Capturing the Spirit of Carnival


RBC brass, percussion and jazz students recently joined Zoom sessions hosted by the Academy of Performing Arts at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) to develop transatlantic ties with the institution by sharing musical heritages. RBC students watched presentations on the history of Steel Pan, Calypso legend Lord Kitchener and the Empire Windrush, and found out how Calypso has evolved into other styles such as Kaiso jazz, which is unique to Trinidad and Tobago.

An online collaboration resulted from this sessions, where UTT’s rhythm section and RBC students come together to perform of one of Lord Kitchener’s most famous tunes, ‘Pan in A minor’. The students began rehearsals in February and subsequently recorded each part of the song individually to a click track.

RBC Percussionist Alex Henshaw had the onerous task of editing the numerous audio and video recordings, which was helped by all the practice in home recording the students have had this year due to Covid-19. 

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Head of Brass Amos Miller said: “Covid has temporarily closed many doors for musicians and students, which has forced us to be more creative about international collaborations. We were delighted to be approached by UTT to share our respective musical heritages with our Trinbagonian colleagues. Music is all about what brings people together, and we all hope that this can be the start of a relationship that might one day result in some joint in-person performances.”

He added: “Lord Kitchener is, arguably, the key figure in post-war Calypso, and someone who had strong ties with the UK, and was among the passengers aboard the Windrush when it first docked at Tilbury on 21 June 1948. This particular tune is one of his most covered so it seemed especially appropriate.”

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