Salah Wilson displays his book
- ‘Steelpan Playing with Theory’
Montréal, Quebec, Canada
The steelpan music movement - or the world for that matter - has never
had a shortage of dreamers and procrastinators who can always find a
reason why something ‘cannot happen.’ However, there are a
distinct few individuals who consistently buck that notion, by their simple know-how to get things done.
Upon meeting Mr. Wilson you come into the
immediate realization that this is one serious hombre. His
of experience in the steelpan music movement have bolstered him with
years of knowledge, as to what he can reasonably expect from a given
situation and more importantly - what it would take to get to the next
level. He exhibits those qualities that most successful
people have, which are - an expectation for success, a taste of success, and a
succeed because they are destined to, but most succeed
because they are determined to.”
‘In either case - Salah Wilson has it
He is indeed rational, talented, intelligent,
hardworking, self-sacrificing and committed. And yet while obviously none of
these traits can predict or guarantee successes, it is a safe
bet that success will be a continued
staple on Salah’s menu.
Salah’s Steelpan Academy
Salah is clearly a person who is forward
thinking. Although he is man of the present, he has
learned from and remembers yesterday’s events with vivid detail.
Moreover, he is planning for the future. Indeed, he is a
man who is always in three places simultaneously - yesterday, today
and tomorrow. His balance of these three realms contributes greatly to his even temperament, wisdom and drive.
He wants to get things done ‘like yesterday’ but he
is not reckless. He understands the importance of history and the
past, but is not stuck in or immobilized by them. He sees,
relishes and is excited by the prospects of the future
- but is astute enough to enjoy the present and is clear as to not
miss out on life’s treasured moments by being too totally caught up
in making other
Mr. Wilson clearly has no
interest in repeating the mistakes of the past as made by so many other
steelpan music related-organizations across globe. He is very
business-like and pays strict attention to details - indeed a trait
that is in short supply all too often in the steelpan music
community. His commitment to excellence is undeniable.
Just take look at his almost 400-page book “Steelpan Playing with
Theory” by way of an illustration of his diligence to detail. By the way everybody should own a copy.
Salah exudes an infectious and passionate aura about
the steelpan instrument, its music and people. This quiet
passion and focused intensity are also prominently displayed by members of his
When faced with tragedies that would
incapacitate most people, he deals with
and manages them as unavoidable ‘course adjustments.’ Even as Salah
revisits briefly the recent fire that
destroyed his home, personal, and valuable steelpan music items - the
rawness and pain of that wound are momentarily evident on his face.
But even as the emotions flicker across his visage, Mr. Wilson almost simultaneously
smacks himself (back
into gear) - ‘got to keep moving.
Salah Wilson among many things is an
entrepreneur, educator, arranger, author, father, husband, leader, philosopher
and community stalwart.
Moreover, he is a survivor and an extremely
humble individual with a lifelong love affair with the steelpan
instrument; he does not need to demand respect - he simply commands it
by his being.
Salah’s introduction to the steelpan came at a
very, very early age when the famed Flamingos Steel Orchestra
got its beginnings in his own grandmother’s yard - and he eventually
became a ‘naturalized member.’ His passion
for the instrument would lead him to Canada, then to America - and finally back to Canada where he would eventually settle
his outreach and operations.
One of the surest and most indisputable ways of judging Salah
is by observing the people who have been closest to and influenced by him,
and their subsequent accomplishments. As one observes
the members of his family, his students and colleagues - his impact
on their thought processes, methodology and dedication is
noticeable, and their own commitment is equally unwavering.
Salah Wilson revealed to When Steel Talks that
Rudolph Charles, the late manager and leader of Desperadoes Steel
Orchestra from Laventille, Trinidad - was a major influence on his
outlook. He and Charles developed a mutual admiration for each
other’s visions and ideas, and formed and maintained a close
relationship. Wilson himself employs a savvy business acumen
that was also characteristic of Charles in his leadership role with
Desperadoes - that is, understanding the moment and
environment that you are working in, and applying the necessary
strategy to achieve the success you wish to obtain.
In an era of fiscal responsibility, and for getting the
most bang for one’s investment buck, Wilson’s international outlook
and business model for music with the steelpan as its focus, is an
established vehicle with which to get on board. It does not
hurt at all that rarer commodities such as integrity, ethics and the
ability to unapologetically accomplish goals - are part of the
package of the proven and tested visionary known as Salah Wilson.
As per his vision, look for the Montreal
International Steelpan Music Festival to become one of the most
distinguished and respected music events in Canada.
Leave a comment