PAN-Lime June Page 8
Zeitschrift für Schweizer Steelbands
Magazine of Swiss Steelbands
Reported by Matthias Kauer, Editor
This page will be the first of many pages informing your readers about the
Swiss steelband scenery. I will take this opportunity to give you some
information about how our association started many years ago.
During the years 1973-1975, a small steelband used to play regularly during
the summertime at a big hotel in Zurich. The band was lead by Sterling
Betancourt from London. Sterling was a member of TASPO (Trinidad All Steel
Percussion Orchestra) and remained in Great Britain, when the band returned
to Trinidad in 1951. Some people who used to actively celebrate in Carnival
bands, got interested in this new instrument. With Sterling's help, the
first pans arrived in Switzerland in 1976, from Michael Contant, a
Trinidadian born tuner, who had been living in London for the past 10 years.
The first steelband founded was namen TROPEFIEBER (Tropical fever means a
disease but also means feverish in a happy sense). Tropefieber was a
pan-around-the-neck band that used to play on the streets at Carnival time.
Because of this band's success, they decided to play all year round, making
appearances on TV and Radio shows.
The following years found steelbands forming in other towns like Basel, Bern
and Lucerne. In May of 1983, members of 15 steelbands formed the Swiss
Steelband Association, with the following decisions being adopted:
We would like to receive a newspaper edited by a volunteer member. All
information about public steelband cocerts, advertisements, etc. should be
sent to that particular person who will collect these articles and publish a
newsletter on a regualr basis.
Every steelband who would like to participate, should pay a little fee to
cover the costs of printing and shipping.
We would like to meet each other once every year for talking and sitting
In May 1984, during our second meeting, I was elected to publish our
newsletter. At the meeting one year later, nobody wanted to take over the
publishing, and the job remained with me until today. This month we will
have published our 50th issue of the PAN NEWS.
There are now more than 90 steelbands in Switzerland. The average number of
players in each band is among 12 to 16 members. Female players make up
60%-70%. There are some bands with female players only, and a few bands with
male players only.
Since 1988 we have met occassionally at one of the festivals. Each band that
subscribes to Pan News, pays approximately $35 and receives 15 copies every
two month. Members can publish as many advertisements as they wish. MK
Calendar of Events '94
Steelband Festival Näfels GL
featuring 12 steelbands from Basel, Bern, Central and Eastern Switzerland
6:30pm on the 4th
10:30am on the 5th
performing at a village party in Seltisberg BL, 4-5pm
Steelband Festival Männedorf
featuring: Extempo, Panetwork, Pfanne Steel Band
8pm - 1am
Gary Padmore from Trinidad, in concert with students of the Academy of
Contemporary Music Zürich. At Mahogany Hall, Klösterlistutz in Bern.
Jazz and Caribbean Rhythms. Advance Tickets are available through LOEB INC
Bern. Admission at the door CHF 20
Panetwork Big Steelband
at Tropicana Summer Night in Scheffelhale, Herten in Rheinfelden, Germany
in the center of Winterthur. Charity concert for handicapped people from