|Holman Continues to Inspire
Sunday, April 2nd 2006
Steelpan living legends, from left,
Dr Jit Samaroo, Ray Holman and Ken "Professor" Philmore
Veteran steelpan composer Ray Holman hopes his latest CD
compilation inspires more young composers to create music for the
national instrument. Holman says the album, aptly titled Changing
Times, is the fruit of many a sleepless night and is dedicated to the
"I hope this project will inspire more people to compose. It's
not an easy road because it's more difficult to create a song, have
it recorded and then rehearsed as opposed to just taking a popular
calypso and arranging it but the satisfaction you get out of it is
really worth it and I believe as a composer its the way the go," he
said at the album's launch at Hilton Trinidad on Wednesday.
Holman, holder of the Humming Bird Silver Medal of Merit, was the
first composer to really experience that satisfaction when his
original composition "Pan on the Move" received national acclaim in
the 1972 Panorama competition.
He was, however, heavily criticised by the calypso fraternity for
the bold move that essentially set the pace for Len "Boogsie"
Sharpe, Dr Jit Samaroo, and several other top class composers of
"Up to that time in 1972 they played only calypso so when
Starlift came with our own composition some people became insecure.
But the real outcry came when they heard the song because they did
not think we could pull it off and when we won the preliminary round
they said we were 'taking bread out of their mouths," he said.
He said calypsonians felt threatened by his work because they
were not really interested in the development of the instrument but
instead were seeking their own interest.
"They were concerned about securing their dominance and I was
about liberating the pan which was totally dependent and still is to
an extent but happily so many composers came after me," he said.
Changing Time is collaboration between, Holman, YARA Trinidad
Limited and UWI Festival Steel Ensemble.
The six-track double CD which includes an enhanced data disc
featuring the music scores, composer profiles as well as scorer and
editor notes, was conceptualised by YARA, composed and scored by
Holman and Dr Jeannine Remy and executed by the university ensemble.
"Ray is the king of orchestration and sound in T&T," Dr Remy said
during her address at the launch.
Remy said she contributed several hours to the project because
she recognised the importance of the project from an educational
"I know many universities in the US will be using the CD and the
scores for their classes so I felt it was important to ensure they
were done accurately," she said.
Several of those US music students will have an opportunity to
witness live performances from the ace composer this month as he is
scheduled to visit Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah
on April 7, the University of Iowa on April 13 and the University of
Arizona on the April 23.
Holman then rounds off the tour with a joint performance with
Liam Teague and Cliff Alexis at the University of California.
At Panorama 2006 Holman's PCS Starlift placed third in the
Conventional large band's category playing Derek Seales' "If We
He said he still had mixed feelings about Pan Trinbago's decision
to allow old songs to be played at Panorama finals.
"Carnival music should be new music, this year most bands played
new music The old music is fine because we will never have great
writers like Kitchener, Merchant and Ras Shorty I again but they
should only serve to inspire people to write new music," he
Source: Trinidad Express