The CultureMix Steel Band Festival showcases the musical talents of hundreds of Berkshire children at an annual public concert.
For 2018 the festival took place at the Hexagon Theatre in Reading on 16 June.
With guest artist ‘The Mighty Melody Invaders’ a children’s reggae band from Western House Academy in Slough, and the virtuoso pan musicians of RASPO Ensemble, the CultureMix Steel Band Festival returned with a massed choir and steel band collaboration for a performance of an original piece written especially for the event.
‘Let’s Play Steel Pan’ is a song written for children’s choir and steel orchestra that tells the story of the musical instrument from its beginnings in the tiny twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago to a sensational global activity for all to enjoy.
In this short film children and teachers talk about their experience of taking part in the Festival.
Let’s Play Steel Pan
All of the steel pans set up in rows.
All of the players ready to go
The conductor taps on the side of the pan.
(1-2-3-4) Let’s play Steel Pan
This is the story of the steel pan
That started life in a faraway land
Called Trinidad… where there’s sea and sun
and the carnival is for everyone
First they were oil drums wanted no more.
Thrown from the ships – washed up on the shore
They never knew…. that the drums one day
Would cross the world to play – for you….
How does an oil drum make a steel pan
Not manufactured recycled by hand
We sink the bowl…. till it’s deep and round
Hammer tunes the notes to get the sound
The hammer goes bang – the note is still flat
It bangs once more – the pitch is exact
Hang on a stand… so perfect and proud
As the excited crowd – gather round.
The lead tenor rings and the melody sings
Double seconds and guitars the harmony brings
The cello pans talk such a beautiful sound.
The bass and tenor bass – deep and profound
The crowd go wild and they stamp their feet
Clapping their hands to the calypso beat
Now everyone….. feels the musical vibes
It’s carnival time.
It’s carnival time!
By Mary Genis, Paul Jr Watson & Dani Richardson
© CultureMix Arts Ltd 2018