Source: The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus
Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - For the 2020 graduation ceremonies Mr. Len Sharpe is 1 of the 4 honorary graduands to be recognised for their outstanding contributions to regional & international development by The UWI, St. Augustine Campus.
Len Sharpe, better known as Len “Boogsie” Sharpe is a very successful & popular player, arranger and composer of steelpan music from Trinidad and Tobago. As a soloist extraordinaire or as part of a group, he has amazed audiences in North America, Europe & Asia. His life has been one of breaking boundaries in the pan world – in his composition style, in his management of his band & in his outspokenness on the business of pan.
His gift of “perfect pitch” and the ability to immediately recreate almost anything that he heard was realised at a young age. He began playing at age 4, and at 9, he tried his hand at composing. One year later, he completed his first arrangement. By the time he was a teenager, Sharpe had mastered the art of playing different pans and was already being hailed as a genius.
Soon after he began playing with professional steelbands, he started his own steelband, Phase II Pan Groove in 1972. Boogsie has taken his band to over thirty Panorama competition finals—the most by any arranger. He copped the 1st place with Phase II in 1987 making history by winning Panorama without sponsorship, with his own composition entitled “This Feeling Nice”, a double 1st. In Panorama competitions overall, Boogsie has over 20 victories with various bands in different categories. Pan aficionados worldwide converge annually on the Phase II panyard to observe the “maestro of steelpan” as he shapes his Panorama arrangements for the final night of the competition.
Sharpe has also arranged for many steelbands across the Caribbean, UK and USA. He has made several recordings encompassing a variety of musical genres including calypso, classical & jazz. Among these is the very first CD recording using the PHI, an electronic steelpan innovation developed at The UWI which was inspired by Boogsie’s incredible mastery.
His versatility has taken him to bandstands, workshops and recording studios with such Jazz greats as: Wynton Marsalis, Grover Washington Jr., Art Blakey, Randy Weston, Gary Burton, Ginger Baker, Monty Alexander, Max Roach and Tony Williams.
Listen to Len Boogsie Sharpe’s arrangement as performed by Moods Pan Groove - ‘Signal for Lara’ - Len “Boogsie” Sharpe - 1995