Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pan is de Ting

[photo by Laurie Frankel]

I gigged with my steel drum band last night in honor of the release of their 5th CD called "Pan is de Ting" (meaning pan music is "the thing.") Steelpans are another name for the drums, made from oil barrels. Steelpan music originated in Trinidad and Tobago, and I find playing pan music to be intoxicating as well as challenging. Someday I'd love to go to Trinidad for Carnival and hear the 100-piece Panorama bands perform calypso and soca.

Our band, the Panhandlers Steel Drum Band is led by the talented and hilariously humble Jim Munzenrider. He runs several wildly popular afterschool bands for kids locally and is adored by every child he meets. Having been in the music scene for many years, he was able to bring in some incredible talent for our rag-tag band's performance. We were joined last night by Harry Best--an incredible pan composer from St. Lucia (he wrote Pan is de Ting), Michael Spiro--an internationally recognized percussionist, and Tony Lindsay--the lead singer for the band, Santana.

The highlight of the night for me was singing backup with Tony on three tunes. I've been a performer all my life but this was one of the most fun experiences I've had on stage. Coming with the confidence of five years of vocal training and a willingness to accept myself as a singer, I was able to truly ENJOY the moment.

Perfectionism leads straight into performance anxiety for me. It's been my biggest roadblock in performing. Recently while practicing my drum I realized that if I could focus only on what was in front of me, the notes in one measure which simply led to the next measure, I was infinitely more successful. I brought that mindset into my vocal lessons, following the words of my teacher, "Focus on the task in front of you!" I made leaps and bounds.

Last night I went to Twitter hoping for some pre-show inspiration and I found this quote:
"Why worry about what might or might not happen when the Heart is longing only to drink in the breath of this moment?"
~ Cathy Ginter via @Zen_Moments

All night I "drank in the breath of the moment" and it was glorious.


  1. wow!

    i am so incredibly proud of you, my dear friend.

    big exciting musical moments on stage + beautiful sweet zen breath moments inside.

    the picture of you made me get happy water in my eyes.

    you are spectacular.


  2. What a great write up! What an amazing performance. You are inspiring me with your zen quote. Learn to let go of the sheets and relax into it.That's what I need to do...

  3. Beatufiul Rebecca. I am so proud of you. You have done some incredible work vocally and personally.

  4. woah! i wish i had read this sooner. what an amazing gig! My grandfather was from trinidad and my dad and i are big soca fans, (reggae was a logical second). i WISH i could be there to see you perform, girl! congrats on your moment. and then the next, and the next, and the next ;)

  5. Wow, Ashia, I had no idea! Thanks for sharing and for the comment!