Web Posted - Wednesday August 14, 2019
When Steel Talks

Caribbean Steelpan Connextion live at Carifesta Grand Market

CSC Musical Director Kwesi Paul and local reggae gospel artiste Joel Positive Murray at a 2018 concert held by CSC

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Caribbean Steelpan Connextion (CSC) Ensemble is pleased to inform all steelpan lovers and music aficionados of its participation at the Carifesta Grand Market. The 10-piece ensemble will perform live at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Thursday August 22, 2019 from 5 p.m.

In keeping with the project theme of the Grand Market, The Streets of the Caribbean, Caribbean Steelpan Connextion promises visitors and patrons, a highly eclectic medley that is reminiscent of the various moods and sounds of the participating countries.
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Web Posted - Tuesday August 13, 2019
When Steel Talks

Pan Trinbago Celebrates Pan Month in August

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Pan Trinbago Inc. T.C. will be celebrating the 27th Anniversary of the Declaration of the Steelpan as the National Instrument of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago with a series of activities marking this auspicious occasion during Pan Month, August.

On the calendar is a wide variety of scheduled events including a Church Service (August 18) at the Holy Trinity Cathedral during which there will be the blessing of the steelpan, members and the bands’ flags. Trinity All Generation Steel (TAGS) and Daniel Gulston will perform during the service which starts at 8:00 a.m. This will be followed by a parade from the church to Pan Trinbago’s Head Office at Duke & Melbourne Streets, Port of Spain, where the festivities will continue.
see events list, read more

Web Posted - Tuesday August 13, 2019
Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Pan Trinbago vex with culture minister

‘She dropped the ball on pan in Carifesta’

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Pan Trinbago is most upset with Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, as well as the producer and promoter of the Island Beats concert that will bring the curtain down on Carifesta XIV on August 24.

The show, at the Queen’s Park Savannah, will feature international stars Shaggy, Kassav, Calypso Rose, Machel Montano and other local acts.

But Pan Trinbago feels it is sad that pan will not be represented at the concert, except for the playing of the national anthem.

A fiery Dane Gulston, Pan Trinbago’s external relations officer, blasted the minister for her response.

He said: “We went to the minister and she said: “Pan? Pan on stage with Shaggy and Machel?”

The minister told us straight out... and John Arnold (co-ordinator) say they looking for super artistes.

“So pan not good enough for that concert? Honestly, I think this is a total disrespect to the pan fraternity.”
read more

Web Posted - Monday August 12, 2019
When Steel Talks

Grenada 2019 Panorama Results - New Dimension Steel Orchestra Triumphs With Champion Arranger Cordel Byam

Champions New Dimension Steel Orchestra at the 2019 Grenada National Panorama

St. George’s, Grenada, W.I. - At Grenada’s 2019 National Panorama, one of the competition's youngest arrangers, Cordel Byam, guided now-twelve-time Panorama champion New Dimension Steel Orchestra to its latest victory lap around the national steelband music circuit.

....The third-largest band in the competition with seventy-five players, New Dimension was third on stage and skillfully rocked the musical world of the pan lovers in attendance, performing the popular 2019 soca ‘Trouble In The Morning’ by “V’ghn.” Byam's arrangement was masterfully constructed, well layered and punctuated with captivating transitions, for a total competition piece his musical army executed effortlessly, apace and with full exuberance. 
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Web Posted - Monday August 12, 2019
Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Salsa and steelpan

Arranger, anthropologist honoured in Cuba

El Cobre Steelband of Cuba with instruments donated by Gill Pans

Cuba - His passion for pan has been identified as the primary motivation for ensuring that our Caribbean neighbours are fully equipped to enjoy the sounds of the the steelpan.

Seventy-year old pan aficionado Merlin “Mutt” Gill attended the annual Fiesta del Fuego (fire festival) last month at Santiago de Cuba. There he received a plaque for his generosity having donated a shipment steelpans to a band in the community called El Cobre.

....He is the owner of Gill Pans which supplies pans and its accessories. “I sent a 40-piece orchestra. The Cubans treated me like a king.

....Last year, Gill read an article in the Newsday in which Sorrillo called on the public to donate a pan to members of the band in El Cobre. People including Gill contacted Newsday and pledged to assist. But Gill was the only one to fulfil his promise, first by donating two tenor steelpans. He subsequently donated more and earlier this year sent a local tuner to tune the pans.
read more

Web Posted - Wednesday August 7, 2019
When Steel Talks

United Kingdom - UK 2019 Steelband Panorama Line-up

London, U.K. - Saturday 24th August is the date set for the 2019 UK Panorama Championship being held at Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park, Kensal Road in London.

Five steel orchestras will rise up in musical challenge to reigning champ Mangrove Steel Orchestra, which this year is defending its title with the popular Savannah Grass by KES The Band arranged by Andre White. It is one of three bands going with this track as tune of choice.
read more, see line up

Web Posted - Wednesday August 7, 2019
Evening Standard

Notting Hill Carnival: Executive Director Matthew Phillip on the festival’s traditions and what to expect from this year

London, England - It all started back in January 1959. Claudia Jones, a Trinidadian human rights activist, organised a Caribbean Carnival at St. Pancras Town Hall in London – a celebration of West Indian culture that was televised by the BBC and so successful, it ran for a further six years.

Made-up of a series of indoor events which took place around London in the early 1960s, the carnival was promoted by Trinidadian husband and wife booking agents Edric and Pearl Connor [parents of the late Geraldine Connor].

....Jones’ 'indoor' carnival paved the way for what we now know as the Notting Hill Carnival.

....But the inaugural fayre took on a more carnival style owing to the renowned pan player Russell Henderson, who Laslett had asked to perform. Accompanied by his fellow pan band members – Sterling Betancourt, Vernon ‘Fellows’ Williams, Fitzroy Coleman and Ralph Cherry – Henderson walked along the Portobello Road as he played, piquing the interest of locals who began dancing to the music and following the band as it moved through Notting Hill.

That was Carnival number one, in 1966. And in just over two weeks' time, Notting Hill will host its 53rd.

....Ahead of it, Future London caught up with Notting Hill Carnival Ltd’s Executive Director Matthew Phillip, to find out how the festival has changed over the years and what Londoners can expect from 2019.
read more

Web Posted - Monday August 5, 2019
When Steel Talks

WST Upclose logo

Meet Salmon Cupid - Panist, Organizer, Arranger, Director, and Innovator

Salmon Cupid directing Toronto All Stars Steel Orchestra at the Raptors parade in 2019

Toronto, Canada - Recently steelband music history was created on a global scale when the Salmon Cupid-led Toronto All Stars Steel Orchestra participated in the 2019 NBA Champion Toronto Raptors live broadcast celebration parade, as hundreds of thousands watched the group perform directly behind the team’s float.

Salmon Cupid (inventor of the E-Pan) is straightforward, thorough, experienced and completely committed to the success of the steelband artform globally. In an exclusive interview with When Steel Talks, Cupid shares his understanding of the road to success as he sees it and lives it through his experiences, and much more.
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Web Posted - Sunday August 4, 2019
When Steel Talks

Antigua & Barbuda Panorama 2019 Results - Hells Gate Steel Steel Orchestra Notches 21st Win - Champion Arranger Khan Cordice Makes It 8

Hells Gate Steel Orchestra on their way to becoming the 2019 National Panorama champions

St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda, W.I. - Seven bands took the stage, but eventually with eight performances overall for the country’s 2019 national steelband Panorama competition, this event was definitely one for the record books... How about the same orchestra opening - and closing - the competition??? But more on that later.

....But first, and naturally, it’s hats off to, and another year of triumph for, Hells Gate Steel Orchestra now with twenty-one National Panorama Championships to its credit. The last eight of those titles have come under the baton of the musical ace, now ‘veteran’ steelband arranger and composer, Khan “KC” Cordice.
read more

Web Posted - Wednesday July 31, 2019
Music In Africa

The Traceys: An intergenerational story of African music

Geoffrey Tracey and father Andrew Tracey on steelpan having a jam

South Africa - Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson used a selection of local recordings of traditional African music to inspire his music for the film Black Panther, which won an Oscar for Best Original Score. He sourced these tunes from the International Library of African Music (ILAM), the world’s largest repository of indigenous African music, which was established by Hugh Tracey nearly 70 years ago, and then run by Hugh’s son, Andrew.

....In 1969 he [Andrew] started the Andrew Tracey Steel Pan Band, which performed around Grahamstown and South Africa and at festivals such as the National Arts Festival until 2007. During the 28 years Andrew headed ILAM, he lectured on African music at universities, schools and societies, and on TV and radio around the world.

....Geoffrey, born in 1972, is Hugh’s grandson and Andrew’s son. I spoke to him about taking the Tracey legacy forward.
DEREK DAVEY: What was it like growing up in the Tracey family and tradition?
GEOFFREY TRACEY: It was amazing. Music filled the home and musicians came around frequently. The Andrew Tracey Steel Pan Band was a big part of that; it was a platform to arrange and secure gigs with, all around the country. For many years it was a very popular thing for the public and for the people who passed through the band. It was like a mini school of international folk music. A number of the old members are music researchers now .
read more

Web Posted - Tuesday July 30, 2019
When Steel Talks

Great Expectations Delivered - NY Pan Stars Launch Lights Up the Hood with Electrifying Steelband Performances

NY Pan Stars Steel Orchestra performs at its 2019 band launch

Brooklyn, New York, USA - Back in the day one always had a favorite TV show that aired once a year. This was long before the era of Netflix and Hulu and DVDs. And no matter how many times you saw it - you knew it was going to be great every time. Like the ‘March of the Wooden Soldiers’ around Thanksgiving or Diana Ross & Michael Jackson’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ or the ‘Lion King.’ Great expectations delivered.

So on this sweltering 90-degree-plus Sunday evening, the stage sides of three of New York’s finest steel orchestras performed - Despers USA, Pan Evolution and the hosts New York Pan Stars. They did not disappoint.
read more

Web Posted - Friday July 26, 2019
When Steel Talks

Petoskey Steel Drum Band performs to a massive crowd at Concerts on the Lawn series

NY Pan Stars Steel Orchestra performs at its 2019 band launch

Michigan, USA - The Petoskey Steel Drum Band (PSDB) was part of the 2019 Concerts on the Lawn series at Grand Traverse Pavilions - Traverse City, Michigan. Featured on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., it was the turn of the band on July 25.

The group shared the following about the experience on Facebook: “Just a ridiculously massive crowd in TC [Traverse City] tonight to hear the PSDB. Estimate was 6,000+! Thank you everyone for coming out! And Thank You to the Pavilions and Jessi Weir for the invitation. Hope to see you all next year. PSDB.”

Take in video of their performances at the following link.
click to see clips

Web Posted - Wednesday July 24, 2019
When Steel Talks

Antigua & Barbuda National Panorama Steelband Music Competition

The Anatomy of Panorama 2019 - Quick Chart

St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda, W.I. - Saturday August 3, 2019 is the date for the annual Antigua & Barbuda National Panorama in the country’s capital of St. John’s. This year, no doubt the quest will be on in earnest to break last year’s “tie” for the Panorama champion title between Hells Gate and Panache steel orchestras. And of course there are other orchestras, five in total, also determined to be best in this musical wrestling match known as Panorama.
read more

Web Posted - Wednesday July 24, 2019
When Steel Talks

Trinidad & Tobago Chinese Steel Ensemble Wows Audiences in Toronto

Trinidad & Tobago Chinese Steel Ensemble’s performance at the Summit Garden Restaurant

Toronto, Canada - The Trinidad & Tobago Chinese Steel Ensemble (TTCSE) took Toronto by storm during their recently-concluded performances a couple of weeks ago.

....This small ethnic group, captained by Susie Young, received rave reviews from all those in attendance, many of whom were well known in the entertainment industry.

...The band’s performances included a sold-out banquet and repeat performance at the ever-popular Summit Garden Chinese Restaurant...
read more

Web Posted - Monday July 15, 2019
When Steel Talks

Supernovas Steel Orchestra Headlines July’s Edition of Pan For The People Concert Series

Pan Trinbago logo

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - The steelband pride of Lopinot, Supernovas Steel Orchestra will headline this month’s “Pan For The People Concert” series in Trinidad & Tobago.

Hosted by the Eastern Region of Pan Trinbago, the free concert will take place at the Sangre Grande Cordettes Pan Yard, Foster Road, Sangre Grande on Saturday July 27, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. Contributions will be accepted.

The region staged a steelband coup in pulling in the topnotch band, Supernovas. The band is reputed as having one of the most vibrant stage sides which was evidenced at the recently-concluded North-East Pan Spektakula in Arima.
read more

Web Posted - Saturday July 13, 2019
When Steel Talks

Steelpan Music Legends

Cordell “Spongy” Barbour - Steelpan Great

by Kathryn Barbour

Cordell giving a private concert

Global - Lore has him as one of the greatest double-tenor players to have ever walked the planet. Through the eyes of someone who knew him closely—his former wife Kathryn Barbour—the steelband world gets an upclose and personal look at the man known as Cordell “Spongy” Barbour.

On August 16, 1941, Cordell Delano Barbour was born in John-John, Trinidad, the firstborn child of Julitha Barbour and George Masanto. He was named after the U.S. secretary of state at the time, Cordell Hull, and the U.S. president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. From an early age, he clashed with his father and was sent to be reared by his grandmother in John-John. The war years were hard, and his grandmother was poor. He remembered often being hungry and as an adult, would stress to others that no one could know of hunger by reading about it. They had to experience it.....
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Web Posted - Wednesday July 10, 2019
When Steel Talks

When a great idea meets a great idea - simply a charmed Pan experience

The birth of Carib Parlor Notes

Garvin Blake on double second and Ron Reid on double bass

Brooklyn, New York, USA - Let’s start with the end. The inaugural session of Carib Parlor Notes featuring performing artist and panist Garvin Blake was extremely successful. It was a groundbreaking event with vast historical, cultural, and artistic and intellectual significance. All who were present felt the love and warmth generated. Moreover they all knew they were part of something very special.

Now, fast-forward to the beginning.

As hostess and co-director Hazel Beckles Younglao said, “We want to share our pot of gold with you.” A pot of gold it was, and she and her husband, Terah, did indeed share—their home, and the energies vibrating throughout the abode on this evening in particular—with all those who were present.
read more

Web Posted - Monday July 8, 2019
Now Grenada

New Dimension dedicates Pan Xpression win to fallen comrade

Pan Xpression (Bomb Tune) win dedicated to Adrina Byam
Defending arranger Cordel Byam described moment as bittersweet

New Dimension Steel Orchestra wins Pan Xpression 2019 in Grenada

Grenada - New Dimension Steel Orchestra dedicated their Pan Xpression (Bomb Tune) win to Adrina Byam, a long-standing player who passed away in February of this year.

Amassing 278.5 points, New Dimension already has 5 Pan Xpression titles under its belt. Performing their rendition of Bridge of Troubled Waters by Aretha Franklin, the currently unsponsored steelband managed to defeat their 2nd place rival, Republic Bank Angel Harps by 2.5 points (276), with Suzuki Food Fair Pan Wizards settling for 3rd position with 270 points. Republic Bank Angel Harps and Suzuki Food Fair Pan Wizards tied for 1st place in 2018.

Defending arranger Cordel Byam was quite emotional, and described their moment as bittersweet, following the loss of one of their star players and his sister. “I feel speechless and overwhelmed. I did this for my sister so that’s the best thing I can say...”
read more

Web Posted - Monday July 8, 2019
When Steel Talks

An ‘Ivory & Steel’ Moment in Pan - BSO’s Tribute to Ken “Professor” Philmore at ‘Pan Is Sweet’ 2019

Leon Foster Thomas and Khuent Rose at the Roulette Intermedium

Khuent Rose & Leon Foster Thomas at ‘Pan Is Sweet’ 2019

New York, USA - The one thing there was no shortage of at the 2019 Brooklyn Steel Orchestra (BSO) Summer production of ‘Pan Is Sweet’ at the Roulette Intermedium, was great memorable music performances.

The BSO show producers again hit the nail on the head when they asked Pan standout, Leon Foster Thomas, to give a live performance in tribute to the late musician and global ambassador of the steelpan instrument, culture and music - Ken “Professor” Philmore. And of course, the collaborating of the extraordinary musical mind and talent of Khuent Rose (himself an outstanding panist, and much more) on piano with Thomas, was indeed a brilliant move. It was a total Leon and Khuent experience.
read more

Web Posted - Saturday July 6, 2019
Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Sweet success for Music Makers

Music Makers graduates put on a recorder duet and pan performance

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - The success of Music Makers Music School continues as proud music director and founder Merle Albino-de Coteau turns young children into well-rounded teens and adults.

The pan pioneer and educator is a shining light in Laventille as many youths, teens and adults look up to her for taking them along a path of success.

She is “proud to be Laventille” and every year boasts and shows off the success of Music Makers Music School. This year was special, Albino-de Coteau received 100 per cent passes in the Associated Board of The Royal School of Music (ABRSM) and the Graded Examinations in Solo Steelpan Performance of the University of the West Indies.

Last Saturday Music Makers kept its annual Achievement Day Celebrations at the school (Albino-de Coteau’s home) 206 Eastern Main Road, Laventille. The occasion was also a celebration of Albino-de Coteau’s 80th birthday.
read more


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