steel band movement. Renegades is also a five-time Sunshine Award recipient.

Musicians:

Tenors
Levi Etienne, Kershiff Perry, Kain Cox, Marvis Mohammed, Micahi Felician, Wayneisha Wilson

Double Tenor
Cleveland King, Anthony Lewis, Dexter Bernard

Double Second
Ishmael Wharton, Candice Andrews

Double Guitar
Jessica Bentick

Three Cellos
Stacy Doughlin, Anthony Crichlow, Akelia James

Four Cellos
Aaron Franklin 

Tenor Bass
Kayesha Ollivierre, Ayesha Moses, Rudolph Grant, Joel Allick, Christian Benton

Percussion
Andrew Brumant, Vance Romain, Juma Simmons, Kaaron Romain, Negus Granger, Gabriel Phillip


Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra

Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra
Skiffle Bunch

Founded in 1976 by a closely knit group of young people in Vistabella, South Trinidad, these globe-trotting ambassadors chalked up seven Panorama victories and were runners-up on three occasions. In between, there were other accolades like Caribbean Festival Winner (1977) and Best Beating Steelband in the Prime Minister’s Best Village Competition (1976-1983).

The Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra has been the leader among Ensemble groups in Trinidad and Tobago, however they have since 1993, donned Conventional Orchestra Status and have challenged the very best in that category.

Their tenacity together with their commitment to the development and marketing of the steelpan, has made them a clear leader. In the short period since that time, the band has chalked up first place in the South/Central Region Panorama Competition 1996, 1997 and has placed sixth at the national Finals in 1995 and fifth in 1997. They placed fourth in the 1995 National Pan Chutney competition and second in 1996, as well as winning the Best Dress and Best Oriental Percussion categories. TCL Group Skiffle Bunch won the southern leg of the 1998 Steelband Festival, placed third in the National Final for Orchestras and was the overall winner of the first World Steelband Festival held in October 2000. In 2009 Skiffle Bunch did Trinidad’s southern region proud when they took home the championship title for Pan in the 21st Century.  The band has produced three albums of their work and is a recipient of many national and international awards.

Musicians:

Tenor
Chloe Perrott, Cherelle Greaves, Wanessa Charles, Rheanne Edwards, Carlos Ayers, Anella Seecharan, Sean Villaroel, Joshua Regrello, Asem Jones, Leon Harewood, Renee Tuitt

Double Tenor
Ayanna Reyes, Aaliyah Reyes, Cedel Hinds, Sherise Regis-Mc Farlane

Double Second
Theron Thompson, Ariel Graham, Shaquille Forbes

Double Guitar
Lesley Ann Samuel, Kami Marie Marcelline, Nicola Joseph

Three Cello
Keina Calliste, Kyra Huntley

Tenor Bass
Wendel Charles

Seven Bass
Brandon Babb, Trudy Murray, Afiya Williams, Charisse Syms

Percussion
Charles Webb, Hudson Henry, Floyd Ravello, Andrew Reyes, Peter Fyfield


Silver Stars Steel Orchestra

Silver Stars
Silver Stars

The Newtown Steel Orchestra was founded in the mid-late 1940’s by Ramon and Roy Young. The band members comprised of fellow St. Mary’s College students and Queen’s Royal College students. In 1950 the band’s name was changed to Valentino’s and again in 1952 to Silver Stars Steel Orchestra. Even in these early days of existence, Silver Stars was always a trendsetter.

In 1952, on an ill-fated night, seven band members were arrested for disturbing the peace by playing pan and were taken to jail. This had a traumatizing effect on the players, their families, neighbours and the pan fraternity as a whole. In those days, pan was considered a nuisance and anyone playing pan was not held in high esteem so band members hid to practice. When the young men appeared in Court, the Magistrate ruled that pan would not be a nuisance until after 10.00 p.m.; he also awarded the young men $250.00 each in compensation for their ordeal. This triumph marked another first for the band and led to the legalisation of steelpan playing until 10:00 p.m.  Other accomplishments include being the first steelband to compose their own tune for Music Festival - Russian Meringue in 1950 and On a Creole Melody in 1966; and in 1963, being the first steel orchestra to win the prestigious Carnival title “Band of the Year” with the portrayal of Gulliver’s Travels.

Silver Stars temporarily closed its doors in Trinidad in 1974, when the captain and arranger Edgar ‘Junior’ Pouchet accepted a contract with Disney World, Orlando, Florida, USA (1971-2000).  In 1986 Silver Stars re-opened in Trinidad with Edwin Pouchet as the captain and arranger. The band continued to perform for private functions, maintaining their “best dance band” in the country status with quite a varied repertoire and also competing at Carnival competitions with great success; the most notable is the Berger ‘Last Lap’ competition which the orchestra won for three consecutive years, among other titles.

In 1991, Parang and Steel was launched. Edwin conceived the idea based on his familial background. His own family was involved in pan and his uncle Alfred Codallo was very involved with Parang, so, he thought that a marriage of the two arts would be innovative, and supporters of both art forms would not have to travel outside of the city limits for quality entertainment.  Parang and Steel has grown and developed over the years and has become a popular function over the Christmas season. The six consecutive Saturday nights of entertainment are enjoyed by hundreds of appreciative patrons each night.  This event is also listed in the Tourism Development’s diary of Events. In 1999 Edwin took the decision to return to the Panorama arena and national competition circuit after an absence of approximately twenty-three (23) years. Since that year, Silver Stars has achieved some of the highest awards by any steel orchestra, but in the shortest period of time, especially from a band making a return.

In 2009 the Silver Stars was awarded the first prize in the large band category National Panorama competition with First in de Line composed by captain Edwin Pouchet. This feat was repeated in 2010 with the song Battle Zone, again composed by Pouchet. Along with national acclaim, this steel orchestra has enjoyed accolades from international audiences, having performed at various festivals in North America.

Musicians:

Leader/Arranger
Edwin Pouchet

Tenors
Oswin Williams (Choreographer), Jelani Cielto, Jason Harewood, Mark Jones, Timothy Tilokee, Solange Baptiste, Cathy-Ann Francis, Carol Andrews, Jovan St. Vincent

Double Seconds
Shannon Mc David, Vincent Mitchell, Franklyn Garcia, Danielle Castillo

Cellos/Guitars
Junior Goolcharan, Lisa Goolcharan, Gregory Emmanuel, Anika Charles, Brenda Crosby

Bass
John Lopez, Larry Lai, Deborah Charles, Elizabeth Antoine, Lauren Pierre

Rhythm
Christopher Mohammed, Donell Thomas (Conductor), Selwyn Francis, Carlan Harewood, Austin Lee, Winston Quashie, Kirl Stanislaus, Balogun Olatunji

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From the desk of:
Michael Murray
Marketing and Advertising-Napa Fest.
Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism

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