Nostalgia Steelband boast a direct lineage to the legendary “TASPO”, who in a watershed moment in 1951 played at the “Festival of Britain” and ushered in a new era of British arts, and eventually the renowned Notting Hill Carnival (NHC). Founded by TASPO’s members, Sterling Betancourt & Allan “Boots” Davidson, Nostalgia has taken part in every NHC and is the only traditional band ie. straps are fastened around the necks of players while playing. This allows mobility and flexibility and stimulates audience participation and has translated into the band running >200 varied projects since its inception in 1964. As part of its portfolio, we have brought grassroots steelpan players, academics, students and professionals together biennially through organised conferences/workshops in carnival arts that includes calypso and mas.
These conferences seek to integrate aspects of carnival performing arts with its long history from Trinidad & Tobago to its new home and developing artforms in the UK. Funded by Arts Council England, they began in 2006 and continue biennially, making this the only such event globally. Key achievements include graded steelpan examinations; recording steelpan music at the Abbey Road Studios, performances at London’s 2012 Olympics Opening ceremony; integrated projects; eg Steelpan/Mas for the Shanghai Festival 2013; performances in Trinidad & Tobago for carnival 2018 and youth workshops with opera singer, Anne Fridal. Nostalgia supported the fusion of carnival arts into the community eg. elderly, disabled, youth, newcomers in rural England eg. Pan Jam (2012 -16) and fundraising for charities such as the Stroke Foundation and London marathon events. We believe development of these artforms in the landscape of British arts will have major impact on contemporary arts, culture and society. For many British-born participants this connects them with the Caribbean, gives insight into their cultural heritage and helps in creating vibrant multi-cultural communities with arts being instrumental. For each conference except 2008, presenters submitted an abstract of their presentation which was edited and complied into a conference book between 2006 - 2018. In 2008, our proposed conference programme was amalgamated with Christopher Innes’s conference in Toronto titled “Carnival, ‘A Peoples Art’ and Taking Back the Streets”. Proceedings of this conference were subsequently published as a book titled “Carnival, Theory and Practice”. Ed. Innes, C., Rutherford, A & Bogar, B. (2013, Africa World Press), in which presentations by Nostalgia’s members were incorporated into two chapters.
To access the previous conference books, please click the name of the conference below