Preparations are well under way for the sixth Biennial Steelpan Conference. It will take place at that temple to all things Carnival, The Tabernacle in Powis Square, London W11, from Friday 7 October to Sunday 9 October, with the theme The Fusion of Steelpan with other Art Forms in the 21st Century.
The conference series began in 2006 and has offered presentations ranging from the academic to the practical to the hugely entertaining. While sessions on the technicalities of pan-tuning, for example, are clearly aimed at the specialist, there is plenty of more general interest.
The 2016 conference is rather special, of course, because it coincides with Notting Hill Carnival’s Golden Jubilee and will cover calypso, mas and dance as well as steelpan. Presentations look at everything from The Political Calypso – presented by none other than the Mighty Chalkdust – to Incorporating New Technologies in the Construction of Kinetic Mas Figures, by Mahogany’s maestro of mas, Michael ‘Speedy’ Ramdeen. The event will pay special tribute to the pioneering work of the late great Russell Henderson MBE.
Don’t worry, you won’t be spending the entire weekend sitting quietly while speakers lecture you from the podium. Not only do these events generate lively debate, they are great occasions to catch up with old friends and to make new ones over lunch. Just as in Carnival itself, everyone who attends has a role to play and something special to contribute.
It all kicks off on Friday evening with some unmissable films about calypso, while on Saturday evening there will be a steelpan concert. For those keen to learn to play or tune steelpan, there are two workshop sessions.
It all adds up to what looks sure to be a fascinating and stimulating weekend. And, unbelievably, it’s all free (though donations are welcome).
To find out more and register, contact:
• Professor Haroun Shah, Nostalgia Steelband, harounshah(at)gmail.com, 07971 334414
• Alexander D Great, calypsonian, adgreat7(at)gmail.com, 07976 387870
• Dr Lionel McCalman, Nostalgia Steelband, panmusician(at)gmail.com, 07944 349253