Meet Luz Carime Santa-Coloma - NYU Graduate, Panist & Percussionist - UpClose!

In an exclusive interview with When Steel Talks, recent NYU graduate Luz Carime Santa-Coloma speaks on her special relationship with the steelpan instrument and how it has transformed her musical perspective and enhanced her college life experience
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Recent New York University (NYU) graduate Luz Carime Santa-Coloma has developed a special relationship with Pan, and the steelpan music art form; in short she has lived the experience of Pan.  Her meeting with the steelpan instrument was not originally by design, but over the last four years her fondness and passion for instrument are unquestionable. She is now a panist headed for a lifelong love affair..

On her introduction to the steelpan family of instruments at NYU, Carime says that to her, it was “So amazing to have so much fun on an instrument that was so new to me.”

Luz Carime Santa-Coloma
Luz Carime Santa-Coloma

Beyond her normal course work and studies Carime took advantage of experiencing New York Pan-life first-hand by joining Brooklyn’s CrossFire Steel Orchestra for Panorama in her sophomore year.

Asked about what led to her venturing into the steelpan environment further a field past NYU Steel, Carime explains that “...Aside from how happy it makes me - playing pan, and the music—that I love—the community and the people -- everyone is so nice. And when I watched CrossFire play in the Panyard, it was like ‘Wow, everyone is having so much fun - everyone is dancing.’ ....It was just incredible to see everybody just so in love with what they are doing at that moment. That was when it was like ‘Wow - I want to be a part of this!’”

Listen to Luz Carime Santa-Coloma in her own words, UpClose!


Carime remembers her first Panorama performance with CrossFire in the annual New York Panorama as “...the one I will never forget, because it was the type of performance I have never experienced before. It was like - breathtaking...” she says, reliving the experience while sharing on it.

Her Panorama-style experiences didn’t end there. In the Summer of 2015 she joined BSO (Brooklyn Steel Orchestra) and traveled to Trinidad to participate in the International Conference and Panorama (ICP) “It was similar, but also completely was very challenging, but it was amazing.  And I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Luz Carime Santa-Coloma on bass with NYU Steel and BSO
Luz Carime Santa-Coloma on bass with NYU Steel and BSO during NYU’s 2016 Spring concert

Overall, Carime’s takeaway from her interactions in the pan yard community and steelband culture? The ability to stay positive, and remaining upbeat in general in her outlook on life.

Instead of the formal approach of playing via sheet music, the ‘LLL’ (look, listen, learn) then play method known as ‘rote’ became her constant reality in the pan yard. “I think learning by rote is very valuable. It was really hard for me at first... but it definitely helps my ear, with music. And now I actually prefer it - learning by rote rather than reading music, ‘cause when you read sheet music, there is a disconnect between, visual, like your hands....By rote you are forced to memorize it, you are forced to really understand the music, and the direction of the melody...I think that’s really important....and I really am much better now.”

Carime’s has undergone first-hand the rigors and commitment of a Panorama band in its pursuit of excellence. Now - her plans include incorporating pan in her future compositions and arrangements.

Look for Luz Carime Santa-Coloma as the ‘Woman on the Bass’ this Summer.

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