On Saturday, April 29 at Fulford Hall, islanders can enjoy the sounds of the Caribbean with Bernard Fernandes and his steel drums, for a Salt Spring version of a Caribbean carnival called Steelpan Extravaganza.
Fernandes is bringing a set of steel drums for this event, and in tandem with Swing Shift Big Band there will be a concert featuring him, his workshop participants and a few sax solos from Monik Nordine.
The inspiration for the concert, presented by Magenta Music, was a result of Nordine and Fernandes’ most recent trip to Trinidad where they met up in Port of Spain to hear the steel drum competition there called Panorama.
“This takes place yearly as part of the carnival celebrations on the island,” explained Nordine. “Each borough or neighbourhood has their own steel pan band with anywhere from 20 to 100 members and practices all year to compete at Panorama for a cash prize of a million Trinidanian dollars. The festival is put on by the government of Trinidad and Tobago along with corporate sponsors and over a million people, roughly 90 per cent of the population, take part in carnival-related events.”
Fernandes will bring 12 tenor pans for folks to try out in the workshop next Saturday, which will consist of learning to play a song by ear on the steelpan along with Fernandes and the others.
Fernandes is a native of Trinidad and the originator of the SweetPan Entertainment and Carib X Press bands. He performs as a solo artist on steel drums, piano, vocals and guitar and has arranged for and/or led La Tropical, Karib Brass, Cinnamon, Fernandes & Co, Sweet Pan and Panarimba.
The Steel Pan Food Truck will be parked at the hall for the April 29 event, with some Caribbean delicacies available from 4 to 7 p.m. Colourful clothing and dancing is highly encouraged.
Workshops will run in the hall from 3 to 6 p.m. and the concert will take place from 7 to 10 p.m.
Workshop cost ranges from $20 to $60, depending on the amount of time spent in the sessions, and includes concert admission. Concert tickets are $20.
Tickets and workshop sign-up are at Mondo and Company in Ganges.