Meet Damany James - Panist, Arranger, Educator & Percussionist - UpClose!

In an exclusive interview with When Steel Talks, the talented Damany James speaks on his love of the steelpan instrument and how it has impacted his musical life and experiences

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Brooklyn High School of the Arts-graduate Damany James has developed a special relationship with Pan. Within a relatively short time Damany has distinguished himself as a player, arranger and educator. The gifted young Brooklyn musician recently became the champion arranger for Higher Levin Steel Orchestra as they captured the 2016 Youth Pan Fest title in New York. 

Focused, humble, highly intelligent, driven and a student of the steelpan music art form - Damany is part of that new generation of New York panists who will carry the Pan forward into the future while meeting new and unforeseen challenges that threaten the continued existence of Pan in New York. Earlier this year WST (When Steel Talks) got to see him in roles of performer, leader and activist when Meyer Levin faced the threat of Charter School co-location.

Damany James
Damany James

During his interview with When Steel Talks, Damany was asked about what keeps his passion for the music going? He responded “Music is within me.” And that is all you need to know about what motivates him.  As for his future educational plans, Damany is looking forward to attending college as soon as it is financially possible to acquire his major in music - and then immediately on to masters and ultimately his doctorate.

Damany freely admits that music is something he cannot get away from. His motto as it relates to his embracement of music is “It is more than a hobby - it is a lifestyle.”

Asked about the current climate and environment in which Brooklyn steel orchestras now find themselves operating, Damany explains that he is most proud of the camaraderie and love exhibited by the Brooklyn steelpan music community. And he is most worried about the “yard situation.” He believes that the musical output could have been even better this year had the orchestras not been so stressed out by the lack of panyard space to properly practice without harassment and constant aggravation, and having to relocate multiple times within weeks.

Listen to Damany James in his own words, UpClose!



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