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Vanessa Alexandra Headley - Steelpan Gem

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Celebration of Women and the Steelpan Art Form

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Vanessa Headley - Steel panist Steel panist Vanessa Headley

Global - Vanessa Alexandra Headley has been playing the steelpan, the national instrument of her native Trinidad and Tobago since the age of four (4).  She placed first in the Caribbean Secondary Examinations Music Exam in 2004 and later received a three-year academic scholarship from the Music Literacy Trust of Trinidad and Tobago and pursued a Bachelor of Arts in the Musical Arts at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine, Trinidad.

Now aged twenty-one, Miss Headley has won over twenty-two music festival championships.  She has performed on all the instruments of the steelpan family, but her instruments of choice are the Double Seconds and the Extended Seconds (an innovation of Master steelpan builder and tuner Bertrand Kelman).  Because of her commitment to showcasing these instruments she also performs with four sticks (mallets).

Vanessa Headley has been composing and arranging since the age of fourteen and has won first place for her compositions in the University of the West Indies Musica Nova composition festival.  After a successful three-year stint in arranging for her band Golden Hands Steel Orchestra, in the National Junior Panorama of Trinidad and Tobago, Vanessa set her sights on the National Panorama arena.  Her arrangement of Shadow’s Dingolay earned the first-time participants, Golden Hands, second place in a field of forty-two small steel orchestras.

Vanessa is the CEO of the prestigious Golden Hands Steel Orchestra and has represented Trinidad and Tobago, not only in Antigua & Barbuda, but also in Dominica, Martinique, and the USA at Howard University and the University of Delaware. She has conducted steelpan workshops in her native Trinidad and Tobago as well as at the Delaware School of the Performing Arts and the McCollum High School, in Austin, Texas.

In 2008 Ms. Headley was the star soloist at one of the main showcase concerts of the Percussive Arts International Convention (PASIC) - also in Austin, Texas.  Her role was central to the presentation of Golden Hands’ original steelband musical “The Rainmakers.”

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