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Red Stripe Ebony Steelband at a Glance

Initially formed in 1968 in London, the Ebony Steelband started their success story in 1983 when they won the Panorama Championship title, little did they know that this was the start of many successes for the Ebony Steelband. Sponsored by the Jamaican brewery Red Stripe Lager in 1984, this made visits to Sweden and Denmark every year thereafter. In 1985 the Greek Government invited the Band to tour the islands making them the first Steelband to do so. By Joyce Quashie, secretary for Ebony Steelband

For the following years the band covered a numerous amount of tours and performances which include prestigious events such as the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the Effested Festival in Wales, a show at the Midem Music Festival in Cannes, also street Festivals in Belgium which the band had the opportunity of returning year after year and other famous festivals, shows and even performances on television.

So you can believe it when I say that this band is definitely Europe's most finest, covering a wide variety of performances, shows and events around Great Britain and the world and still going on to do more!

For the last three years the band has had their Annual Memorical Concert at Kensington Town Hall, where you have the pleasure of a full musical repertoire by the Red Stripe Ebony Steelband plus their special guest, with names like Annise 'Halfers' Hadeed (the bands arranger), Rudy Smith Quartet (from Denmark) and Earl Rodney (the grandfather of the steelpan instrument, from Trinidad).

For the year 1993 Ebony Steelband covered a vast amount of their goals, the band was able to travel down to Trinidad and Grenada for a recording which is being produced by Billy Ocean.

For 1993, the band took part in a play called The Pan Beaters, about a Steelband in Trinidad preparing for competition with all the confusion surrounding pan man and woman, this took place at the Greenwich Theatre which included famous actors such as Victor Romero Evans, Don Warrington and Joanna McCallum.

Yet still, in between these shows and performances the band make it their duty to participate in the Carnival Celebrations. The bands achievement where Carnival and Panorama Championship are concerned, is something to be taken seriously. When the preparations for this spectacular event comes around there's some serious vibes created around Ebony's Panyard. With the dexterity and professionalism attained by Europe's premier steelband, has led this band to achieve six Panorama titles.

Normally the week before this championship takes place, their off again on their annual visit to Mortenhampstead, devon for the Carnival. This is a very exciting period of the month for the players, not only to get away from London but to experience a different Carnival atmosphere and some good country life. This year we were able to take students from Acklam Playcentre and students from our evening class, to experience new things for the first time, such as horse riding, feeding chickens and cleaning out pig pens.

Participating in the Notting Hill Carnival, has led this band to win 'Best Steelband on the Road' competition for the fourth consecutive year, even out of the Carnival scene Ebony has taken the highly prestigious title of 'National Steelband Music Champions of Great Britain' for the last three years.

The artistry and expertise of the panists and the extensive range of music has led them to record three albums.

In July 1988 in response to a number of clearly precieved needs the Ebony Steelband Trust was established. The primary objective of the Trust is to encourage relief and personal development to all participants. Efforts have been directed towards: the provision of steelpan music to those with disability, whether physical, mental, social or economic, prevent them from participating or appreciating this artform; the introduction and development for educational establishments - schools colleges and youth facilities so as to ensure that young people are provided with opportunities to learn and appreciate this unique musical instrument and the culture which led to its development; enabling those receiving instruction to express their musical creativity through performance.

This Trust has achieved a very good amount of facilities for the young, and the disabled, achieving seminars, workshops and classes for beginners.

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