Celebration of Women and the Steelpan Art Form

Tribute To Women In Pan

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Meet Candice Andrews-Brumant of Renegades Steel Orchestra - Trinidad and Tobago

“She is one of a select few panists where only a ‘first name’ is needed for instant recognition, anywhere in the world of Pan. In an exclusive interview with When Steel Talks, Candice Andrews-Brumant, captain of the world-renowned Renegades Steel Orchestra speaks on her unbridled passion for Pan, Renegades and dreams for the steelpan movement.” 

A When Steel Talks Exclusive

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WST - “When and how did you first become associated with the steelpan instrument?”

Candice A-B. - “I first became associated with the steelpan at the age of 15. As a child, between the ages of 12-15 years I stayed with my grandmother and uncles next door to Renegades Pan Yard; I was always interested in going over to the yard to listen to the band rehearse after I came home from school, after which, one of my current co-players Dexter Bernard came up to me and said “Why are you always peeping in the panyard?” “Why don’t you just come and play?” From then on I was encouraged to take a shot at it, and my uncles who played in the band before my time, also encouraged me to do the same.”

WST - “Over the years you have become one of the most recognized female members of the fabled Renegades Steel Orchestra how did that come about?”

Candice A-B. - “I am currently 1 out of 4 women who is currently playing with Renegades for more than 15 years. I am in my 23rd year as a player with the band. I started playing in 1991.  After 3 years I was named section leader for the double second section - of which I am still the section leader. I was always interested in being a vital part of any organization that I am a part of and I gradually moved up the ladder, by helping out wherever it was necessary and eventually, I served on committees as assistant secretary, secretary and vice-captain and now I have been captain for the past 3 years.”

WST - “What keeps your passion for the instrument going?”

Candice A-B. - “I bleed Renegades, I bleed music, Pan is our National Instrument and I am proud to be playing it. Being around my colleagues and teaching others to become better musicians keep my passion going.”

Candice Andrews-Brumant - captain of Renegades Steel Orchestra
Candice Andrews-Brumant

WST - “As a player, administrator and fan of pan - which role do you like the most?”

Candice A-B. - “I am being forced to choose here, but if I have to, I would say that I like administrating the most.”  

WST - “If you had the power to change something in Pan immediately what would that be?”

Candice A-B. - “The animosity between various steelbands and also the governing body of pan. I believe since steelband is our national instrument - which happens to be worshipped internationally - we need to be more united in it.”  

WST - “What have you been most proud about as it relates to Pan?”

Candice A-B. - “I am most proud about the introduction of pan in schools because I believe as citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, we all should be exposed to the national instrument from childhood, just as ballet, karate and gymnastics, etc.”  

WST - “What disappoints you the most in the steelpan movement?”

Candice A-B. - “The fact that as a player in a band, one still has to find a day job because being just a pan player cannot take care of one’s every need. Some players play their hearts out but there is no income.

“Why can’t we be millionaires who play pan just like millionaires who play football, basketball, cricket etc. Playing pan is also a skill!!”  

WST - “What would be your advice to the thousands of young female percussionists all over the world who are dreaming of following in footsteps such as yours?”

Candice A-B. - “Don’t give up on that dream. Keep aiming beyond the horizons. Stand firm and earn respect.”  

WST - “Who, and what are your musical influences?”

Candice A-B. - “My musical influences are my deceased father, (Edgar Andrews) who was an arranger and arranged for bands like Colgate Melodians, Dr Jit Samaroo and Mr Desmond Waithe, who have all influenced me in some way to pursue music.”

WST - “What is Panorama to you?”

Candice A-B. - “Panorama to me has become a tradition. It is supposed to be the greatest pan show on earth and with some more hard work from the governing body and also from us pan players, it will get there eventually.”

WST - “Is Panorama a curse or blessing from your perspective?”

Candice A-B. - “Panorama will always be a blessing from my perspective.”

WST - “Is Panorama a curse or blessing from your perspective?”

Candice A-B. - “Panorama will always be a blessing from my perspective.”  

WST - “What is the greatest challenge the steelpan music art form faces in Trinidad and Tobago today?”

Candice A-B. - “Respect! And I say this loud and clear.”  

WST - “What is your vision for the steelpan instrument?”

Candice A-B. - “My vision for the steelpan instrument is for it to have it’s own music i.e (music written specifically for the steelpan).

“Also, anyone involved with the steelpan - whether it’s playing pan, making pan, administrating, etc., must be able to have a regular 8-4 job with benefits by doing what they like, and; last but not least, for Pan to be recognized worldwide just like the piano, violin etc.”  

WST - “In this year’s ‘Big In De Dance’ sung by Anslem Douglas composed by Brian “Bean” Griffith you and some other prominent Trinidad female players are mentioned. Are females players getting their due recognition and respect in Pan in Trinidad?”

Candice A-B. - “Yes, I believe that female players get their due recognition and respect in Pan in Trinidad and Tobago.”  

  Bp Renegades Win Panorama 2019

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

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