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Europe

Published on July 3rd, 2010 | by Pan4U

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Pan4u

In front of the imposing backdrop of the Alpstein Mountains with Mount Säntis is the region of Thurgau/St.Gallen – Lake Constance in the foothills is the sweet home of the steel band, Pan4u. The ‘Happy End’ of North Switzerland, lies in the heart of Europe, surrounded by three countries – Germany, Austria and Principality of Liechtenstein – characterised by scenic beauty and inhabited by original, hospitable people, lays their jewel, the ‘Swabian Sea’ – Lake Constance, Europe’s third largest lake after Geneva and Balaton. Over the centuries, it has been known by many names; the Romans called it the ‚’Golden Bowl’ while the Alemannians named it the, ‚Swabian Sea’. The area has a fascinating history and today Lake Constance (German: Bodensee) is shared by three countries. Germany has 174 km of the northern shoreline, Austria to the east has 28 km, while the Swiss section to the south has 72 km.

Paddle steamers are still in service on Europe’s most fascinating lake. As a result, Pan4u enjoy entertaining people during cruises with their unique sound. Other gigs at various functions such as weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries, jubilees etc., all add to their collection of many happy memories and valuable experiences in this charming landscape. Pan4u was founded in 2002 by five motivated women filled with great enthusiasm, their first basic repertoire was taught at their new rehearsal room in Gossau, in the rustic surroundings of St.Gallen, by their teacher and arranger, Junior. J. Edwards.

In 2004, after acquiring new players and rehearsal rooms their repertoire continued to grow. The band presently consists of two tenors (Diana and Maria), one single second (Monika), one double guitar (Sandra), one six-bass (Janet) and two players in the rhythm section, Fritz, percussion and Trinidadian, Darryl Belgrove, who plays the  drums, congas and percussion. Darryl is also their drill master and leads their rehearsals. Maria lives six months in a year in Tobago and is a big supporter of the Katzenjammers steel band. Monika also plays with the Thurpan band and Sandra with her Italian roots gives them a nice groove. Janet is originally from England and is also a member of a steel band called, Another Phase. Fritz loves the Caribbean rhythm whilst Diana is greatly influenced by her Trinidadian husband. Whether its rehearsals or gigs – they always have fun together.

Junior Edwards and Darryl Belgrove are both born and bred Trinidadians from the San Fernando area in South Trinidad. Growing up in the Mecca of pan, they both had the opportunity to learn and develop their pan playing skills to become professional musicians. They have played for top Trinidadian bands, Phase 11 Pan Groove, Skiffle Bunch and Fonclaire to name a few. They are both resident in Switzerland and perform with different ensembles. Having these skilled pan players with Pan4u gives them even more pleasure and incentive to play the instrument.

Their own knowledge of playing pan is increasing all the time, especially during workshops with their arranger/tutor, Junior Edwards. Their repertoire includes Soca, Reggae, Swing, Pop, Soul etc as well as  some old classics such as Besame Mucho, Autumn Leaves, Masquerade to name a few. The new experience of sharing their knowledge of the steel pan with groups of various people was very inspiring. They were able to show and explain the history and development of the instrument concluding with participants eagerly wanting to ‘have a go’.

Pan4u members have participated in nation-wide projects like, SwissTrin, affording them the opportunity to play at EXPO 02, the Swiss exhibition held in the French part of Switzerland. They have also participated in other steel band festivals in Cudrefin which lies in the western part of Switzerland and Männedorf near Zürich. Their involvement with the Caribbean Connection project saw them perform at Notting Hill Carnival, in Berlin during the Festival Der Kulturen and several other steel band events. Their newest joint venture is with a group from Zürich called, S.O.S steel band. Their aim is to play together at Kulturinsel during a cultural event called Folklorum in Einsiedel/Germany from the 3rd to the 5th September 2010.

Being one of the very few steel bands in their area they are proud to be introduced to the global pan community.  For further information please visit their website www.pan4u.com. Long live pan!

 

by Members of Pan4u


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