Celebration of Women and the Steelpan Art Form

Tribute To Women In Pan

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Meet Anesha Carbon - United Kingdom

“Pan itself, I don’t think I would change anything. I think it would just be people outside of the community’s views. It’s not ‘tin pan,’ ’dustbin lids,‘ you shouldn’t knock the instrument with your knuckles as you are walking by. It’s to be as respected as a grand piano.” 

She is a veteran core member of UK’s champion Ebony Steel Band with something to say. Moreover she is well beyond being just a Pan enthusiast and player. So Listen Up! as Anesha Carbon, in an exclusive interview with When Steel Talks - shares her feelings, experiences, and insight into the Steelband music art form and more.

A When Steel Talks Exclusive

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WST - “How and when were you first introduced to the steelpan?”

Anesha C. - “I was first introduced to steelpan when I was around eleven years old. I used to go to a summer club at my local church and Saloum, one of the staff, used to take us to Ebony Steelband for workshops.”

WST - “You are a proud member of the champion Ebony Steelband - talk about this experience through the years?”

Anesha C. - “Yes I am a proud member of Ebony Steelband. Wow, I have done so much with the band. I’ve been able to travel the world, win multiple Panoramas. I’ve become a pan tutor. I was honoured to be the band captain for 5 years. I have a pan family. Everything feels right when I’m playing with the band. I am a part of the band and the band is a part of me.”

WST - “Do you perform with Ebony at other times during the year?”

Anesha C. - “Yes, I do all kinds of gigs with the band.”

Anesha Carbon
Anesha Carbon with UK's Ebony Steelband

WST - “Being female, were you cautioned or perhaps even dissuaded in any way, from becoming involved in the steelband art form?”

Anesha C. - “I know that in the history of pan to be a female in pan wasn’t what was easily accepted. With Ebony Steelband I have always felt welcome and encouraged to take Pan as far as I would like to. Me playing pan has always been celebrated in and out of the pan community.”

WST - “Do any of your family members play pan?”

Anesha C. - “I am the only member of my family to play pan.”

WST - “What keeps your passion for pan going?”

Anesha C. - “The love of pan is what keeps my passion. The feeling that I get when I’m playing my tenor. The feeling that I get when the whole band has worked so hard on a piece of music and we execute it with pure love.”

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

Anesha C. - “I was most proud when Ebony Steelband went to Trinidad to perform in the Savannah for ICP (International Conference and Panorama). Every time I go to Trinidad people always ask "Aren’t you going to play pan?" Yes, but playing on the Drag and on the stage in the Savannah is the best feeling! I can now say "Yes, I have felt that with my band and it was Epic!"”

WST - “What about the Pan fraternity do you find most disappointing?”

Anesha C. - “I wish that there was more for pan. More bands in panorama. More bands coming together to help bring pan forward in the U.K.”

WST - “Do you think the steelband community and its musicians are well-regarded/respected in the UK and the rest of the world?”

Anesha C. - “I think some of the musicians are well-regarded/respected in the U.K. and around the world. I would like more musicians to come out and showcase their talents. I think that might be why a lot of amazing musicians aren’t at the moment. Might be because they are shy or don’t have the confidence.”

WST - “What is your vision for Pan in the UK a decade from now?”

Anesha C. - “I see more pan events in the next decade. We need more pan on TV and the internet. But I believe that it’s coming.”

WST - “If you could change one thing about Pan what would that be?”

Anesha C. - “Pan itself, I don’t think I would change anything. I think it would just be people outside of the community’s views. It’s not ‘tin pan,’ ‘dustbin lids,’ you shouldn’t knock the instrument with your knuckles as you are walking by. It’s to be as respected as a grand piano.”

WST - “You may have come across colleagues who did not understand what you mean when you say you ‘play pan’ - if this has ever been the case, talk about how shared your steel band experiences, and their reactions.”

Anesha C. - “Every time I have spoken about pan to someone new to the instrument I can’t help myself I have to bring out the photos and YouTube clips. The reaction is always one that is in awe and excitement. Usually with a “I’d love to come and watch that looks amazing””

WST - “What advice would give to young and upcoming females who would like to follow in your footsteps as a female steelpan musician?”

Anesha C. - “I would say go for it. The world is your oyster. Master one pan at a time incorporate pan in as much as possible. Pan is to be shared and celebrated.”

Anesha Carbon (right)
Anesha Carbon, at right

WST - “After playing Pan for some time, several young adults eventually cease playing. Do you have any plans in this regard?”

Anesha C. - “I will play pan FOREVER! I’ve tried to take time out before but the pan jumbie in me always draws me back in. It is a part of who I am.”

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

Anesha C. - “I would just like there to be more international pan competitions. There are so many pan communities around the world and we all need to celebrate pan together more. Pan is about togetherness. I feel like we all should show it more. Shout it out to the world. We Love Pan!”

Anesha Carbon
Anesha Carbon

photos provided by Anesha Carbon

   Anesha Carbon performs with Ebony Steel Band during the orchestra’s 2017 U.K. Panorama Performance

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