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Meet Keisha Codrington of Trinidad & Tobago

Keisha CodringtonIn 2005 When Steel Talks wrote -- Keisha has been dubbed a prodigy by her parents and those who have heard her perform. She plays the tenor with the Pan Family Steel Orchestra. She is an extremely gifted soloist, who has performed extensively throughout Trinidad. She entered a Pan Soloist Under 15 Competition in 1999 and placed 5th at the finals. Keisha is ten years old and began to play the tenor at the tender age of three.

Keisha is the Pan Soloist Champion at Sanfest 2001 and also the Soloist Champion for the Schools Steelband Music Festival 2001. She placed second in the soloist category of Pan Ramajay 2002 and teamed up with her father to win the duet category. In 2003, she won the Citigroup's Twelve and Under Series where her prize entailed a trip to Disney World. Keisha is presently the champion soloist of the World Steelband Music Festival (WSMF) 2004. She teamed up with her father to win first runner-up position in the duet category, and along with her father and two of her brothers placed first in the quartet category of the WSMF 2004. In 2005 Keisha has made history by becoming one of the youngest steelband Arrangers in the Trinidad and Tobago National Panorama when she arranged for Success Laventille Composite School in the Junior Steelband Panorama competition. The band placed fifth.

The young star panist wants to be an Ambassador for her country, performing to international audiences, including Kings, Queens, Princes and Heads of States. She also wants to be a Music Teacher.

Fast forward to 2013 -- Yep... She’s bad! And we all know it. Prodigy, Child Star, Girl Wonder, Phenom; who hasn’t heard of Keisha Codrington? Still humble, considerate and blessed with immense talent - Keisha, now a confident young lady, speaks with When Steel Talks in an exclusive interview...

A When Steel Talks Exclusive

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WST - “You are part of what can be termed Trinidad & Tobago’s “First Family of Pan.” What are your earliest memories of Steelpan, being part of the Codrington Pan Family?”

Karima M. - “I can remember being under a mango tree in a yard and my dad teaching my brothers and me to play the Steelpan. I also remember playing the Steelpan with my family on the streets of Port of Spain.”

WST - “You were recognized quite early as a music prodigy in the steelpan art form; what do you remember about the attention drawn to you because of your abilities?”

Karima M. - “A lot of people wanted me to perform in their shows and take part in their competitions. I was the highlight at many concerts.”

WST - “Do you play any other music instruments?”

Karima M. - “Yes. I also play the piano/keyboard, African drums, drums set and other percussion instruments, trumpet, and I am presently learning the acoustic and bass guitars.”

WST - “As a steelpan musician, you embody intellect, talent, youth and beauty. What advice would you give to girls younger than yourself, who wish to become steelpan musicians?”

Karima M. - “The same advice that I would give to anyone; keep practicing.”

Keisha Codrington - Steelband Arranger
Keisha Codrington

WST - “Your Mom, Dad, brothers and sisters are all accomplished musicians, and music is the family’s business - talk about what it is like growing up in such a family-focused music environment?”

Karima M. - “The music draws us closer to each other and because of that we do almost everything together and we learn to help out each other. There are also the long hours of practice that we all endure together, competing and learning off each other and the numerous performances both local and international.”

WST - “You are also a music arranger in your own right - when did you first realize that you were talented in this direction?”

Karima M. - “In 2005 I was asked by Success Stars Pan Sounds to arrange for them for the Junior Panorama competition. Before then the thought of arranging never occurred to me. It was truly a learning experience and an eye-opener.”

WST - “It is WST’s understanding that the instruments of the Codrington Pan Family are manufactured by family members. How much are your personal experiences in this direction, if any?”

Karima M. - “None. All I do is play them after they have been made. J

WST - “You play Pan on the iPad - how is it? Do you think it could be a ‘gateway’ entry for young people interested in playing Pan, including those who have not tried the actual instrument, but have access to the iPad instead?”

Karima M. - “It is a real fun experience. I think it is a very useful tool to teach young people, as they are generally more interested in technology.”

WST - “Your Mom, Karen, has been the drummer for the Codrington Pan Family for Panorama - what is it like having her anchoring the steel orchestra?”

Karima M. - “I play percussion next to her in the Panorama band and it’s a great feeling. Sometimes we co-arrange some of the different rhythms that you hear in our Panorama arrangement. I am overjoyed.”

WST - “What is Panorama to you?”

Karima M. - “To me Panorama is a time when steelpan arrangers, players, tuners, builders and managers can all come together to create something that is beautiful and majestic both musically and visually. Though, I think it is marred by politics, corruption and the narrow-minded outlook of some people.”

WST - “Your family is music; music is the Codrington Pan Family; what are your interests - outside of music?”

Karima M. - “I like to play sports; basketball and football. I also like hanging out with friends and going to the beach.”


WST - “The Codrington Pan Family proudly calls Laventille, Trinidad, home. Have you, an ace female steelpan musician, hailing from Laventille, ever encountered challenges regarding social discrimination while interacting with fellow Trinidadians?”

Karima M. - “No, none that I am aware of. Wherever we go people are always proud of us because of what we have accomplished as a family.”

Their Story, Their Voice, Their Life, Their Dreams - click for more stories

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