Steelpan Arranger
Yohan Popwell - Steelband Arranger
WST Pan Photographer

Yohan Popwell

Yohan Popwell - Philadelphia Pan Stars (USA); Sonatas (USA); Curepe Scherzando; Harmonites; Sforzata
Panorama Championships
New York:  2004, 2007, 2009, 2010

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Yohan Popwell (born January 1, 1965  -- Trinidad and Tobago) arranger, educator, entrepreneur and soloist

Yohan Popwell is a Trinidadian steel pan arranger. He lives in Trinidad, near Port of Spain, with his wife Denise and daughter Denysha Yohanna. For a couple years Popwell arranged for London Panorama.

Popwell began playing the pan in 1976 at age 11. He has played with the Trinidad All-Stars for many years, serving for a while as tenor section leader. He has also played with Pandigenous Steel Orchestra.

In 1993 he founded the Panazz Players with Barry Bartholomew. The name comes from the group's musical selections, which are a hybrid of Pan and Jazz. This group was the premier small ensemble in Trinidad. It won the prestigious Pan Ramajay competition for small ensembles four times. The group toured internationally and played in the United States, St. Lucia, Japan and London. Their CDs include “Steel Pan Music” and “Panazz Live.” Other players in the group included Dane Gulston.

He is a member of the “Sons of All-Stars,” a trio consisting of Popwell, Dane Gulston and Clive Telemaque; all veteran players of the Trinidad All-Stars.

He also arranged one year for the Trinidad All Stars in the absence of their regular arranger Leon “Smooth” Edwards. However, his first winning Panorama arrangement was for Sonatas Steel Orchestra, of ‘War 2004’ by The Original DeFosto Himself in New York Panorama 2004.  His arrangement of Shadow's “Dingolay” was not only the first time for a new arrangement of a classic song to win Panorama, but also the first time a medium-category band was able to win preliminaries, semifinals, and finals. This occurred in Trinidad Panorama 2005 with the band CLICO Sforzata for which Popwell was the arranger.

  • Four-time New York Panorama champion arranger 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010
  • Spring 2007 Yohan earned 5th Level Music Theory from Trinidad's Queen's Royal College.

  • 2004 - War 2004 - Sonatas (New York) - 1st Place
  • 2005 - Dingolay - Sforzata (Trinidad) - 1st Place
  • 2005 - From Beyond - Sonatas (New York) - 3rd Place
  • 2006 - This Melody Sweet - Sforzata (Trinidad) - 1st Place
  • 2006 - This One's For You Bradley - Sonatas (New York) - 2nd Place
  • 2007 - Calypso Music - Sforzata (Trinidad) - 3rd Place
  • 2007 - Pan Lamentation - Sonatas (New York) - 1st Place
  • 2008 - The Ten Commandments of Pan - Sonatas (New York) - 3rd Place
  • 2009 - Bandoleros - Sonatas (New York) - 1st Place
  • 2010 - Battle Zone - Sonatas (New York) - 1st Place
An Exclusive When Steel Talks Interview with Yohan Popwell
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