Posted: Friday, January 22nd, 2016. 4:27 p.m. CST.
By Aaron Humes: Representatives of Pandemonium Steel Band traveled to Trinidad and Tobago today to take part in the largest gathering of steelpan bands in the world, known as “Panorama”.
Steel pan music has grown out of its origin as a so-called “low-class” form of music, and is now played by indigenous bands around the world, jamming to different varieties and styles of melodies.
Director of Pandemonium, Alexander Evans, who is also assistant musical director at the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), told us he and his fellow band members are excited to learn from the masters, such as Liam Teague, who extended the invitation. They will not only earn lessons but also play with Teague’s band, “Silver Stars”, a two-time Panorama champion, during the 2016 event.
Pandemonium consists of 60 members, 30 each in its junior and senior groupings. It is backed by NICH, Restore Belize and UNICEF, and has been seeing positive growth recently.
This is Evans’ second consecutive trip to the twin-island republic; last year he spent part of the season learning from the Exodus Steel Band. He tells us that the lessons he and his four partners will learn will not be kept to themselves – the growth of steel pan music in Belize, he says, does not take place in a vacuum, but with each band sharing what they know with the others.
While in the home of steelpan, the Pandemonium group will be working among and meeting great arrangers and leaders of the steelpan movement, including men like Desmond Waithe, Seion Gomez, Len “Boogsie” Sharp, and Leon “Smooth” Edwards.
Panorama will be held on the Saturday before Trinidad and Tobago’s famous annual carnival, February 6, which also happens to be the birth date of iconic reggae musician Bob Marley.
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