Celebration of Women
and the Steelpan Art Form

Tribute To Women In Pan - 2005



Tara Baptiste
 - The 'Nursing' Panist

Tara is one of the rare examples of children who follow in both their parents’ footsteps.  She is a qualified nurse and this calling came from her mother who is a midwife, whilst her musical skills with the steelpan as an arranger and panist derived from her father, the late Randolph Baptiste.  When asked about her initial involvement with the steelpan she replied, 'I grew up in the panyard as mom had to work nights, and as dad had to look after us this sometimes meant that we were taken to the panyard which was often.  I started playing when I was 10.’

She gets great enjoyment from playing the steelpan and looks forward to Panorama because of her cultural heritage and also the musical challenge it presents.  One of her treasured moments was in the 1987 Panorama when Stardust came third beating Ebony, Europe’s finest.   In fact her father was a founding member of Ebony before leaving in 1983 to form Stardust.

Tara is joint manager of their family band, Stardust, with her brother Adrian and sister Rhonda.  She is responsible for arranging their gigs and looks after the financial matters of the band whilst assisting Adrian and Rhonda with the musical arrangements.  She also lends her help to the Mas making side of Stardust which is also a Masquerade Band; in fact Randolph always boasted that he was the only steelband manager/arranger who also made Mas. 

When questioned about her vision for Stardust, Tara replied, ‘I would like to continue the valuable work Dad started with Stardust ensuring that we obtain a more established panyard to accommodate players and develop their musical skills.’  She continued, ‘The Steelpan fraternity in the UK must channel their efforts into the development of the instrument and its music, rather than being focused on short term financial gains, as this investment will ensure long-term growth of the art form and its greater recognition in world music.’

She has very fond memories of playing in the National Steel Orchestra led by Frank Rollocks at the Queen’s Jubilee in Buckingham Palace. She had never played in such a large and demanding orchestra before, but the experience boosted her playing skills as well as her confidence.  She prefers to play rhythm pans because of the dexterity of these instruments and is proficient with the guitar, double seconds and three pan cellos.

Tara is a very quiet and modest person who is the sort of individual who gets the job done rather than talk about it.  She is young, willing,  capable and full of enthusiasm.  A member of the new breed of pan musicians who will take this instrument to further realms of stardom and its rightful Podium. 

© and courtesy Robbie Joseph
PRO for the British Association of Steelbands


March 7, 2005


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