Coming from a rich steelpan heritage, Barry is the nephew of the Father of the Modern Steelpan – Dr. Ellie Mannette. He was strongly influenced in his pursuit of music by his father, steelpan trail-blazer, instrument tuner, and band leader Vernon Mannette. With his father’s encouragement, Barry began playing the steelpan at age 11,and from there went on to perform with many of the top steel orchestras in Trinidad and Tobago, such as Invaders, Renegades, Desperadoes, Phase II Pan Groove, Humming Birds Pan Groove, Harmonites, UWI Festival Steel and Starlift, among others. He has also performed with the Northern Illinois University Steelband and the Pastiche Steel Ensemble of Illinois.
In an effort to expand the repertoire of the instrument, Barry himself became a pioneer at age 19, creating new arrangements for the steelpan now performed worldwide. Some of his arrangements include It’s Showtime and Battle Zone composed by Edwin Pouchet, Ole Lady Walk a Mile and a Half by Kitchener, Three Little Birds and One Love by Bob Marley, Doesn’t Mean Anything by Alicia Keys and Thriller by Michael Jackson to name a few.
The connection to his father Vernon Mannette doesn’t end at soloing and arranging. Barry’s passion for teaching young people is evident in this founding of the Starlift Jr Steel Orchestra, which went on to be recognized internationally, touring Canada in 2010. The band won the Junior Panorama Competition at the Montreal International Steelpan Festival, and placed second in the Adult Category of the Panorama at the same festival. Barry was a music tutor for the National Youth Steel Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago which was started by Pan Trinbago in 2009. Summer vacations find him teaching steelpan with the City Angels Music Camp, sponsored by the Music Literacy Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. As an educator, he is aligned with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, London, and has been teaching music theory to students of all ages with a remarkable success rate. Because of his dedication to educating young people, Barry carries forward the torch that his father lit, teaching future generations that arty of playing the steelpan and, and a love of music. He has also been a Steelpan tutor with the Northern Illinois University Community School of the Arts since 2011.
Not only is Barry Mannette a steelpan soloist, arranger and pedagogue, he expanded his capabilities to include leadership as Captain, Manager, Secretary and of the Starlift Steel Orchestra from 2005-2008, and directed the group from 2007-2011. Additionally for the past 2 years he has been the Co-Music Director of the Northern Illinois University All University Steelband. He was also involved with the St Joseph Convent Steelband during their performance at the school steelband festival where they were awarded third place.
In constant pursuit of a higher education, Barry obtained his Certificate in Music in 2007 from the University of the West Indies and in 2010, a Bachelors in Musical Arts from the same institution. In 2013 he completed a Masters of Music at Northern Illinois University where he studied with world-renowned panist, Associate Professor of Steelpan, Liam Teague and the legendary Cliff Alexis. Barry then went from Illinois directly to St. Vincent where he arranged for the South East Steel Orchestra for the Panorama competition, placing 3rd.
Since his return to Trinidad in 2013, Barry has started teaching at the University of the West Indies St. Augustine as well as several private and public primary schools. Additionally, he has been appointed Principal of the Exodus School of Music and the Arts where he is in charge of the music program for kids from 5 to 12 plus years of age. He also still tutors privately with a 100% success rate with students writing the Royal Schools of Music Theory examinations.