Ayana ‘Yanz’ Garcia Born one month be..." /> Ayana ‘Yanz’ Garcia – Musical Prodigy – her Love Affair with the Steelpan. – Panpodium

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Published on May 22nd, 2014 | by Allima Garcia


Ayana ‘Yanz’ Garcia – Musical Prodigy – her Love Affair with the Steelpan.

Ayana ‘Yanz’ Garcia

Born one month before time on September 19th, 1993, Ayana Shallima Garcia displayed her love for music and the culture of Trinidad and Tobago as a toddler. The fact that her parents own a business next to Kitchener’s Revue tent exposed her to many calypsonians with the Mighty Duke and the Black Stalin having many arguments over her. Of course she preferred Stalin with his fascinating beard to Duke’s clean-shaven face.

Ayana’s first school experience was at a Kindergarten School in the East before moving to Trinity Junior School. Whilst at Trinity Junior School, Ayana made arrangements with her computer lessons teacher to have her session early so that she could also attend music classes. After two months her music teacher, Ms. Ava Hutchinson-Agard (Aunty Ava) approached her mother for the outstanding music fees. Her secret was out; Ayana was doing two classes at the same time and excelling in both.

Ayana’s mother was a primary school teacher and she ensured that both her children received an all-round education. They were both encouraged to do additional classes and so Ayana has numerous certificates in various fields e.g. Dance with Noble Douglas; Drama with Penelope Spencer; Broadcasting with Holly Thomas and Edison Carr; Art with Ann-Marie Howard; Graphic Designs and other Computer Courses from Delta-soft Computers just to name a few. Ayana is also an excellent artist and has a collection of pieces waiting to be showcased. However, her true love is music.

Ayana Garcia’s love affair with the steel pan is one that transcends her relatively young age. From as early as three years old, Ayana was taught the rudiments of the steel pan by none other than her godfather, arranger and composer, Robert Greenidge. She had to stand on a box to reach the pan but she persevered. This relationship played a significant role in her future career plans. Anyone who dared to make adverse comments about her treasured and beloved Robert Greenidge was immediately shown the door.

Having started school at three, Ayana wrote her SEA Exams at 10 passing for her first choice Bishop Anstey High School. Her mother went to St Joseph’s Convent but the stories by Ms. Martin her Standard 1 Teacher convinced her to attend Bishop’s, the school that was supposed to train you to be fine young ladies. Unfortunately, neither the teachers nor the students of Bishop’s understood Ayana and her many talents, and so her experience there was not very pleasant.

Having successfully completed her CSEC studies at the tender age of fifteen, Ayana entered The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) in 2009 to pursue the Certificate in Pan and Music Literacy Programme. She being the youngest child to attend UTT, through tenacity and hard work she persevered, completing a two-year course in one year and emerging successful. Ayana enrolled in UTT’s Bachelor of fine Arts (BFA) degree programme in Music, which she completed this year before going on to do her Masters.  At UTT, Ayana has had the pleasure of being tutored by Desmond Waithe who taught her the art of playing classical music on the steel pan and improving her technique in many ways.

Ayana has represented UTT by performing at various functions. She has played for the President of UTT, The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and The President of Nigeria, just to name a few. In addition to these performances, Ayana has performed for various events in her community through the Woodbrook Community Association and at a church in Chaguanas. She has played for Steel Bands such as WITCO Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove and the stage side at PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars Steel Orchestra. Her love and dedication to the steel pan has led her to achieving much recognition from the University of Trinidad and Tobago. Ayana’s goal is to tour the world and to teach the art of playing the steel pan.

Ayana has also had the unique opportunity to play the Pan app. on the Ipad alongside 2 musical geniuses, Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe and Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore.

Ayana Garcia had a final recital at UTT NAPA campus in order to complete her degree programme at the University. All students were asked to plan a recital organizing sound & lights; crew; decor; advertising the event; programmes and programme notes; music score sheets; refreshments; photographer; costuming; performances etc. Ayana’s judging panel was made up of Jonathan Storer; Kwame Ryan and Desmond Waithe. As expected she was successful in her recital.

Her recital was called Stardust- A Musical Journey. The recital began with welcome remarks from Ayana followed by a rendition of the National Anthem by Natasha Joseph, Louis Rodgers and Saieed Garcia. Ayana then took to the stage and played a total of 7 Songs: Just the Two of Us- Ralph MacDonald, Helter Skelter – W.C. Lemon; The Barber of Seville – Gioacchino Rossini; Tryin a Ting – Liam Teague; Mirrors – Justin Timberlake; Czardas – Vitorio Monti and Fantasie Impromptu – Frederic Chopin. She delivered a vote of thanks after her dazzling performance before she was joined on stage by her group of friends and brother – Natasha Joseph, Saieed Garcia, Jamila Reid, Anika Reid, Lisa Goodridge, Louis Rogers and Joshua Salcedo to deliver her Grand Finale – a memorable rendition of the Mighty Sparrow’s ‘Rose’ (Arr. By Len Boogsie Sharpe).

Now that her recital is over and it was a success Ayana age 20 will be graduating with her music degree soon and moving on to her Masters.

Ayana’s uncle, Robbie Joseph, founder of Pan Podium extends his congratulations to her on her recent achievement and confirms that her hard work, dedication, commitment and natural musical talent will take her to the extreme heights of her musical career. Well-done Ayana – Keep reaching for the skies!

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