Friday, April 09, 2010

Play Virtual Steelpans

Have a go at playing some virtual double seconds; one click at a time.

Pan Around the Bay

Caught a little lime with Jim Munzenrider, Tom Miller and some the beaters from the Panhandlers. The group was working on recording some tunes at Expressions College in Emeryville...sounding real nice. Great atmosphere in the booth.

Rumour is that Panman Anthony 'Cannon' Hernandez formerly of Our Boys may be moving his Caribbean Rhythms show out of the Bay Area and heading to Pennsylvania. Cannon is a regular on the Bay Area pan scene. He also teaches several classes in the east bay. He will be missed especially at the East Bay Center for performing arts in Richmond where he has taught pan for almost 10 years.

Steelpan classes Bay Area

Steelpan classes are being taught all over the Bay Area this spring and summer. In Orinda, at the Orinda Community Center, (925) 254-2445; in San Rafael at the Pickleweed Community Center (415) 485-3101 and other towns and cities. For more info you can also call 510 222 1123. Know anyone who would like to play pan? Come have some fun! Pan is de ting!

Caribbean Steelpan Msic Center potluck party

Efforts are underway to launch the East Bay Steel Orchestra that will anchor the planned Caribbean Steelpan Music Center. A potluck pan party is planned for May 23 in Moraga to stimulate interest in the project. There will be some pan jammin' and a special Pan Guest, so stay tuned. Check for more info here:

Bay Area Pan Scene coming alive

The pan scene is coming alive in the Bay Area as spring sets in. If you missed it, there was wild pan jam in Oakland March 28 in celebration of drummer Tony D's birthday. Tony, a Trini who is no stranger to pan occasionally hosts these panjams especially when tuner Leroy 'Ali' Williams is in town. Pan players present were Paul Snagg, Asheba, Olison Batiste, Terry Figueroa, Mark Rosenthal, Liz LaMantia, yours truly and a host of other musicians. The party went late into the night.
Another pan related gathering took place at Ashkenaz April 2 when Caribbean Allstars resurfaced with the return from Trinidad of leader Hugh 'Sweetfoot' Maynard. The foot was chillin' in T&T for Carnival. Paul Snagg delivered some impressive licks on double seconds that revealed how much he had been shedding over the winter. Pan Exstasy led by panman Ashton Craig played the opening set.

Stop the Noise!

Do you teach pan to kids at a school or community program? Having problems trying to get them to play softly. Most kids are just bangers. Here's a trick I used to considerably reduce the noise: Shorten the sticks!

For lead/tenors, no more than 7"; Double Seconds, 8"; Guitar/Cellos, 9"; and bass 12".

You can get sticks in custom lengths from

Pan is de Ting

Check the lyrics to my latest composition. Kitch was definitely in my head when I wrote this one. Band arrangement available soon.

Pan is de Ting 4/4/10
Music and Lyrics By Harry Best
Hewanorra Publishing Co. (BMI)

There is a craze going-around today
And it’s contagious in every way
One and all
In de bacchanal
And it gives me pleasure to say
Pan is de ting that they want to play

Like a pandemic around de world
Pan captivate every boy and girl
In Africa
And America
Well they say they can’t stay away
Pan is de ting that they want to play

It catch de school children
And de senior citizen
Big time musician
And even de politician

Doctors and lawyers
Bankers and school teachers
They leave work and run away
Just to find some time to play

Panists come down here from near and far
They want to beat for panorama
De revelry
And de synergy
With sweet music to ramajay
Pan is de ting that they come to play

Ask anybody and you’ll agree
Pan is a gift from the Almighty
It pick you up
When you spirit drop
And your head like you tootoolbay
Pan is de ting that you have to play

Group Steel Drum Workshop

Group Steel Drum Workshop

Tues., April 27, 7-8:30 PM

Steel Drums are provided; (NO previous musical experience is necessary!)20% Discount Opportunity:$60 adults; $45 kids (12-17 yrs. old) if payment received or postmarked on or by April 21.Advanced payment required to reserve your spot in the class.

Email or call (415) 731-3550 to reserve your spot for this fun, “Steel Band Experience!”

Pan Ramajay Summer Steel Drum Festival

Pan Ramajay Summer Steel Drum Festival
July 11-16, 2010
Registration is now open for the 2010 festival!

The Pan Ramajay Summer Steel Drum Festival, located at the Lamont School of Music on the campus of the University of Denver, CO, is a six day workshop for steel pan players of all ages, backgrounds and levels.

An all-star faculty along with the festival participants join together for a combination of workshops, rehearsals, student performances, faculty concerts and even late night jams. Daily seminars and rehearsals are designed to assist participants with practice and playing techniques, arranging techniques, improvisation approaches, ensemble organization, instruction and administration, and more.

2010 Festival Faculty (to date)Pan Ramajay's, Tom Miller, Alan Lightner, and Jim Munzenrider, with Don Prorak, founder of, Pan Jumbies steel band, Michael Spiro, Latin percussion expert, and Rick Henson, founder of Rocky Mountain Steel Bands.2010 Festival Artist in ResidenceRay Holman, master steel drummer, composer and arranger.Save the date and look for details at