Fifteen years and my band
Written by Simeon L. Sandiford
Thursday, 21 July 2011 22:14


Peter Beckles, Jack Renner and I ushered in the era of Digital Panyard Recordings during the 1984 Carnival season. Exodus performed Lucy In The Savannah in the courtyard of the Scarlet Ibis Hotel. The recording was unlike any produced previously. In 1987 Sanch's work attracted the attention of Amelia Haygood of Delos International, which produced our first CD, Steelbands of Trinidad and Tobago. In that year, I also began my association with artist, Kenneth Scott. His initial design, Pan Jazz Conversations, demonstrated that he was in sync with Sanch's ideas and our relationship has continued to develop over the years. 1995 marked the launch of the Sanch label with Voices '« Steel, a concert featuring The Marionettes Chorale and The Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra.

The year 1997 was highlighted by the formation of two strategic alliances. The first with Francesca Campi of Italy, and the production of CAM's Movie Soundtracks Caribbean Style, a CD featuring The Samaroo Jets. The second was Sanch's first overseas recording done for The Rising Stars Steel Orchestra of St. Thomas. John Hodge, that band's Musical Director had witnessed a recording session during the Carnival season and invited me to produce their CD, A Taste of Carnival. The year was also significant since Sanch became one of only seventy-odd international labels and mastering facilities to utilize Microsoft's proprietary HDCD® technology invented by Professor Keith Johnson.

2000 was another landmark year; a meeting with Martin Grah and his band, Panch from Switzerland, has resulted in their work being included on two of our 15th anniversary commemorative CDs. I also spent one week in California at Meyer Sound Laboratories. This company's equipment will be used to amplify live and recorded steelpan music at fetes and on the road for future Carnivals. 2001 realized the production of our Pan In Art 2002 Calendar with Scotiabank being a major investor in this project. Because of the significance of the Meyer Sound System to the future of Pan, and the importance of the calendar to Sanch's international marketing efforts, I have sought the permission of Ingrid Lashley of the bank and Vaneisa Baksh, a freelance journalist to include their presentations as part of the liner notes of this booklet.

Finally, I have been asked time and again " What is your favourite steelband recording?" After fifteen years and a repertoire of over one thousand tracks, the answer is still My Band, Ray Holman's effervescent composition and arrangement as performed by Carib Tokyo Steel Orchestra and recorded at Tokyo's Panyard on February 10th 1988. Each time I listen to this piece, I discover subtle nuances and inner detail in its balanced, cohesive and transparent soundstage. Ray's immaculate phrasing, musicality, metronomic rhythm, seductive introduction, innovative Tassa on Pan, and exquisite bass solo all contribute heavily towards my sustained bias for this timeless masterpiece.

© 2002 Simeon L. Sandiford.