Monday, January 17, 2022

Steelpanist set to thrill at Botswana Craft

Botswana Craft will this Friday host American steel panist, Andy Narrel. With his first solo album in 1979 Andy Narell took the steelpan out of the steelband and brought it into the jazz band.

With every recording and concert since, he has explored the possibilities and expanded the role of the pan in contemporary music.
For a little FYI for those who may be in the dark, a steelpanist is a person who plays the steelpan. A professional panist can perform solo pieces, play with a steel band, or accompany one or more singers or solo instrumentalists.

Narell has made more than a dozen albums as leader, one as co-leader with Relator (University of Calypso), two as co-leader of the Caribbean Jazz Project (with Paquito D’Rivera and Dave Samuels), and two as co-leader of Sak├®sho (with Mario Canonge, Michel Alibo, and Jean Philippe Fanfant).

Along the way, he has worked with artists as diverse as Chucho Valdes, Bela, Aretha Franklin, and the Kronos String Quartet.┬á He has performed on movie scores by James Horner, Maurice Jarre, Elmer Bernstein, Hans Zimmer, Michel Colombier, and Thomas Newman, and his compositions have been featured in the film ‘The Firm’, and on tv shows like ‘Designing Women and Going to Extremes’, as well as commercials for Apple Computers, Sony, Porsche, and Southwest Bell.┬á

As a bandleader and soloist, he has played hundreds of concerts and jazz festivals throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, the Caribbean, South America, and Africa. 

In 1999, Narell became the first foreigner to compose for Trinidad’s Panorama steel band competition, guiding the 100 player Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra to the finals of both the 1999 and 2000 Panoramas.┬á

In 2007 he collaborated with Trinidad All Stars for a concert of his steel band music at the Trinidad and Tobago Steelpan and Jazz Festival. 

The year 2010 saw the realization of a project bringing together the Andy Narell Steel band with Michael Abene and the WDR Big Band, with special guest Relator, with a sold out concert at the K├Âln Philharmonic in Germany.┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á

“We are honored to be hosting the legendary Andy Narell, steel pan maestro from New York, USA,” said Oliver Groth of Botswana Craft.┬á “He has a long relationship with steel pan music having played all over the world including many times in the Caribbean.”
Andy Narell has put together a phenomenal band, including legendary Louis Mhlanga on guitar, Peter Sklair on bass, Thomas Diyani on percussion and Robert Watson on drums.

Kearoma Rantao, who will also form part of the legendary band, will have just returned from her trip to the USA where she has been nominated for an Artists award.

Mascom Live Sessions have been running since 2011. This will be the 22nd edition of Mascom Live Sessions that have included artists such as Salif Keita, Hugh Masekela, Lira, Mi Casa, Ringo, Zahara, Freshlyground, amongst many others who perform alongside local Botswana based musicians.  The initiative was stated to provide a bigger platform for local artists.

Botswanacraft has an outdoor courtyard venue and prides itself in hosting quality live musical events.  They recently got new sound equipment from Italy and look forward to improved musical standards on this next show.

Tickets for the Andy Narell / Louis Mlhanga show are available at Botswanacraft for P200 in advance.  The outdoor event starts promptly at 8.00pm.

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