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35th BAS Notting Hill Steelband Panorama 2012

by Robbie Joseph

Real Steel Orchestra led by Leroy Clarke and hailing from Plymouth, captured the 35th BAS (British Association of Steelbands) Notting Hill Steelband Panorama 2012 ‘Champions of Steel’ title – celebrating the 50th Anniversaries of Independence of both Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica, as well as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and the 2012 Olympics and Para Olympics in the UK.

Flag of the UK

United Kingdom - Real Steel led by young, innovative and talented Leroy Clarke has toppled the London steelbands which have dominated the winning podium for more than a decade.

Real Steel
Real Steel - image by Robbie Joseph

Leroy and Real Steel have been in the winners’ shadows for some time. In fact, the first year that they entered the competition, they attained 2nd place, a massive feat for an orchestra new to this level of competition. They did not compete in last year’s competition. In this iconic year for the UK, they finally achieved their goal of being the UK’s ‘Champions of Steel’. Leroy’s rendition of Tellison 'Tello' Forde’s Prophet of Pan sung by Keith 'Designer' Prescott, saw them amass 270 points, eight points clear of last year’s champions Mangrove Steelband, led by Andre White.

A rain-drenched Real Steel
A rain-drenched Real Steel - image by Robbie Joseph

Speaking to Leroy after the Panorama he confirmed, “The band played well on the night, we executed superbly and playing in the rain certainly seemed to give us that extra drive and enthusiasm to deliver a winning rendition. I will like to congratulate all my players as well as all the other bands who played in another successful UK Panorama competition after battling with the rainy weather on the day.”

2012 marks the occasion of the 50th Anniversaries of Independence for both Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica, as well as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics and Para Olympics in the UK. Steelband music has firmly rooted itself in the UK’s culture. It is an important ingredient in the cultural fabric of multi-cultural Britain and has spread virally throughout the UK and Europe.

Panorama is a focal point for all Carnival celebrations globally where top steel bands come together in a musical battle for supremacy. This year's Notting Hill Panorama was held on Saturday 26th August 2012 at the Horniman's Pleasance, Kensal Road off Ladbroke Grove. The event started at  8:00 p.m. and was finished by 10:30 p.m. as directed by the Metropolitan Police and other authorities.

The ‘Drag’ where the bands practice on Kensal Road before the competition was opened from 2:00 p.m., giving the Pan lovers the opportunity to listen to all the bands practice before the competition started. Unfortunately, the prevailing weather saw the heavens open and heavy sporadic thundershowers stopped the players from practicing for long periods, they having to seek shelter from the heavy downpours.

Mangrove Steelband with arranger Andre White
Mangrove Steelband with arranger Andre White - image by Robbie Joseph

Defending champs Mangrove Steelband played first and placed second, with 262 points from their Andre White-rendition of Faye-Ann Lyons’ and Baron’s All Over produced by Penn & Ace of Studio 758.  Mangrove treated the audience to a musical rendition that left everyone singing along to their captivating delivery.

In third place was CSI with 261 points. Brent Holder’s musically arranged rendition of Destra Garcia’s Vibes was certainly a musical treat to all in attendance.  In 2011 Brent was the first UK-based Trinidadian to have his own composition—Pan in the Panyard—played at this iconic competition.

Ebony Steelband Trust which has dominated this competition, winning it nineteen times since its inception, achieved fourth place with a Seion Gomez’s rendition of Vibes amassing 248 points. This is Seion’s first appearance at this competition and judging from the exhilarating music that he produced, and which was well executed by Ebony’s talented players, Pan Podium hopes that he returns next year to continue his winning chances at this competition.

In 5th place was Metronomes Steel Orchestra which was absent from last year’s competition. Playing a Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore’s rendition of the legendary Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe’s Archbishop of Pan saw them attain 247 points. “Professor” and Metronomes continue to produce a high level of musicality ensuring that the standard at this competition is maintained and continues to progress towards the ultimate goal of perfection.

Paul Dowie and CSO continued their musical quest to achieve the Champions of Steel title with his rendition of Edwin Pouchet's Gie Dem Tempo sung by Denyse Plummer, written by Pouchet and Alvin Daniell. CSO achieved 6th place with 232 points. It is evident that Paul continues to work with his young and talented players to achieve the pinnacle of steelband music. They are present at every panorama and Pan Podium fully supports them in their quest for musical stardom.

It was an evening filled with steelband music at its highest levels. The musical war between these magnificent steelbands saw this battle keenly fought by all competitors vying for the coveted title of the UK’s ‘Champions of Steel’. The musical supremacy on the night certainly belonged to Steelband Music with Real Steel Orchestra being crowned the UK Steelband Ambassador for 2012.

2012 UK Panorama Results

Place & Points


Tune Arranger Tuners Captains

#1 - 270

Real Steel
Reel Steel

Prophet of Pan

T. Forde

Real Steel arranger Leroy Clarke
Leroy Clarke


#2 - 262

Mangrove Steelband

All Over

F. Lyons

Toussaint Ian Clarke
Andrew Facey

#3 - 261

CSI Steelband


M. Loquan/
D. Garcia/
K. Philmore


#4 - 248

Ebony Steel Orchestra
Ebony Steel Orchestra


M. Loquan/
D. Garcia/
K. Philmore



#5 - 247
Metronomes Steel Orchestra

Archbishop of Pan

L. Sharpe & G. Ballantyne



#6 - 232

Gie Dem Tempo

E. Pouchet/
A. Daniell

Emily Lemmerman

Mark Wilson

Will Dunne

Megan Francis

Panorama is the biggest showcase for steel pan music in London. The judges for the event were Anise ‘Halfers’ Hadeed, Nestor Sullivan, June Ifill-Bacchus, Robert Bailey and Rudy ‘Two Lef’ Smith with Robbie Joseph as the Adjudicator.

Please check  for a written review, photographs and videos of the performance. Everyone is now looking forward to the 2013 UK Panorama ‘Champions of Steel’ competition.

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