“When I was seven, my mother took me to the Belmont Community Center in Trinidad for an event Belmont 5th Dimension Steel Orchestra was playing.
“It was right there and then I fell in love with “Pan.”
“I guess the look on my face compelled one of the players to come over to me and ask, “Yuh like PAN?” (They called him “Gorilla”). I was scared but said “Yes.” He then asked, “Yuh want to play?” I said “Yes!!” Then he said, “Tell yuh Mudda tuh bring you in de Panyard.” I looked up at my Mom and she gave me the nod of approval. I played my first Panorama in 1974 at 7 ½ years old (Shadow’s “Bass Man”) and continued to play with the band until the age of 13.
“In 1980, I started playing with Casablanca Steel Orchestra and joined their ‘Stage Side.’ Around the Panorama season, I would also play with other bands (up to eight at a time) just for the pure joy of absorbing beautiful music.”
Pan has become life for Michael Gabriel. He toured Europe and North America with Casablanca, relocating to the USA in 1987. To date, the versatile Gabriel is a composer, panist, producer, educator, pan tuner and vocalist.
He goes back home to Trinidad
and Tobago annually, playing
with Phase II Pan Groove for
Panorama. In 2015, Gabriel was
named Vice President of
Casablanca Steel Orchestra, and
arranged for the band for