Celebration of Women and the Steelpan Art Form

Tribute To Women In Pan


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Meet Carol-Ann Andrews of Harvard Harps Steel Orchestra - Trinidad and Tobago

Her passion for Pan is unwavering and burns intensely.  She is a steelpan musician, steelpan mom, and steelpan administrator. In an exclusive interview with When Steel Talks, Carol-Ann Andrews of Harvard Harps Steel Orchestra, Trinidad and Tobago, shares her journey, insight, experiences and vision for the steelpan art form.

A When Steel Talks Exclusive


WST - “Tell us about Carol-Ann Andrews?”

Carol-Ann A. - “My name Is Carol-Ann Andrews, and at present I am the secretary and leader of the Tenor section of the band Harvard Harps.”

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

Carol-Ann A. - “I became associated with the steel pan instrument many years ago when I took two of my sons to play with Textel Pantastics as I thought it would be good for them to be exposed to our national instrument. They were shy as it was a group of adults, so I joined the group too and my life in pan began. At that time Dr. Jit Samaroo was the arranger of that little band so I started with the best. I really was so fortunate to have him as my first teacher. ”

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

Carol-Ann A. - “Since those early days playing with Textel Pantastics which later became TSTT Pantastics my passion became playing my pan and I've loved every moment that I have challenged myself to master this wonderful instrument. Having played with Silver Stars, Starlift, Woodbrook Modernaires, Brimblers, Skiffle and recently a band in St. Vincent called South East from Stubbs and of course my home band Harvard Harps, I am still working at being the best player I can be.”

WST - “Tells us about Harvard Harps?”

Carol-Ann A. - “Harvard Harps is a small band that is situated in The Harvard Sports Club, 106 Tragarete Rd., Port-of-Spain.  It was formed in 1992 by the late Mr. Lenigan Barnes and Carl Daly.  From a fun band that was known as "the outvaders" because Invaders had given the early members a few pans it has grown to become a band competing in the Panorama Competition.  In 2014 we entered for the first time. We did not make it into the semis but this year 2015 we did. We also come out on the road for j'ouvert morning Bomb competitions, "We beat" and Woodbrook Day playing the delightful arrangements of our arranger Mr. Douglas "Dougie" Redon.”

Carol-Ann Andrews
Carol-Ann Andrews

WST - “What are your greatest challenges you have faced in that arena?”

Carol-Ann A. - “Challenges are made to be overcome and I personally have overcome many. The most recent challenge was rebuilding our pan yard. We are an unsponsored band but with the help of some special people who were no doubt guided by God we have a beautiful Pan yard.”

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

Carol-Ann A. - “If I had the power to change anything in pan it would be to bring back the love, the real love that was there when I first started to play.  Nowadays most players put a price tag on their playing and the price is going up. ”

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

Carol-Ann A. - “I am very proud of the player that I have become, I'm proud that I can teach others what I have learnt along my journey.  But I'm most proud of Harvard Club"s six week summer sport and pan program that I have been part of in 2013 and 2014. I have enjoyed teaching the children aged five to fifteen years so that two years in a row they closed the camp with a concert, performing simple music  that I arranged.”

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

Carol-Ann A. - “I think that the Steel Band movement needs some fundamental directives but what is disappointing for me is that not many Trinidadians share my passion for the pan.  It is the hardest thing to get local people to join our band.  Foreigners are more interested. Recently a lady came all the way from Germany just to have a three week intense pan course with me.  She did very well.”

WST - “Where do you see Harvard Harps ten years from now?”

Carol-Ann A. - “Harvard Harps ten years from now? Hopefully will have a vibrant youth band "The Harvard Harpettes" and we will finally have more players in the band.

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

Carol-Ann A. - “My musical mentors are Dr. Jit Samaroo, the late Pouchet brothers Junior and Edwin, and the late Steve Dupres.  I  have the greatest respect and admiration for Mr. Ray Holman and Mr. Douglas "Dougie" Redon whose music I love to play. Playing all that great music has definitely influenced me.”

WST - “What is Panorama to you? ”

Carol-Ann A. - “Panorama to me was a real challenge for our little band. But we're not giving up. We have faith and we've come this far against all odds.”

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

Carol-Ann A. - “I  don't see Panorama as a curse.  Not at all.  Panorama forces one to be the best that they can be and that is not a curse.”

WST - “Can the steelband return to "the road" for Carnival Monday and Tuesday, in force?”

Carol-Ann A. - “I don't know that the Steel Bands can return to the road in full force. Speaking from my experience with Harvard Harps, we come out on J'ouvert and Monday night, we're pulled by a wrecker and its very expensive.  So If we had to come out both days all day, we couldn't afford it,  and, we would definitely have to pay players  so that would cost even more.”

WST - “From your perspective, what is the greatest challenge the steelpan music art form faces in Trinidad & Tobago today?”

Carol-Ann A. - “In my perspective, it seems that the greatest challenge of our art form, the steel pan, faces today is that although we have come a long way, we, the pan men and pan women are still not appreciated or respected enough by our own people in our own land.”

WST - “What are your thoughts on being a Woman in Pan - a female steelpan musician and one integrally involved with the art form in multiple  capacities?”

Carol-Ann A. - “My thoughts as a woman in pan is that I have lived to see more women playing our national instrument than ever before and that makes me smile. I'm so proud to be a woman in Trinidad in 2015 playing my tenor pan and I know that even more women will carry the torch in the future. Amen”

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

Carol-Ann A. - “My vision is that I would like the Steel pan more respected by the powers that be.  That maybe the competitions could be better structured. And that unsponsored steel bands get more financial help.”

WST - “Are there any other steelband-related matters you would like to bring forward?”

Carol-Ann A. - “A Steel Band related matter I would like to address .....  I would like to suggest that the Single Pan Competition not be held at Carnival time but rather at another time of the year.”

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