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Images from 1991



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...

This couple *loved* the steelband at Le Galawa Beach Hotel.  I think they originally were from Mauritius or the Seychelles, and they insisted I took a photo of them with the pans.  The fish in the background is a Coelacanth, which is found in the waters off Comores.  This fish was thought to have been extinct for something like 60 million years until one was caught off the coast of South Africa in 1938s.  While I was at the hotel, a few were caught and immediately preserved for studying by icthyologists.

This couple *loved* the steelband at Le Galawa Beach Hotel. I think they originally were from Mauritius or the Seychelles, and they insisted I took a photo of them with the pans. The fish in the background is a Coelacanth, which is found in the waters off Comores. This fish was thought to have been extinct for something like 60 million years until one was caught off the coast of South Africa in 1938s. While I was at the hotel, a few were caught and immediately preserved for studying by icthyologists.




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