Magda Belaid – Calypsociation Steel Orchestra
PP: When were you first introduced to the steelpan instrument?
MB: The first time I saw a steeldrum. I remember that moment very well. It was in September 1998, I was 10 at that time. Every Wednesday afternoon, we went, my little brother and I, to an association of Brazilian percussions "Bahia Steel" in Paris. Where we played the traditional percussions of Carnival and Batucadas: agogo, cachichi, pandero ... Until the day when a teacher, Matéo, came with a double tenor.
At that moment, I didnt know anything about the pan ... he started to teach me a classical piece of Bach, but I cannot remember what song. And there! BOOM! something magical happened. Maybe the Jumbie? It was Matéo who gave me the address of Calypsociation, assuring me that I had to continue playing steelpan which is what did.
PP: What made you want to start playing pans?
MB: I do not know exactly. I was irresistibly attracted from the beginning.
PP: When did you start playing pan?
MB: It can be said that I actually started playing steelband in 2000 with Calypsociation Steel Band.
PP: What steel bands have you played for?
MB: I played with Calypsociation (still today), Real Steel, Glissando, Ebony and Ferblan in Reunion Island. When I moved to the Reunion Island, I thought I wouldn’t play steelpan anymore. But I met Ludo Perez, who is the founder of Ferblan. thanks to him, I was able to continue playing and also for the first time earn money regularly playing music, especially in luxury hotels.
PP: When was your first panorama?
MB: My first Panorama: what an adventure! it was in 2003. My best friend, Etienne, myself and another friend of the same age (about 15 years old) decided to go and play with Real Steel for the UK National Panorama.
PP: If you could play for any band in the world what band would you want to play with?
PP: What steelband competitions have you taken part in?
MB: Pan European Festival 2002, London Panorama 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2016, International Panorama 2015.
PP: How many musical tours have you completed and where did you travel too?
MB: Sadly, I never went on tour but we had gigs, every where in France, also in Germany, Holland and Switzerland.
PP: What was the most challenging thing you have done to do with pans?
MB: In 2010, our conductor was Andy Narell. He gave us the wonderful opportunity to play in Cologne with the WDR, that was an unforgettable moment!
PP: As a player in Calypsociation Steel Orchestra can you let us know what is the importance of your role?
MB: I think that every player’s role is important in a steelband.
PP: What are the important qualities/skills that an individual must possess to perform the role that you do in the Calypsociation?
MB: I believe that you have to be motivated and above all things, passionate.
PP: Can you describe your musical experiences playing with Calypsociation, Ebony etc.
MB: I will say that to play in a steel band is to live a very strong human experience. Teamwork is important as we are all bound together through the music. The unity, love and camaraderie is amazing.
PP: What advice would you give to a new player?
MB: You must first have the desire. the rest comes naturally.
PP: What is your favourite pan to play?
MB: Triple Guitar. Thanks to Andy Narell, I had the honour to play on one built by Ellie Mannette in 1987. It's a jewel! A stradivarius! The triple and I are one. Thank You Andy!
PP: What are your hopes for pan in the UK?
MB: For pan in the UK, I wish Panorama will exist for ever in the UK so I can come and play every year. The experience is amazing.