Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Five Traits Of Solid Steel Pan Players

Did you watch some of the Panorama performances recently? You can't but wonder what separates solid pan players from the rest. They all have something in common. You see it in those performances, various You Tube videos and when we think about it in our own personal playing. Here is what we see:

1) Attitude - one of the most important. Positive attitude is something you can see in a pan player's face. Even during those long, sometime difficult rehearsals and practice sessions, you can't help but see and feel a positive attitude about the instrument they play. It is a attitude of self confidence, especially when it is time to perform.

2) Determination - perhaps this comes from steel pan and its history. It means playing in spite of all the obstacles and hurdles. Many of us play steel pan as a hobby. Few of us do it as a profession. We have plenty of other "happenings" in our life to keep us busy. But we carve out time to play steel pan. We want to be good at it. And we are determined to get there.

3) Relentless - This is one of the most admirable traits. We are relentless in the sense that we will go to any lengths to learn from others. We will seek out others doing what we want to do. We watch videos. We listen to old recordings. We rehearse and rehearse and rehearse. Our relentlessness drives us to be better each time we pick up out sticks.

4) Learner - Steel pan is in a constant state of evolution. When you listen to pan players some 20 to 30 years ago, you hear a different style. With each year and decade, new players come along layering what they learn on top of new directions they want to take the instrument. You'll are gradually seeing that in some of the pan competitions and performances around the world. We are all learners.

5) Happy - This is different than attitude. When I perform or I watch others perform, they all seem to be enjoying what they are doing. As a matter of fact, that is one of the comments we hear most from audiences. We all look so happy. I have yet to see a performing pan player who doesn't seem to be enjoying doing what he is doing.

Do you have others traits we haven't mentioned? Let us know at info@steelpancollective.org.

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Monday, February 2, 2015

We're Back and Ready to Play!

As many of you, we took the month of January off. We didn't do a lot of social media stuff. So it may have seemed like the lights at Steel Pan Collective had gone dark. But that was not the case.

We have been working behind the scenes with the goal of making 2015 a great year for the SPC. Members of the board and our volunteers are busily working on the 2015 Pan People Music Festival in Denver. Since this is our first event in the city, we are certainly learning the ropes of working with the various agencies and locations. Honestly, it hasn't been easy.

The city had decided to put a halt to any new festivals in 2015. The reason being that Denver is VERY festival friends and we have close to 300 festivals between May and September. That puts enormous pressure on some of the city's resources. They, the city of Denver, is taking the year off to get a better handle on the festival load.

So, with the city saying no - not this year. We began searching for another location and had to get creative for our festival. Right now, we hope to finalize the location soon. We are very excited about it. So cross your fingers.

The format for the festival is a one day fun filled event featuring public performances of steel pan groups, exhibitors, a networking reception for participants and the public, and a screening of the film Pan! Our Music Odyssey. Dr. Kim Johnson will be on hand to talk about the film. (We've seen the film and think attendees will REALLY enjoy it). So stay tuned.

By the way, did anyone learn any good steel pan songs over the past few weeks?