‘Heart of Steel’ Steals Hearts
The South East Steel Orchestra may just have added to the number of hearts its members have stolen with their infectious music. This after the Orchestra’ concert dubbed ‘Heart of Steel’, staged at the Aquatic Club on April 26th and 27th 2012, transformed that club into a veritable haven for music and arts enthusiasts and pan lovers in particular.
The evenings pan, theatre and dance were filled with an array of different genres of music, from classical to calypso, blues, jazz, latin, reggae and gospel. The programme presentation was unique in itself with its segments of movements and interludes.
Movement 1, entitled ‘Give Thanks and Praise’ featured the song, ‘If I tell God’, and moved smoothly through with songs like ‘Lift Every voice and sing’ as well as ‘O Praise ye the Lord’ by Noel Dexter.
The interludes were particularly interesting. The first two interludes by Urban Expressions Theatre Co. were informative yet funny. The first featured a call in programme during which greats like Bob Marley and Mozart called in to weigh in on their respected genres of music. The 2nd Interlude featured a crowd favourite in which 2 boxers, ‘Calypso’ and ‘Reggae’ staged a fight to see which genre would come out on top.
The 2nd movement, ‘East meets West’, featured jazzy songs like ‘I’ve got Rhythm’ and ‘Just the 2 of us’, while the 3rd Movement ‘The Caribbean: Land of our Birth’, featured songs from greats like Bob Marley and David Rudder.
The timbre of the pan was rich and vibrant and keen attention to dynamic and expressive elements of the music by the band members was evident, though some endings were a bit abrupt.
The the 2nd, 3rd and 4th movements had the audience rocking from side to side and showcased guest artistes like Shernelle ‘Skarpyon’ Williams, who sang some of his Ragga Soca Hits and got the crowd involved, as well as Saeed Bowman whose young talent is always inspiring.
A splash of Soca was also present with the Rennaisance Dancers performing to “Colours Again”. Ronnie Robinson Davies also performed as a soloist with Latin flair in an ensemble that featured pan, conga drums and more.
The 5th and final movement, ‘Sweet pan anthems’ fittingly included one of the sweetest local calypsos of 2011, ‘Pan dream’ by ‘Skarpyon’ and Joffre Venner”, closing the concert the right way.
Nanton in control
The group’s director, Marla Nanton, has carried on a love affair with the instrument of steel pan for a number of years, having joined the GHS Steel Orchestra at an early age, moving on as a member of the Rhythmix steel orchestra and further honing her skills on the pan in New York.
As the first female director of the South East Steel Orchestra, Marla led each piece with clear pleasure and passion for the group and the instrument.
Nanton may be new as an arranger but she most definitely managed to present a repertoire that was entertaining and uplifting.
“Heart of Steel” was a testimony that the love for Pan music in SVG is still very much alive and important.
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by Karissa Clarke