Date: 10.06.02




PANTONIC Steel Orchestra's Stage Side [small representation of the much larger steel orchestra, which could comprise as much as five times as many players] dished out two servings of hot steelband sounds at the Chile Pepper Fiesta on Sunday October 6 at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, which annually celebrates the harvest and culinary uses of the peppers with a host of events ranging from music and dance, to special children attractions, to multiple samplings of hot dishes featuring what else - the peppers themselves!

No stranger to keeping crowds going, PANTONIC delivered two  blistering 45-minute servings of steel from 2:00 P.M. and again at 4:00 P.M. at the Gardens' Lilly Pool Terrace in the cool and sunny autumn afternoon.  Selection after selection garnered appreciative applause from the poolside gathering, which though small at first, quickly grew as the steelband's music attracted more crowds in mere minutes.

Apparently quite a few people had never heard a steelband up close before, and comments such as "but they're quite good!" and the like, were repeated throughout; perhaps experiences such as the occasional lone pan man in the subway was their only experience of a 'steel pan'.  They seemed quite surprised at what they were hearing, and what type of instruments the sounds were emanating from!  Of course there were a few who were quite proud of their basic  knowledge of pan, and with an air of slight superiority impressed upon their companions that "steelbands could be much larger, and sometimes played for 15 minutes at a competition [Panorama], - and described the arrangement as "quite a musical epic".  And then there was the small Caribbean contingent who knew exactly why they were there, and wailed [danced] away to the music.

Brooklyn's Borough President Marty Markowitz, a known supporter of Caribbean culture, also danced a few steps as he passed through to enjoy PANTONIC's performance, declaring himself one with the people, at the same time not missing the chance to touch base with a few of his constituents.

PANTONIC's repertoire simmered slowly with 'musical standards' such as Grover Washington's "Mr. Magic", and Bill Withers' "Just the Two of Us".  The band's soloists showed off their musical (and percussion) mettle when it came their time to shine.  The crowd punctuated each soloist's stint with spontaneous bursts of applause after each cameo.

The crowd's 'Oohs' and 'Aahs' mounted as they recognized songs, while many an onlooker furiously clicked away with their cameras for a photographic record of the performance.  Those with camcorders of course went away with enviable audio-visual mementos as they captured some of the band's performance to enjoy again and again.

The twenty-odd pan players then gradually turned up the heat with tracks such as "Time After Time" and "La Bamba" and of course their winning Panorama  2002 tune - "Ben Lion".  PANTONIC chipped away throughout their sessions, but when it came time for their Panorama selection, the members literally 'got down' some - literally low in their pans, some with hands in the air; and the crowd moved right along with them.  Needless to say - the resounding applause at the end of the musical 'servings' - was testimony to the crowd's complete enjoyment of PANTONIC Steel Orchestra's hot musical meal!

For more on PANTONIC go to their homepage at:


Video clips from Pantonic's performance
at the Chile Pepper Fiesta


By CP - Basement Press Release Writer



























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Last modified: November 03, 2003