17th Amin Mohammed Steelband Festival
By Christopher Tobutt
It was time to celebrate the best of the best again, as Cayman’s youth chimed into action with the 17th Amin Mohammed Steelband Festival, more than four solid hours of gorgeous pan music.
Director of Education Services Mark Ray, said, “There is a rhythm delivered through the steel pan that reminds us that music and timing are part of the makeup of human beings. This innate musical quality is seen in our students whenever they pick up the sticks to deliver a soca classic or a 70’s pop song. There is the swaying, the bouncing, and importantly, the unity, and in 2022 that unity is needed more than ever.”
The evening began with the Soloists category, in the Primary Category Mason Falcon, from West End Primary School in Cayman Brac, won the trophy for his rendition of ‘The Wellerman,’ while Taglan McFarlane, of Layman Scott High School won in the Juniors Category for his rendition of ‘Remedy.’ In the Seniors category, Clifton Hunter Year 10 student, Micah Leon, won with an beautifully atmospheric performance of The Prayer. James Monroe and Keira Bodden won trophies too. James, a homeschool student in year 11, first appeared in the competition at the tender age of six, and was applauded for stepping up to help younger kids learn the pan. He played ‘By any Means.’ Keira played ‘Wash the Tears’ on Tenor Pan, a quiet and reflective sound at first, later picking up volume and tempo.
Joshua McLean, 17 won the first place in the ‘Open Category’ for soloists, with his inspired performance of ‘If I Ever Knew,’ on tenor pan. But the standard of competition from other competitors in the Open Category was extremely high, and Carrie Smith put a little tear in the corner of everyone’s eye by playing the romantic classic, ‘Sometimes When we Touch.’ while Ruby Piletta treated everyone with Minuet Walz on the tenor pan.
When it came to full steel bands, Spots Bay Primary performed ‘My Lighthouse’ and ‘Shake the Papaya Down,’ and shook down the first place trophy, while West End Primary wowed everyone with “CCMI” an original tune they had composed themselves, as well as the theme tune to ‘Castaways,’ gaining second place. Prospect Primary gained third place, playing Bob Marley’s classic, One Love, as well as the pop classic Some Nights.
Next it was time for the Juniors’ section. Triple C’s turn to get everyone moving to ‘Love Theme,’ and ‘Trouble,’ gaining the second place trophy. John Gray High School played Pan in A Minor and My Way, taking First Prize. They also played Frank Sinatra’s timeless classic, ‘My Way.’ Clifton Hunter’s Caymanites were not to be outdone, playing the Soca favorite, ‘Savannah Grass’ followed by some very good advice, ‘Drink Wata and Mind Yuh Business,’ securing the third place trophy for them.
When it came to the Seniors’ section, both Triple C and Layman E. Scott High School were so amazing that in the end the Judges awarded them a tie for first place. Finishing off the evening in the Open category, John Gray High School played the Soca classic ‘Bump and Wine,’ which gained them third place, Pan n Riddim played the soca classic, Falling, gaining them first place, and finally the UCCI Pandemix Seniors bowled everyone over with ‘El Bimbo,’ and ‘Savannah Grass,’ and won second place.
22 Jun, 2022
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