- Tracks 8, 9 and 11 are arranged by Deryck Nurse, all others by
- Lettesha Sylvester is lead vocalist on track 8.
- Juelle Archer
sings background vocals Joseph Roger Bishop plays saxophone on tracks
9 and 11
- The soloists are:
- Yohan Popwell (double seconds)
- Deslie Paul and Sheldon Peters (tenors)
- Natoya Peters (triple cello) and
- Kinda Natasha John (double guitar)
Pantastic Players are Yohan Popwell, double
seconds, musical director/arranger; Kinda Natasha John, double
guitar; Sheldon Peters, Deslie Paul, tenors; Samantha St. Clair,
Natoya Peters, cellos; Renaldo Taylor, Danielle Mulrain, six bass;
Francis Walters, drums and Kenneth Clark, percussion. Deryck Nurse
is the co-musical director/arranger.
We welcome Pantastic!
Players to the world stage with fond and proud memories of the
precursor ensemble of which Yohan Popwell was a co-leader. Panazz
broke new ground in Boston by appearing twice at Symphony Hall. They
also presented master classes to students in the Boston Public
School System on both occasions. Their standard of excellence is a
level many are striving to attain since the concerts in
1998: top class musicianship and full house attendance in a 2500
Panazz prevails with panache as Pantastic Players
The acronym Panazz
Players (Pan and Jazz) was coined by Barry Bartholomew and Yohan
Popwell in 1993. It was an integral part of their mission to form a
self-sufficient steel ensemble. Initially, they participated in the
Pan Ramajay steelband competition, a brainchild of the late
Amin Mohammed and Exodus Steel Orchestra. The group was extremely
successful and dominated the event for several years.
Apart from astute
panmanship, dexterity and suave arrangements, the players always
enjoyed themselves while performing. They loved to ‘get on’ and this
endeared them to their many patrons. Panazz successfully
released four albums, toured extensively and aggressively
merchandised their artefacts along the way. After twelve
years, they eventually disbanded in 2005
when Bartholomew gave up music for the culinary arts to
become a very successful chef.
Popwell has now
collaborated with Deryck Nurse to form a new ensemble, known as
Pantastic Players®. The band plans to develop a
repertoire and style similar to its predecessor. Pantastic
Players are Yohan Popwell, double seconds, musical
director/arranger; Kinda Natasha John, double guitar; Sheldon
Peters, Deslie Paul, tenors; Samantha St. Clair, Natoya Peters,
cellos; Renaldo Taylor, Danielle Mulrain, six bass; Francis Walters,
drums and Kenneth Clark, percussion. Deryck Nurse is the other
Nurse and Popwell
asked me to produce their first CD. I thought it would be a
wonderful opportunity to showcase it on the Sanch catalogue and to
use my networking clout to help them to achieve their objectives.
The album, entitled Livin’ de
Music, will be launched with two live concerts on
Friday 06 and Saturday 07 November at the Learning Resource Centre,
UWI St. Augustine. Recorded at Queen’s Hall in 24-bit HDCD®
format, the repertoire includes one Popwell original and twelve
other effervescent arrangements in the Latin, Bossa Nova, Calypso,
R&B and Popular genres.
I am extremely
pleased to be associated with this talented group of musicians and
will ensure that they effectively make use of the
Pan in Education
Business Model curriculum as a means of ensuring their economic
Simeon L. Sandiford
YOHAN POPWELL - Musical Director/Double Seconds
Yohan Popwell is one of Trinidad’s best arrangers. He began his
successful Steelpan career with the Trinidad All Stars in 1981;
there he received most of his musical influence. As years went by he
was fascinated more and more by the music he was playing in All
He began to arrange for school bands where he experimented and
developed his musical expertise while gaining victory for the
various bands. He soundly believes that a greater future lies ahead
for the Steelpan only if people can begin to see and treat pan as a
To him, the art form has suffered in the past because people in
management positions are not taking the right and necessary measures
to improve the status of the instrument and pannists. He also
believes that all pan men can make pan their livelihood but only
with the right vision and foresight.
Out of this ideology Pantastic Players was formed as a model. The
aim for Pantastic is to become a household name on the international
stage and to deliver high quality performances every time.
- 1992- Co-founder of Panazz Players; a group that has toured
extensively and won the Pan Ramajay competition on several
- 2004, 2007, 2009 he took Pan Sonatas of New York to winners’
row with various arrangements.
- 2005, 2006, 2009 he also led CLICO Sforzata to the top in
the medium band category of Panorama.
DERYCK NURSE - Musical Director/ Congas
I started my musical career as a tenor pan player with the (then)
Catelli Trinidad All Stars. I was actively involved with Trinidad
All Stars Steel Orchestra for twenty seven years and held positions
of Assistant Musical Director and Assistant Leader.
The bi-annual Classical Jewels Concert laid the foundation for my
appreciation of classical music and my solid musical career. I
enlisted in the Trinidad and Tobago regiment in 1988 and was a
founding member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force Steel
Orchestra in 1995, of which I became its Musical Director and
I graduated from UWI St Augustine with a Bachelor’s degree in
Musical Arts in 2006, and I am currently retained as a tutor at the
same institution. I believe that in order for any venture to be
successful, all its members and participants must understand their
individual roles and work towards it.
To me, Pantastic Players is a band where all the members can take
as an avenue to learn from the expertise and experience of each
other while working to achieve the band’s mission.
I led the Defense Force Steel Orchestra to victory in the 1998
World Steelband Music Festival (joint winners). I received the Suruj
Boodram prize for the best Certificate in Music student from the Faculty of Humanities and
Education, UWI, St. Augustine”.
NATOYA PETERS - Secretary/Cello
I became involved in Steelpan at a very young age as I was born
into a musical family. As a teenager, I began to move away from pan
in order to focus on school, but I have since realized that nothing
else makes me feel as worthy as Steelpan because I enjoy playing the
instrument and I can make it my career.
I am now developing my skills in formal music as this helps to
upgrade a person as a general musician. Pantastic Players is a group
consisting of genuine individuals all with the common interest of
taking pan to the highest possible level. We all want Pantastic to
be the best steelband on the planet.
DESLIE PAUL - Tenor
My name is Deslie Paul and I am seventeen years old. I am
currently a member of Pantastic Players Steel Ensemble. I enjoy
singing, writing poems and listening to music. I love being involved
in any type of musical event especially the steelpan.
Pan has contributed greatly to my life and has helped me to be a
better individual overall. The current practice sessions have been
challenging yet fun. Day by day progression is our reward for the
hard work and dedication.
My goals and objectives with Pantastic Players are mainly to be
world acclaimed and highly acknowledged. This is not a fantasy; it’s
SHELDON PETERS - Tenor
Sheldon began playing pan with Moods Steel orchestra at a very
young age. He then moved on to the band Exodus where he spent
thirteen years. Sheldon gathered his skills and entered the Scouting
for Talent competition where he placed second.
He is now a member of the Defence Force Steel Orchestra and
arranges for St Margaret’s Boys’ Primary School which placed first
in at the National Junior Panorama under thirteen category.
KINDA NATASHA JOHN - Double Guitar
Kinda began playing pan at age 14 in Parry’s Pan School. She used
the instrument as an avenue to get away from household duties before
she fell in love with the instrument for the nine years that she has
been involved in steelpan she has played all of the different
instruments before settling down on cellos.
Kinda believes that Pantastic Players is the real thing, its
members are vibrant, and share have strong communication and
understanding. But most importantly we all share similar values.
SAMANTHA ST CLAIR - Cello
When I was introduced to the Steelpan at fourteen years old I
found it to be noise, but now I love the national instrument. It
gives me a sense of well being. I can read music and I am in the
process of improving my reading, writing and playing of music.
I believe that the vision the band has set for itself will only
be achieved with dedication and commitment. Although we are a new
band, the members of Pantastic Players have thus far shown the
DANIELLE MULRAIN - Bass
I have always been involved in music. I started playing piano at
age three and recorder at age five. But my love for music blossomed
when I joined the South East P.O.S Secondary Steel Orchestra. There
we engaged in several activities such as inter-class Panorama,
junior Panorama and playing for school functions.
I attempted playing several instruments, but the tenor bass
appealed to me the most. After South East, I played with several
bands including FLABEJ Ensemble and CLICO Sforzata Steel Orchestra.
Currently, I play bass with the newly formed Pantastic Players and I
know that my love and appreciation for this great instrument can
RENALDO TAYLOR - Bass
My Name is Renaldo Taylor I am 22 years old and started to do
music at the age of 16 while in Secondary school. I played the
Steelpan, then started playing piano and pan privately but after a
while moved back to playing pan,
I can play the Tenor pan but I am originally a six-bass player, I
am originally from San Fernando, but moved up to Port of Spain to
further studies, I started playing pan in the Port Of Spain in 2008,
where I met Mr. Popwell.
Pantastic Players gives its members an opportunity to develop as
people and as musicians. I can see this band going places because of
the kind of people we are. Formerly, I played with several bands
such as Golden Hands, Hatters, Mount Moriah Pan Movement, and Clico
FRANCIS WALTERS - Drummer
I began playing Steelpan at age ten in primary school. I started
on the tenor pan but kept switching until I finally settled on the
drums. I was not very skilled at playing drums at first, but as time
went by, my skills improved. Now, I consider myself an able and
I am currently the drummer for Pantastic Players. Pantastic is a
very interesting steel ensemble with vibrant people and music. A
band like this can only move forward in time and ultimately hope to
be world acclaimed.
KENNETH RICHARD CLARKE - Percussionist
I began my long musical career while listening to the Pan Am
North Stars Steel Orchestra as a child. I became a talented six bass
player and toured extensively with the band. As years went by, I
began to familiarize myself with other musical instruments such as
the electric bass, the drum set and other minor hand percussion
I was involved in the formation of several small music groups as
drummer and musical director. I have accomplished many of my goals
in music and I know that there is much more to be achieved.
I hope to contribute some of my knowledge in jazz and Latin jazz
to Pantastic Players and I know that my involvement in the group
will be a learning experience. All the members have a very good
relationship and we are all working to achieve world acclamation for
DENYSHA YOHANNA POPWELL - Tenor
Yohanna began playing steelpan at age three when taught by her
father; Yohan Popwell. She did her first solo performance at a
school’s graduation when she was just seven years old. She has
participated in several major events like Pan in The Twenty First
Century, Music Festival and New York Panorama.
LLETTESHA SYLVESTER - Lead Vocalist
Llettesha Sylvester is a final year voice music student at the
University of the Southern Caribbean. She completed Grades 6 and
7 Royal School of Music Practical Voice examinations and is
currently preparing for Grade 8. She did voice training with Mr.
Jessel Murray for three years and since then have been training
under Ms. Nadine Gonzales and Dr. Vertrelle Mickens.
She is a passionate music minister and had been singing from the
age of nine at various religious children's programs. Since then she
has worked on various studio projects for/ with other musicians like
Carlton Louison, Kerron Noel. She is also a background vocalist for
Loucretia 'Luckey' Horrel.
She sang at various gospel concerts and other events around
Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and St. Vincent, graduations, weddings,
funerals and other services and events. She is the song service
leader at church and also assists with the church choir. Music has
served as her comfort for many years and as such has enabled her to
become the musician that she is today.
JUELLE ARCHER - Background Vocalist
Juelle Archer is an able vocalist who can find harmonies in both
major and minor keys. She has performed extensively as both a lead
singer and background vocalist. Juelle also sang live lead and
background vocals with steel ensembles. She performed with artistes
like Iwer George, Isaac Blackman, Shal Marshall and Destra Garcia.
Mappo as he is called began to observe other tuners in order to
learn from them and further develop his skills. He was influenced by
tuners like Leroy Thomas, Patrick Worrell, Bertram ‘Birch’ Kellman,
Herman ‘Guppy’ Brown and Lincoln Noel.
He has tuned for some of the top bands including; Trinidad All
Stars, Phase II, Desperadoes and Sforzata. In the late nineties
people began to demand his instruments and his name has since become
a household one in the steelpan circuit.
Richardson has made all of Pantastic’s instruments and he
believes that the band is a wonderful idea and has the potential to
be very successful. He is also looking forward to tuning for