Golden Hands Wins Five Alive Again!


Trinidadian steel orchestra successfully defends title at Moods of Pan Festival 2007


News Release




Golden Hands, winners of the 2007 Five Alive contest

Antigua & BarbudaFive Alive is indisputably an Antiguan original invention, however Trinidad- based Golden Hands has shown that, for the present, this challenging performing arts title centered around creative and imaginative portrayals, the steelpan instrument and featuring an intimate, skilled nucleus of musicians, is safely secured in their hands.  Golden Hands won the Five Alive competition for the second consecutive year while successfully defending their title against a field of nine other contenders.

2007 Five Alive Contestants

  • Golden Hands

  • AGS So Call Mass Troupe

  • Ottos Comprehensive

  • PMS Rock Stars

  • Full Five

  • Muriel Grandkids

  • Pan Junkies

  • Snap, Crackle, Pop Barney & Big Bird

  • East 5

  • 3 Donkeys + 2 Baboons = 'Donkaboons'

This eccentric contest was, for all intents and purposes, over after the first two minutes of the required 5-minute limit stipulation.  Golden Hands were not taking any prisoners on this night.  The Five Alive rules limit groups to a maximum of 5 players, but the group's orchestration permitted them to sound much larger. Their approach brought back memories of the great "Musical Youth", the Antiguan Five Alive record champion holder - who are now retired. 

Moods of Pan 2007 - Antigua - WST Video

Golden Hands' tune of choice was "Sweet Dung Dey" by Antigua's El-A-Kru.  The song is essentially about a woman from India who travels to Antigua and experiences carnival for the first time.  Their arranger is Dane Hinds and their tuner, Birch Kellman.  Their Five Alive side consisted of Vanessa Hedley (2nd), Richardé Bereaux (tenor), Keon Marcano (4 pan), Chisara Bailey (bass) and Devon Roberts (drums).

Golden Hands far out-distanced the other competitors with a stage production that included drama, theater and high caliber musicianship mixed with a deft musical arrangement. Their special attention to story telling through both visual choreographed embellishments and musical movements served them well.  In addition to mastering these critical components of the performing arts, Golden Hands explored new boundaries in 2007's competition.  This year the theatrical component of Golden Hands' routine continued throughout their showing, and never waned as their musical performance and arrangement continued to build throughout the presentation.

The Five Alive competition at the Moods of Pan Festival has always called for a delicate blend between musicianship and showmanship.  Golden Hands has indeed found that balance that has allowed them the ability to simultaneously entertain and capture the attention and imagination of the audience.  This was done via a commanding visual presence through their costumes, that allowed the group subconsciously to keep the audience engaged and entertained with their stage presence on one level, while serving up a serious musical cocktail that meets and exceeds the substantive musical judging criteria on another level.

The comedic and humorous characteristics of the show continue to be a staple for the event, as the other groups with imaginative names tried in vain this year to incorporate aspects of acrobatics, comedy, dance, magic, music and theater in their presentations.  However, audience involvement, as always, was extremely sought-after, as a considerable number of points of the total score, was predicated on audience participation.

The Five Alive competition has always been a crowd favorite among the audience of the three-day steelpan festival.  Gemonites Steel Orchestra, the producers of Moods of Pan, designed the show as a means of keeping the steelpan art form and culture alive and in the consciousness of the Antiguan & Barbudan populace outside of the carnival/panorama season.  Furthermore, it is expected to promote friendly competition among the local steelpan groups, while keeping them at all times, at the top of their musical game.  The competition has indeed done that and more, as it now attracts international attention.

This year the first prize was USD $2007.00 and the last, USD $207.00.  As has been the case since Gemonites Steel Orchestra's inception of the competition, there are absolutely no middle prizes.   Next year Moods of Pan Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary.  As part of that commemorative observance, it was announced that the first prize will be USD $10,000 dollars!  In the past, groups from as far the USA and the UK have participated.

This year, 3 Donkeys + 2 Baboons = Donkaboon, had the dubious distinction of coming in last place.  But for their efforts they were given the $207 USD prize.  As one judge put it "they worked hard for their money."  They provided much humor and laughter - particularly one member, whose pants provided absolutely no resistance to the air because of the large, gaping holes.  3 Donkeys + 2 Baboons = Donkaboon may not have made a musical impact this night, but they sure had the crowd laughing and entertained - which is a major part of this not-so-serious but still skilled competition.

The Antiguan Five Alive competition at the Moods of Pan Festival continues to be unconventional, peculiar, unpredictable, fun and extremely entertaining.  Moreover, this Antigua & Barbuda original music performance concept, is the most imitated steelpan music event around, since the introduction of "panorama".  We cannot wait for next year when we are sure the most diverse and largest number of contenders will be hitting the shores of Antigua & Barbuda for the 2008 Five Alive contest.  The only question left is: will the Antiguan giants of the Five Alive contest "Musical Youth" come out of retirement as maybe "Musical Men," to attempt to return the title back to Antigua, and to walk away with USD $10,000 at the same time?

More on Moods of Pan Festival: Click Here


For more info on Moods of Pan contact  -- Patrick Stone Johnson | email:   |1-268-727-6633 (cell)
Golden Hands Steel Orchestra | Franka Hills-Headley | email: |1-868-653-4117

contact -- When Steel Talks | email:

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