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The 7th Biennial Steelpan Conference

'Empowering the Youth to Lead the UK Transformation of Carnival Arts; Celebrating Windrush'


This conference is the 7th in a unique series that provides a platform for interaction between grassroots performers, budding artists, experts, professionals and academics. Speakers are youths or adults involved in youth programmes and come from the Caribbean, USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Europe and various parts of the UK. The programme (Session1) commences with the origin of the transatlantic slave trade, the birth of carnival and the arrival and development of Caribbean music in the UK. Session 2 analyses the evolution of Notting Hill carnival while London’s prominent mas makers/players/judges will take the audience behind the scene to unveil the intricate work and ideas behind some of the majestic costumes, including the imposing Moko Jumbies. Session 3 & 4 on the 2 nd day provides a portal into the tumultuous changes that are taking place in pan nationally and globally including innovative youth teaching programmes, cultural, academic and social developments particularly in extending pan to reach the disabled, special needs, dementia and the blind. These developments are encapsulated in a closing presentation that puts the youth at the forefront for ‘world conquest’. Two Plenary Lectures by world-renowned John Cowley will recount the development of Caribbean music that predates Windrush while the other by leading global pannist, Leon ‘Foster’ Thomas will provide first-hand knowledge of the steelpan music industry.

Furthermore, two workshops will take place at The Yaa Centre, on 27th Oct. & 1st Dec and will be attended entirely by youths and teachers to provide a range of case studies, career advice and well developed programmes that are gaining status.

Many novel projects have emanated from networking during previous conferences. Similarly, this event provides opportunities to exchange ideas with individuals from across the spectrum of carnival arts. The meeting will be interspersed with immense fun and entertainment via two concerts. The first opens the meeting on Friday 19 th Oct at 7pm in a concert that features many of London’s top calypsonians, world renowned soprano, Anne Fridal, films/presentations of Windrush by director, Arthur Torrington and tributes to the late Ellie Mannette, Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore, Russ Henderson, Gerald Forsyth and Claudia Jones by people who knew these icons. Following the first day of the meeting, the second concert that night includes several steelband ensembles including Extempo (Switzerland), Cambridge University Steelband, North Tyneside Steelband and steelbands from outside and within London.

Some key presentations and performances:

Plenary Lecturer 1: John Cowley; “Whence the Calypso in Britain?”

Plenary Lecturer 2: Leon Foster Thomas; “Pan and the Music Industry”

Other speakers include:

De Admiral, Nigel Williams, Ray Mahabir, Suzanne Burke, Tola Dabiri, Anna Lawrence, Michael Toussaint, Malika Green, Laila Shah, Aisha Goodman, Erika Melek Delgado, Haroun Shah, Alexander D Great, Simone Ramdeen, Candice Falconer, Nicole Ferdinand, Ansel Wong, Katie Segal, Shareen Gray, Ewan Lloyd-Taylor, Fiona Hawthorn, Andrew Martin, Nestor Sullivan, Rachel Rankin, Robbie Joseph, Pepe Francis, Dylan Mitchell, Stephen Spark

Click to download the full conference book 

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