Published on August 24th, 2016 | by Robbie Joseph0
UK National Steelband Panorama ‘Champions of Steel’ 2016 – Panyard Round Up – Real Steel Orchestra
The Soundhouse is an integral part of Estover Community College on the sprawling, windswept seventies estate of Estover, (tagged ‘little Siberia’) on the outskirts of Plymouth. In 1991, Phil Spurr – a Youth and Community Tutor – asked Dave Perrett, the school’s Head of Music, whether he had any ideas for a project which might stir up a bit of action. And although Dave was only half- serious when he suggested a steel band, Phil followed it up by bringing in some professionals from the field, and establishing an immediate rapport. Whether or not it was assisted by the two bottles of Barbados rum they consumed at their first meeting may never be known, but something extraordinary certainly happened which gave birth to an exceptional phenomenon.
£1,5OO bought five steel pans and some professional assistance from Bath-based Toussaint Clarke – Real Steel was born and the deluge was unleashed. Suddenly, everyone wanted to be in on the music-making action and (what was then titled the Estover Percussion Project) found the funds and the resources to back what members of both school and community wanted to do.
8 members of Estover Community College came together to form a steel band known as the Estover Steel Band. Since then, hard work and dedication have turned that small group in to a 25-strong steel ensemble now known as the much-acclaimed Real Steel.
Toussaint Clarke, tuner and arranger and Dave Perrett, director and arranger, both influenced the band through their support, enthusiasm and practically obsessive dedication, as have many other groups and individuals who are too numerous to mention here.
Real Steel is now firmly established as one of Europe’s top youth steel bands. With an intensive tour schedule embracing major festivals, venues and live events, its work attracts immense media interest. The band has been the subject of a full-length national TV documentary and has performed live on the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky News and a whole host of regional magazine programmes.
From tiny beginnings as an eight-strong outfit in 1991, Real Steel has scaled the heights of professional success, featuring as finalists in the National Festival Of Music For Youth at the South Bank, participating every year in the Notting Hill Carnival since 1994 and visiting a number of other countries including two tours of Barbados.
As a result of Real Steel’s success and enthusiasm, other steel bands have evolved in the local community including various adult, community and junior bands over the year. Real Steel has become a potent symbol of the Soundhouse’s success. Real Steel’s music is superb, dynamic, and distinctive, and presented in a devastatingly good-looking style.
Since Real Steel’s first appearance at the UK National Panorama Competition, ‘Champions of Steel’ competition in 2008 they have established themselves as a musical force to be recognized in the global steelband fraternity. They attained runners- up position on the podium for 2008 followed by third place in 2010 and capturing the winner’s podium in 2012/2013/2014. This orchestra has always maintained a consistent standard at the UK Panorama competition and is coming to regain their winning title with great enthusiasm, drive and determination coupled with their musicality and execution skills. The 2016 competition is going to be a very well contested musical battle with all finalists looking forward to delivering their ten minutes of musical glory on stage.
Real Steel’s tune of choice for the 2016 competition is Carlton ‘Panman’ Harewood’s, ‘Nostalgia’. Musically arranged by Leroy Clarke they are coming strong for their recapture of the title. Keep a close eye on Real Steel as they are a musical force to be reckoned with.
2016 Steelbands playing order at the UK National Panorama:
|CSI Steelband Trust||Pan By Storm||Designer||Brent Holder||“Mapo” Richardson||Brent Holder MBE||Tanisha Elcock|
|Ebony Steelband||Cheers to Life||Voice||Duvone Stewart||Dudley Dickson||Pepe Francis MBE||Anesha Carbon|
|Real Steel||Nostalgia||Carlton ‘Panman’ Harewood||Leroy Clarke||Toussaint Clarke||Leroy Clarke|
|Mangrove Steel Band||Different Me||5Star Akil||Andre White||Bertrand “Birch” Kellman||Debi Gardner||Andrew Facey|
|Metronomes Steel Orchestra||Different Me||5Star Akil||Annise ‘Halfers’ Hadeed||Toussaint Clarke & Grafton Yearwood||Eversley Mills||Vivian Miller|
|Croydon Steel Orchestra||Different Me||5Star Akil||David Ijaduola||Emily “Bacchanal” Lemmerman||Paul Dowie||Jody Moosetach-Humphries & Temitayo Ken Afolabi|
|London All Stars||Soca Ruption||Simon Superville||Phil ‘DBL’ Rollock||Frank Rollock||Frank Rollock||Shanai Rollock|
|Endurance Steel Orchestra||Different Me||5Star Akil||Marlon Hibbert||Toussaint Clarke & Yann Brabant||Shareen Gray||Marlon Hibbert|