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1984:



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This is a newspaper clipping about a Steelpan project I entered into the local science fair in Grahamstown when I was still in high school, most likely in 1984.  I still have the pan in the photo, which I must have made in early 1984 or late 1983.  It is an Invader layout which is all that I knew about at that time.  The concept of the separate ellipses was something I was convinced would work, although at that time I did not have enough experience to benefit from it.  This was about the 6th or 7th pan I made.

This is a newspaper clipping about a Steelpan project I entered into the local science fair in Grahamstown when I was still in high school, most likely in 1984. I still have the pan in the photo, which I must have made in early 1984 or late 1983. It is an Invader layout which is all that I knew about at that time. The concept of the separate ellipses was something I was convinced would work, although at that time I did not have enough experience to benefit from it. This was about the 6th or 7th pan I made.

     

1987:



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The Andrew Tracey Steelband, probably 1987, maybe 1986.  L-R my Dad, me, Louis, Robin, Andrew Tracey (kneeling), Neal, Janet, and Daniela.

The Andrew Tracey Steelband, probably 1987, maybe 1986. L-R my Dad, me, Louis, Robin, Andrew Tracey (kneeling), Neal, Janet, and Daniela.

This was another early attempt; by this point I had given up on the Invader style pan as being a poor design, with the 4ths & 5ths pattern showing clear advantages.  This pan was down to low B, and had 15 notes on the rim!  needless to say, it was not a success, although I do recall being able to get octaves on a few notes on this instrument.

This was another early attempt; by this point I had given up on the Invader style pan as being a poor design, with the 4ths & 5ths pattern showing clear advantages. This pan was down to low B, and had 15 notes on the rim! needless to say, it was not a success, although I do recall being able to get octaves on a few notes on this instrument.

I was obsessed with replacing the F Bass Pan in the Andrew Tracey Steelband, as it had cracked.  I made many unsuccessful attempts at a new pan, and this was one of them.  By this time I had figured out that it was important to hammer only in the channels between the notes.

I was obsessed with replacing the F Bass Pan in the Andrew Tracey Steelband, as it had cracked. I made many unsuccessful attempts at a new pan, and this was one of them. By this time I had figured out that it was important to hammer only in the channels between the notes.

The Impact Steelband was essentially the "junior" band for the Andrew Tracey Steelband.  We occasionally used the name well past the time that many of us were in the "big" band, and this was such an occasion (I think Andrew was away on vacation).  We played for Joys wedding at Robins house, this is the band set up in his bedroom!  L-R Robin, Erik (who played Sax with us), Chris, me, and Louis.  I still have that banner :)   Somewhere I have a recording of the band that we made at that time.

The Impact Steelband was essentially the "junior" band for the Andrew Tracey Steelband. We occasionally used the name well past the time that many of us were in the "big" band, and this was such an occasion (I think Andrew was away on vacation). We played for Joys wedding at Robins house, this is the band set up in his bedroom! L-R Robin, Erik (who played Sax with us), Chris, me, and Louis. I still have that banner :) Somewhere I have a recording of the band that we made at that time.


1988:



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Various failed pans...the leads are all Invader style.  The one in front (without the skirt....) had a fantastic high Eb, I remember when I tuned it it just worked immediately.  I cut the skirt off after that, in an attempt to get at the rim notes - bad idea.  I had just lucked out on that Eb, but it made me realize that it must be possible to build pans that were easy to tune.

Various failed pans...the leads are all Invader style. The one in front (without the skirt....) had a fantastic high Eb, I remember when I tuned it it just worked immediately. I cut the skirt off after that, in an attempt to get at the rim notes - bad idea. I had just lucked out on that Eb, but it made me realize that it must be possible to build pans that were easy to tune.

Various failed pans...the leads are all Invader style.  The one in front right (without the skirt....) had a fantastic high Eb, I remember when I tuned it it just worked immediately.  I cut the skirt off after that, in an attempt to get at the rim notes - bad idea.  I had just lucked out on that Eb, but it made me realize that it must be possible to build pans that were easy to tune.

Various failed pans...the leads are all Invader style. The one in front right (without the skirt....) had a fantastic high Eb, I remember when I tuned it it just worked immediately. I cut the skirt off after that, in an attempt to get at the rim notes - bad idea. I had just lucked out on that Eb, but it made me realize that it must be possible to build pans that were easy to tune.

Making a Bass Pan on Allanridge, December 1988.  It was about 105 F, and my buddy Robin and I rigged up this tent thing to keep cool.  The pans were awful, but we were awfully determined.

Making a Bass Pan on Allanridge, December 1988. It was about 105 F, and my buddy Robin and I rigged up this tent thing to keep cool. The pans were awful, but we were awfully determined.

Making a Bass pan on Allanridge, about 1988.  I had no idea what I was doing, just trying to figure it out.

Making a Bass pan on Allanridge, about 1988. I had no idea what I was doing, just trying to figure it out.


1989:



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Dueling with Andrew Tracey at one of the best gigs I ever remember playing - Shane Askews 21st Birthday Party at the Rhodes Union.  With Louis (in the Sombrero) and Carol (on Double Seconds)

Dueling with Andrew Tracey at one of the best gigs I ever remember playing - Shane Askews 21st Birthday Party at the Rhodes Union. With Louis (in the Sombrero) and Carol (on Double Seconds)

     

1990:



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Playing with the Andrew Tracey Steelband for the Rhodes University Graduation Party.  April for sure, but the year?  Probably 1990.  L-R Steve Lawrie, Daniela Heunis, Eric X, Geoffrey Tracey, Andrew Tracey, Louis Brandt, Janet Hall, Mike Lawrie (my Dad), and Don Quinn

Playing with the Andrew Tracey Steelband for the Rhodes University Graduation Party. April for sure, but the year? Probably 1990. L-R Steve Lawrie, Daniela Heunis, Eric X, Geoffrey Tracey, Andrew Tracey, Louis Brandt, Janet Hall, Mike Lawrie (my Dad), and Don Quinn

     

1991:



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Teaching pan to the hotel staff at Le Galawa Beach Hotel, Comores.  They spoke no English, I spoke no Swahili or French.  Music is a universal language...  The pans were made by Mike "Nat C" Contantin the UK, as I was not skilled enough to make a set of pans at that time.  I was on and off the island over a period of two years, and it was dawning on me that I might be able to make a living with pan.

Teaching pan to the hotel staff at Le Galawa Beach Hotel, Comores. They spoke no English, I spoke no Swahili or French. Music is a universal language... The pans were made by Mike "Nat C" Contantin the UK, as I was not skilled enough to make a set of pans at that time. I was on and off the island over a period of two years, and it was dawning on me that I might be able to make a living with pan.

Playing pan with the resident hotel band for the weekly show put on by the Le Galawa Beach Hotel staff.  I usually played "Caravan" with the regular band "Sapphire", done as an uptempo Samba.  At the end of the show we all came on for the curtain call, usually to a jam on "Copa Cabana".  It was by far the most stylish band outfit I ever wore...

Playing pan with the resident hotel band for the weekly show put on by the Le Galawa Beach Hotel staff. I usually played "Caravan" with the regular band "Sapphire", done as an uptempo Samba. At the end of the show we all came on for the curtain call, usually to a jam on "Copa Cabana". It was by far the most stylish band outfit I ever wore...

This was the first set of pans I made "to order".  Up until then customers had kind of seen what I had and picked one out...meaning I had sold about 3 pans ever.  But this guy in Johannesburg wanted a pair of Double Tenors, and I made him these.  They were made at the International Library of African Music (ILAM), which was where my mentor and "Pan Father" Andrew Tracey was director.  How he put up with the noise I made outside his office I will never know.

This was the first set of pans I made "to order". Up until then customers had kind of seen what I had and picked one out...meaning I had sold about 3 pans ever. But this guy in Johannesburg wanted a pair of Double Tenors, and I made him these. They were made at the International Library of African Music (ILAM), which was where my mentor and "Pan Father" Andrew Tracey was director. How he put up with the noise I made outside his office I will never know.

The steelband at Le Galawa Beach Hotel, Grand Comore.  The instruments were made by Mike "Nat C" Contant from the UK.  I taught the band on and off.  I would like to stress that I did not pick out the uniforms...

The steelband at Le Galawa Beach Hotel, Grand Comore. The instruments were made by Mike "Nat C" Contant from the UK. I taught the band on and off. I would like to stress that I did not pick out the uniforms...


1993:



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This was a device that I put together for burning pans.  At that time I (mistakenly) believed it was important to get the drum red hot.  The "barrel" at right has an industrial extractor fan attached, which forced air into thr larger drum which had a kind of grill arrangement on which the fire was lit.  The pan sat on two iron bars above the fire.  It took about 3 minutes to get the whole pan glowing red.  The fan was originally used on the ICL 1301 installed and maintained at Rhodes University by my Dad in about 1966.

This was a device that I put together for burning pans. At that time I (mistakenly) believed it was important to get the drum red hot. The "barrel" at right has an industrial extractor fan attached, which forced air into thr larger drum which had a kind of grill arrangement on which the fire was lit. The pan sat on two iron bars above the fire. It took about 3 minutes to get the whole pan glowing red. The fan was originally used on the ICL 1301 installed and maintained at Rhodes University by my Dad in about 1966.

This was at a gig we played at The Halyards, a hotel/restaurant on the marina at Port Alfred.  L-R Cathy, Robin, Ant, Rodney (kneeling) and Don.  Me in the bottom right.  I still have those super-stylish uniforms!  The banner was lost when I moved from South Africa.

This was at a gig we played at The Halyards, a hotel/restaurant on the marina at Port Alfred. L-R Cathy, Robin, Ant, Rodney (kneeling) and Don. Me in the bottom right. I still have those super-stylish uniforms! The banner was lost when I moved from South Africa.

A set of bass pans I made for one of the schools at the De Beers diamond mining town of Orapa in Botswana.  This and the two sister sets at the other two schools were my first big order for pans, and the first complete sets of Bass pans that I made.

A set of bass pans I made for one of the schools at the De Beers diamond mining town of Orapa in Botswana. This and the two sister sets at the other two schools were my first big order for pans, and the first complete sets of Bass pans that I made.

Early Lead Pan that I made for the mine schools in Orapa.  At that time I was starting to shape the pans directly as I was sinking them, as opposed to sinking a bowl and then refining the bowl into a pan shape (hey, there was no-one to teach me, I was figuring it out on my own).  The pan had a two octave range exactly, with 12 notes on the rim, then 9, and then 4.  D4 - D6.

Early Lead Pan that I made for the mine schools in Orapa. At that time I was starting to shape the pans directly as I was sinking them, as opposed to sinking a bowl and then refining the bowl into a pan shape (hey, there was no-one to teach me, I was figuring it out on my own). The pan had a two octave range exactly, with 12 notes on the rim, then 9, and then 4. D4 - D6.


1994:



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The rack of pans in my "rondavel" where I lived at 7 Miles Street.  Note the Amoco Renegades Sticker above the window :)

The rack of pans in my "rondavel" where I lived at 7 Miles Street. Note the Amoco Renegades Sticker above the window :)

Decio Gioielli in my workshop at 7 Miles Street the day he ordered his pan from me.  Decio was visiting from Sao Paulo in Brazil.  He is without doubt the most talented Kalimba player I have ever seen, and he completely redefined my view of what was possible on that instrument.

Decio Gioielli in my workshop at 7 Miles Street the day he ordered his pan from me. Decio was visiting from Sao Paulo in Brazil. He is without doubt the most talented Kalimba player I have ever seen, and he completely redefined my view of what was possible on that instrument.

Decio Gioielli in my workshop at 7 Miles Street the day he ordered his pan from me. Decio was visiting from Sao Paulo in Brazil. He is without doubt the most talented Kalimba player I have ever seen, and he completely redefined my view of what was possible on that instrument.

Decio Gioielli in my workshop at 7 Miles Street the day he ordered his pan from me. Decio was visiting from Sao Paulo in Brazil. He is without doubt the most talented Kalimba player I have ever seen, and he completely redefined my view of what was possible on that instrument.

 

1995:



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Grooving a Double Tenor for the second batch of pans for the mine schools at Orapa, Botwswana

Grooving a Double Tenor for the second batch of pans for the mine schools at Orapa, Botwswana

Patrick Matiwane (who worked for me for a few years) places a car tire into a barrel before sinking it.  By placing first some padding like old pillows into the drum to dampen the pan head, and then some tires which were held in place with some screws driven straight through the side of the barrel, it was possible to (A) reduce the amount of noise the sinking process generated, and (B) stop the drum moving around while it was being hammered on.

Patrick Matiwane (who worked for me for a few years) places a car tire into a barrel before sinking it. By placing first some padding like old pillows into the drum to dampen the pan head, and then some tires which were held in place with some screws driven straight through the side of the barrel, it was possible to (A) reduce the amount of noise the sinking process generated, and (B) stop the drum moving around while it was being hammered on.

This was the second set of pans for one of the schools at the De Beers mine in Orapa, Botswana.  These are all shaped and prepped, ready to burn.  The location is one of the old cooling ponds for the old Power Station in Grahamstown; the station had been turned into a hive for micro businesses and I rented one of the old pump rooms as a workshop.

This was the second set of pans for one of the schools at the De Beers mine in Orapa, Botswana. These are all shaped and prepped, ready to burn. The location is one of the old cooling ponds for the old Power Station in Grahamstown; the station had been turned into a hive for micro businesses and I rented one of the old pump rooms as a workshop.

By 1995 I had visited Trinidad, and had a way better idea of how to burn pans (see the pic from 1993...)  This was pretty much the standard burner that I used, it was filled with pine cones which were readily available.

By 1995 I had visited Trinidad, and had a way better idea of how to burn pans (see the pic from 1993...) This was pretty much the standard burner that I used, it was filled with pine cones which were readily available.


1996:



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The first real public performance of the Graeme College Steelband was at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 1996.  We played outside a local restaurant once a day and passed a hat around the audience.  The band was the best free show on the Festival!

The first real public performance of the Graeme College Steelband was at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 1996. We played outside a local restaurant once a day and passed a hat around the audience. The band was the best free show on the Festival!

The Graeme College Steelband after a gig in Port Alfred

The Graeme College Steelband after a gig in Port Alfred

   

1997:



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The Graeme College Steelband (for which I was musical director and arranger) clowning around at Camps Bay High School in 1997.  Good times!

The Graeme College Steelband (for which I was musical director and arranger) clowning around at Camps Bay High School in 1997. Good times!

The Graeme College Steelband performing at the V&A waterfront in Cape Town.  This was on a trip that Penny Berrington and I took the band on to go and see Andy Narell on his first visit to South Africa.

The Graeme College Steelband performing at the V&A waterfront in Cape Town. This was on a trip that Penny Berrington and I took the band on to go and see Andy Narell on his first visit to South Africa.

   

2006:



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Running a workshop in Elma Iowa when they bought their pans.  This was these students first experience with pan.

Running a workshop in Elma Iowa when they bought their pans. This was these students first experience with pan.

Jimmy Leyden with pans at his home in Oregon.  I was fortunate to visit him there in 2006.  Jimmy has a legitimate claim to being one of the founding fathers of pan in the USA.

Jimmy Leyden with pans at his home in Oregon. I was fortunate to visit him there in 2006. Jimmy has a legitimate claim to being one of the founding fathers of pan in the USA.

Jimmy Leyden and Marc Svaline, at the Leyden wine farm in Oregon.  This was the first time Marc had visited Jimmy, although the two of them had been running Hillbridge music together for years!

Jimmy Leyden and Marc Svaline, at the Leyden wine farm in Oregon. This was the first time Marc had visited Jimmy, although the two of them had been running Hillbridge music together for years!

Lunch with Jimmy Leyden, his wife, Ron Kerns (from Panyard), and Marc Svaline.  At the Leyden residence.

Lunch with Jimmy Leyden, his wife, Ron Kerns (from Panyard), and Marc Svaline. At the Leyden residence.


2007:



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Mike Horan checks out one of the Solid Hoop pans at Panyard in 2007.  The Precision Series pans I make are almost identical to these.  Mike is the Band Director at Kekionga Middle School in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Mike Horan checks out one of the Solid Hoop pans at Panyard in 2007. The Precision Series pans I make are almost identical to these. Mike is the Band Director at Kekionga Middle School in Fort Wayne, Indiana

With some of the students from Oberlin College who brought their pans to be tuned.

With some of the students from Oberlin College who brought their pans to be tuned.

This is the oldest surviving Tenor Pan that I am aware of.  This instrument came from Trinidad and was made in 1953 (the date is still stamped on the note surface).  It was acquired from Invaders Panyard by a Shell executive.  It is currently located in New England.  This is almost certainly an original Ellie Mannette pan from that time.

This is the oldest surviving Tenor Pan that I am aware of. This instrument came from Trinidad and was made in 1953 (the date is still stamped on the note surface). It was acquired from Invaders Panyard by a Shell executive. It is currently located in New England. This is almost certainly an original Ellie Mannette pan from that time.

The oldest surviving Tenor Pan that I am aware of.  This was made in 1953 and was acquired from Invaders Panyard by a Shell executive.  It is still in tune, and it was almost certainly made by Ellie Mannette.  There are other Mannete pans in existence that I am aware of from 1956.

The oldest surviving Tenor Pan that I am aware of. This was made in 1953 and was acquired from Invaders Panyard by a Shell executive. It is still in tune, and it was almost certainly made by Ellie Mannette. There are other Mannete pans in existence that I am aware of from 1956.


2008:



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Angel playing at a private party in Frisco, Colorado

Angel playing at a private party in Frisco, Colorado

Angel and I playing at a private party in Frisco, Colorado

Angel and I playing at a private party in Frisco, Colorado

I still get a kick out of showing people how pans are made.  It never gets old, and their amazement is always combined with smiles...

I still get a kick out of showing people how pans are made. It never gets old, and their amazement is always combined with smiles...

Playing at a private party for friends.

Playing at a private party for friends.


2009:



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This was the coldest gig I ever played.  Angel and I played at the Loveland Ski Resort at 8600ft in Colorado in April for an end-of-ski-season party.  We had to scrape the snow out of our pans as we were playing...the music was well appreciated though :)

This was the coldest gig I ever played. Angel and I played at the Loveland Ski Resort at 8600ft in Colorado in April for an end-of-ski-season party. We had to scrape the snow out of our pans as we were playing...the music was well appreciated though :)

This was the coldest gig I ever played.  Angel and I played at the Loveland Ski Resort at 8600ft in Colorado in April for an end-of-ski-season party.  We had to scrape the snow out of our pans as we were playing...the music was well appreciated though :)

This was the coldest gig I ever played. Angel and I played at the Loveland Ski Resort at 8600ft in Colorado in April for an end-of-ski-season party. We had to scrape the snow out of our pans as we were playing...the music was well appreciated though :)

   

2011:



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The 2011 Kekionga Middle School Pan Concert in Fort Wayne Indiana took place in a heavy blizzard.  This is Mike Horan backing up the van to start loading the pans.

The 2011 Kekionga Middle School Pan Concert in Fort Wayne Indiana took place in a heavy blizzard. This is Mike Horan backing up the van to start loading the pans.

This was the coolest Pan Cake ever!  Baked by a local business and donated for the Kekionga Middle School Steelband Concert.

This was the coolest Pan Cake ever! Baked by a local business and donated for the Kekionga Middle School Steelband Concert.

Angel stands in with the Kekionga Middle School Steelband at their 2011 Concert

Angel stands in with the Kekionga Middle School Steelband at their 2011 Concert

The Kekionga Middle School Band get their groove on at their 2011 Concert

The Kekionga Middle School Band get their groove on at their 2011 Concert


2012:



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Those darn Calypsonuts again; this time giving a presentation to the students at Summit Academy where Angel teaches.

Those darn Calypsonuts again; this time giving a presentation to the students at Summit Academy where Angel teaches.

Dave Hunter after I tuned his Phil Solomans Double Seconds and Lead Pan

Dave Hunter after I tuned his Phil Solomans Double Seconds and Lead Pan

Custom Cello under construction for Panyard, Inc.

Custom Cello under construction for Panyard, Inc.

As of 2012, all of my pans have a serial number and this text etched on the back of the pan.

As of 2012, all of my pans have a serial number and this text etched on the back of the pan.


2013:



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Tuning pans at Coudersport MS

Tuning pans at Coudersport MS

Minsky Delmonte came to collect his Performance Series pan from me.

Minsky Delmonte came to collect his Performance Series pan from me.

The coolest paint job I have yet seen on a set of pans is at Hoban High School in Akron.  Taken when I was tuning their pans after the "Great Flood".

The coolest paint job I have yet seen on a set of pans is at Hoban High School in Akron. Taken when I was tuning their pans after the "Great Flood".

Steelin Hearts performing at Hattie Larlham in Mantua, Ohio

Steelin Hearts performing at Hattie Larlham in Mantua, Ohio




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