Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /homepages/14/d571965057/htdocs/Panpodium2017/wp-content/themes/gonzo/single.php on line 52

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /homepages/14/d571965057/htdocs/Panpodium2017/wp-content/themes/gonzo/single.php on line 53

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /homepages/14/d571965057/htdocs/Panpodium2017/wp-content/themes/gonzo/single.php on line 54

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /homepages/14/d571965057/htdocs/Panpodium2017/wp-content/themes/gonzo/single.php on line 55

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /homepages/14/d571965057/htdocs/Panpodium2017/wp-content/themes/gonzo/single.php on line 56

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /homepages/14/d571965057/htdocs/Panpodium2017/wp-content/themes/gonzo/single.php on line 57

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /homepages/14/d571965057/htdocs/Panpodium2017/wp-content/themes/gonzo/single.php on line 58

Published on November 17th, 2010 | by Werner M. Weidensdorfer


PanGanG: From Pan-Kultur to Calypsonic

In 1999, the managing board of the steel pan association, Pan-Kultur e.V. from Dortmund asked music pedagogue, Werner. M. Weidensdorfer, if he could offer courses for children on their premises. Being an absolute pan novice, he was confronted with the sound of steel pans for the very first time and was “assimilated” immediately. Within one week, his experience as a musician and teacher combined with the craftsmanship of tuner Eckhard C. Schulz led to the creation of the, TeacherSteelPan, an elementary instrument for learning the language of music. Thus equipped, the Pan Kids – as they were previously called – embarked on their journey into the steel pan cosmos of sounds, a journey which has lasted for the past 11 years.  With their Teacher Pans which in the course of the early years were extended by the ranges soprano, alto, tenor and bass to form a quartet, they quickly made a name for themselves as a children’s steel band. 2004 saw the change to traditional steel pan instruments, and the Pan Kids became the youth steel orchestra ‘PanGanG’.

As early as in 2006, they won the 1st prize at the Folk & World Music 2006 competition organized by the LandesVerband der Musikschulen in NRW [Regional association of music schools in North Rhine-Westphalia]. Numerous concerts and intensive rehearsals made sure that the PanGanG consistently developed to become a professional steel orchestra. In January of 2009 they won the 1st prize at the regional competition, ‘JugendJazztNRW’, thus bringing the Caribbean calypso sound into the domain of jazz big bands. On the 20th June 2009, PanGanG played at the 1st International Steel Band Festival in De Kwakel, Netherlands.

At this point, there was the break-up with Pan-Kultur as the managing board parted with W. M. Weidensdorfer directly after the prize-winning concert in January. This would have been the end of the successful youth orchestra if it had not been for a group of committed parents who were willing to carry on this successful concept. In late April of 2010, PanGanG left the orchestra room in Güntherstrasse to move into their Pan Loft of the newly founded association, ‘Calypsonic e.V. – Institut für SteelPan und Calypso’ only a few hundred yards away.

Apart from the soprano pans owned by each of the musicians, they had no orchestra instruments and they had two important gigs scheduled for two weeks later. In this stressful situation, the tuner Toussaint Clarke proved to be a real saviour. The parents advanced funds, and a basic ensemble set was brought back to Dortmund from a weekend trip to Bath, England. This, however, led to another challenge: On account of the Caribbean-style layout of the pans, the experienced musicians had to start again from scratch! After only one week and despite all the undesirable conditions, PanGanG played on the Saturday and Sunday of the anniversary celebrations of the Cologne Zoo – and the audience was enthusiastic.

After a number of local concerts, the band achieved something which they would not have thought of in their wildest dreams. Musical arranger, Leroy Clarke, and Joe Friend, Captain of Real Steel Orchestra from Plymouth, invited them to join them for the 2010 UK Panorama competition in London. The time frame was tight. One week of preparation, then off to Plymouth on the Saturday before the Notting Hill Carnival. Following another 5 days of extremely intensive work in the Sound House, Estover, Real Steel’s entire orchestra met for the final rehearsal in Bath. That event alone went beyond the imagination of the German teenagers. And then the absolute highlight of their journey – the 2010 UK National Panorama competition in Kensal Road, a musical wonder of the world with PanGanG right in the middle! Since then, the sound at Calypsonic e.V. has changed fundamentally.  It sounds as if the band has been turbocharged, and everyone knows for sure that Pan is for Life and PanGanG will play on.


For further info go to: http://www.calypsonic.de, http://www.pangang.de or




by Werner M. Weidensdorfer

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑