Kaijah Codrington
image provided by K. Codrington

Meet Kaijah Codrington of Trinidad & Tobago - Performing Artist, Pan Builder, Tuner & Administrator

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Kaijah Codrington is currently an integral performing member of the Codrington Pan Family, a musical family who began their journey as a functioning ensemble on the streets of Port of Spain. The family, being of modest background, shares a special bond that holds fast to this day. Kaijah, the third son, as well as his other brothers and sisters were trained by their father, Cary Codrington. At the tender age of 5, Kaijah began learning his first song on the tenor (soprano/lead) pan. Often, Kaijah, along with his siblings, would have competitions among themselves to become the champion soloist at the home. These events, undoubtedly, played an important role in his personal development and, over time, he excelled in his skill and versatility on the steel pan instrument. Kaijah can now play any instrument of the steel pan family.

In 2004, Kaijah made his first overseas performance in the island of Curacao. As the years went by, a series of international tours and travels followed. These experiences helped him to understand and appreciate the need to develop his theoretical knowledge of music. He was then taught Grade 1 and Grade 2 music theory by his father in which he scored Distinctions. In 2008, Kaijah was enrolled in the birdsong Academy summer camp where he began learning to play the saxophone which has now been added to the list of instruments he can play.

At the end of his secondary school journey, Kaijah had a desire to join his older brother, Kareem, as a steel pan builder and tuner. In the year 2010, the Codrington Pan Family entered the Small Band category of the National Panorama competition. This endeavour was made possible by the hard working spirit of both Kaijah and Kareem and Gabriel “Doyle” Robley (deceased) who built the instruments needed to compete at this competition. One year later, the band’s main tuner, Mario Joseph, made arrangements for Kaijah and his brother to work at Gill’s Pan Shop as apprentices to the master steel pan builder, Sheldon Bess.

Kaijah’s ability and skill greatly increased under Mr. Bess’s direction. In the year 2011, he enrolled in an Advanced Steel Pan Tuning course offered by the University of Trinidad and Tobago where he was awarded a Grade A certificate. At that time, he was the youngest student to ever graduate from that class. During this course, he had the opportunity to learn from prestigious steel pan tuners such as Reynold “Tony Slater” Gilles, Lenard “Lenny” Leera and Bertram “Birch” Kelman. An invitation was given to Kaijah and his brother by Mr. Kelman to expand their steel pan construction knowledge and to construct new instruments for the Codrington Pan Family orchestra at his workplace.

Kaijah is now established as a professional steel pan builder and an upcoming steel pan tuner. He is currently working alongside master tuner, Roland Harrigin, whose legacy, skill and experience is moulding Kaijah. Mr. Harrigin’s outstanding international quality of work is now being mirrored by this young enthusiastic steel pan lover. Kaijah along with Kareem have recently formed the Codrington Family Institute, an organization established to further carry out the goals of the Codrington Pan Family.

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