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Tracy Thornton and Jonathan Scales enjoy an impromptu jam session after I worked on Jonathans practice pans.  It was a treat to watch these guys play together, the rest of us should give up and leave them to it!

Tracy Thornton and Jonathan Scales enjoy an impromptu jam session after I worked on Jonathans practice pans. It was a treat to watch these guys play together, the rest of us should give up and leave them to it!

Tracy Thornton, me, and Jonathan Scales at Asheville HS.

Tracy Thornton, me, and Jonathan Scales at Asheville HS.

Emily Talley and I after I had worked on the pans at Asheville HS.

Emily Talley and I after I had worked on the pans at Asheville HS.

Jonathan Scales checks out his Double Seconds made by Keith Moon after I touched them up in Asheville, NC

Jonathan Scales checks out his Double Seconds made by Keith Moon after I touched them up in Asheville, NC

Nate Brown drove 2.5 hours from Charlotte, NC to bring his 1970 Kim Loy Wong Double Tenor pans to me for tuning when I was in Asheville, NC.

Nate Brown drove 2.5 hours from Charlotte, NC to bring his 1970 Kim Loy Wong Double Tenor pans to me for tuning when I was in Asheville, NC.

Ken Green came by to get his pan tuned.

Ken Green came by to get his pan tuned.

Ok, I know this is not directly related to pan, but how often do you get to go past a seriously active volcano?  This is Mount Ruapehu in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand.  This volcano was used for the filming of Mount Doom in Peter Jacksons Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Ok, I know this is not directly related to pan, but how often do you get to go past a seriously active volcano? This is Mount Ruapehu in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand. This volcano was used for the filming of Mount Doom in Peter Jacksons Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Tuning Pans at Kati Kati school in New Zealand.  This is one of three steelband programs in the whole country.  The instruments were mostly made by Nat C in the 1990s, and I had in fact owned a Nat C pan myself in South Africa.<br><br>Before I was allowed on to the school premises I was welcomed with a traditional Maori Powhiri ceremony.

Tuning Pans at Kati Kati school in New Zealand. This is one of three steelband programs in the whole country. The instruments were mostly made by Nat C in the 1990s, and I had in fact owned a Nat C pan myself in South Africa.

Before I was allowed on to the school premises I was welcomed with a traditional Maori Powhiri ceremony.

My 2013 Pan Tuning Workshop was attended by Jared Allen, Ryan Roberts, and Chris Kim.  The three budding tuners were given a theoretical introduction to pan tuning, and then let loose on their own pans as well as some of my own instruments.  By the end of the week they all displayed a level of competence to the point that I was comfortable letting them work on their own. <br><br>This course will probably become an annual event.

My 2013 Pan Tuning Workshop was attended by Jared Allen, Ryan Roberts, and Chris Kim. The three budding tuners were given a theoretical introduction to pan tuning, and then let loose on their own pans as well as some of my own instruments. By the end of the week they all displayed a level of competence to the point that I was comfortable letting them work on their own.

This course will probably become an annual event.

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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 :)

A few weeks before I left on my pilgrimage to Trinidad, some friends threw me a party.  They knew that this was a trip that I had been wanting to do for years.  Due to the apartheid regime in South Africa, it had not been possible for me to get a visa to visit Trinidad, but with the "winds of change" in the air things had relaxed and Robin, Cathy and I were finally on our way.  To acclimate us to Trinidad, our friends insisted that we finish a bottle of rum between us that night.  It was quite a party...

A few weeks before I left on my pilgrimage to Trinidad, some friends threw me a party. They knew that this was a trip that I had been wanting to do for years. Due to the apartheid regime in South Africa, it had not been possible for me to get a visa to visit Trinidad, but with the "winds of change" in the air things had relaxed and Robin, Cathy and I were finally on our way. To acclimate us to Trinidad, our friends insisted that we finish a bottle of rum between us that night. It was quite a party...

The first set of pans that I made to order were these Double Tenors, sold to Ant Stevens several years previously.  On my way back from Orapa, Botswana in 1993 I went past his place to tune them, and found them quite rusted.  I cleaned them up for him.  This is an after-before pic.  I had no idea that one could paint the note surface at that time, up til then I had only seen pans finished with shoe polish.  These pans and photo of me with them made it into a national newspaper magazine article about my then upcoming trip to Trinidad.

The first set of pans that I made to order were these Double Tenors, sold to Ant Stevens several years previously. On my way back from Orapa, Botswana in 1993 I went past his place to tune them, and found them quite rusted. I cleaned them up for him. This is an after-before pic. I had no idea that one could paint the note surface at that time, up til then I had only seen pans finished with shoe polish. These pans and photo of me with them made it into a national newspaper magazine article about my then upcoming trip to Trinidad.

Visiting entertainer Louis Balkind at his apartment in Johannesburg on my way back from tuning the pans in Orapa, Botswana.  Louis had purchased what was the best pan I had made up to that point.  Based on the 4ths & 5ths Lead, from low D, but with 12 on the rim, 9 on the next ring, and 5 in the middle.  I was obsessed with trying to get more space between the notes...

Visiting entertainer Louis Balkind at his apartment in Johannesburg on my way back from tuning the pans in Orapa, Botswana. Louis had purchased what was the best pan I had made up to that point. Based on the 4ths & 5ths Lead, from low D, but with 12 on the rim, 9 on the next ring, and 5 in the middle. I was obsessed with trying to get more space between the notes...




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