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Published on December 8th, 2014 | by Robbie Joseph


British Association of Steelbands (BAS) Annual Awards 2014

On a chilly winter evening, the British Association of Steelbands (BAS) hosted their 16th annual awards at the Holiday Inn, in Bloomsbury, London on Saturday 6th December 2014.  The warm Caribbean culture that this event generates certainly brought the festive cheer alive on the night.

Kayleigh ‘Loud Mouth’ Lewis and Joel ‘ Big Bad Tubbs’ Hamilton, MCs on the night certainly added to the already charged atmosphere with their jovial banter certainly added to the already charged atmosphere where everyone was keen to unveil the identities of the awards recipients.

Pepe Francis MBE – President of BAS delivered his usual speech highlighting the achievements of the association over the year confirming the 2014 Awards theme, ‘Celebrating Excellence’. He closed his speech by thanking BAS Executives – Debi Gardner, Robbie Joseph, Eversley Mills, Patricia Munroe, Tara Baptiste and Patrick McKay as well as all attendees, which included Sterling Betancourt MBE, Gerald Forsyth OBE, Keith Diaz, Richard Forteau, Brent Holder MBE and all award recipients on the night.

Keith Diaz, President of Pan Trinbago followed and his speech covered the involvement and support of BAS by Pan Trinbago.  These initiatives included Sponsorship of Awards for BAS Competitions, Securing judges for the UK National Panorama and On the Road competitions and facilitating the partnership between the National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago and the Notting Hill Carnival. These initiatives are unique to the UK and recognize the importance of the UK steel band movement to the global promotion of the steel pan.

Two young ladies celebrating their birthdays – Robbie Greenidge’s sister, Annette Greenidge Russell and Sterling Betancourt MBE’s sister in law, Elma Betancourt, were presented with big bouquets of flowers on the night.

Internationally renowned pannist, Robbie Greenidge, delivered the live entertainment on the night accompanied by the Engine Room Collective. His repertoire for the evening included Stardust; Talk your Talk, Paradise Garden, Tan Tan, and the Christmas Medley of Madam Jeffrey. He closed his performance with an appropriate rendition of We Wish You a Merry Xmas.  Greenidge’s excellent musicality left the audience craving more.  His dexterity with the instrument was so evident by his relaxed demeanor even when delivering some complicated musical pieces at lightning speed. Greenidge is truly a global steelpan icon and his performance was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance.

The following Awards were presented on the night:

Anniversary Awards:

Harlow Steel Band – 10th

North Tyneside Steel Band – 25th

Contrast Steel Orchestra – 40th

London All Stars – 40th


2014 Competitions Awards:

Pan Clash – David Ijaduola

Notting Hill Junior Steelband Panorama  – Ebony Steel Band

Jouvert Bomb Competition – London All Stars Steel Orchestra

Best Traditional Steelband – Panecktar Steel Band

Best Conventional Steelband  – Real Steel

UK National Panorama Champions – Real Steel (this was their hattrick of wins)


Special Awards:

The Crystal Gail Holder Award– Marlon Hibbert

Ezekiel ‘Biggs’ Yearwood Award– Lee Nelson

Randolph Baptiste Award – Leroy Clarke


BAS Hall of Fame – Lifetime Achievement Award – Hallam Ifill.

The BAS Hall of Fame is the association’s highest accolade. It is presented to an individual who has worked continuously and tirelessly to promote the music, culture and traditions of steelpan. Hallam started playing the steelpan in the late 1940s in Barbados. In 1955, he moved to England and the first thing he did was the make a steepan. His pan-playing friends from Barbados joined him and the Barbados All Stars was formed. He persisted in looking for new and innovative ways to engage young people and to ease the transition he change the name of the band to Rainbow Steel Band. Hallam has supported three generations of youngsters who under his guidance have developed their own passion for pan.

As a result of this individual’s determination and vision the band has produced several excellent pan tutors and arrangers who in turn have gone on to teach and inspire other bands not only around the South West of England but across the UK and Europe – bands such as Sounds of Steel, Hammered Steel and of course Real Steel who have achieved success in the UK and abroad.

Hallam has actively been involved in the international steelpan movement for almost 70 years and still looks to the future with great passion and enthusiasm. The steelband he started when he first arrived in the UK is celebrating their 60th anniversary next year is evidence of his commitment to the sector.

Mike Forbes who has been the Awards resident DJ for several years had the attendees dancing to the sweet strains of steelband and soca music into the wee hours of Sunday morning. This event is growing in popularity so much so that it was sold out several weeks before and people are already looking forward to the BAS 2015 Awards.

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