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Reboot -- Roll Call - Celebration of Women In Pan

Global - It’s March and that means this is Women’s Month.  It is the month when we celebrate the contributions of women to the world.  Normally - as it is a When Steel Talks tradition - we highlight the month through a series of articles and interviews with the female movers, shakers, and up and coming stars.

Let's not forget the great women who were awesome and unwavering supporters of the steelpan music art form who have passed on since our last roll call. Keep the late Glenda Gamory, Dr. Pat Bishop, Dr. Geraldine Connor and Allyson Hennessy among others in your thoughts.

We will continue the WST roll call of the Women in Pan from previous years. Add your name, or the names of women globally, that are involved, or should be celebrated, for their contributions to and/or love for - the Steelpan Instrument and Artform below.


Celebration of Women
and the Steelpan Art Form

Sisters in Steel - A Tribute To Women In Pan

Their Story, Their Voice, Their Life, Their Dreams, Their Passion



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I miss you so much Geraldine. You are often in my thoughts and always in my heart. Dx

Dr. Connor could you please submit the names of some of the pioneering women like yourself who paved the way in the steelband movement much much thanks and appriciation for the contribution of you and your family
Dear Lennie

There are not many female pioneers from my generation and those I know you will know .... Alma Pierre, Pat Bishop, Merle Albino-de Coteau, and the slightly younger, Dawn Batson ..... but interestingly enough except for Dawn and myself, many of the above never actually played the instruments, even though they arranged for the bands

Dr. Geraldine Connor
Pat Bishop

I can’t say that gender has been a factor in my pan yard activities – which now span so long a period of time that I’ve forgotten when it all started!

I remember once singing with Esso Tripoli steelband and abandoning solo singing soon afterwards in preference for pan arranging. In those days I worked feverishly to find out what the instrument could do and I lived with the pans of Birdsong in my house for a very long time.

They were very kind and they soon let me arrange for them, starting with simple hymn tunes. And so too did many, many more bands.

The Classical Festival was to become the event for which my major work was done, but I also started to drill and clean up Panorama arrangements and do critical pan commentary for Radio Trinidad. I continue to do these jobs today.

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Girl Pat

Steelband pioneer, Curtis Pierre, 70, said:

“Girl Pat was the female version of Invaders. It was around the time when the college boys were forming Dixieland. It’s the first and one of the few all girls’ steelbands. It was that kind of rebellious youth. I saw her about two years ago, when I had my pan school in Belmont. She passed and chatted with me. She looked totally un-Alzheimic.”

An excerpt from The Trinidad and Tobago Steelpan History and Evolution by Dr FIR (Fedo) Blake reads: “The most successful female venture in the steel pan movement was made by the Girl Pat Steel Orchestra of Hazel Henley of Picton Street, Newtown. She was an accomplished musician who played the piano and formed the band with some of her close friends. She was encouraged and ably assisted by Ellie Mannette and other panmen.

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Happy Women's Month - Ms. Connor, Catt, Pan Woman, Jeannine Remy, Sarah-Ann and all the other steelpan women on the WST forum and around the world. Keep up the great work.

wow! Dr. Connor it thrills me to read of your accomplishments, it must be so gratifying to be so thoroughly steeped in the world of pan. i wanna be just like you when i grow up... hehe

i never knew Pat Bishop worked with Esso Tripoli. that was the very first pan i ever heard, they were the band that set me on this path as an 8 year old american kid 40 years ago...... i remember my mom taking us to see them twice on their North American tours, my mouth hanging open hearing this awesome sound. i remember telling my mom it sounded like 'fairy bells' , and not being able to stay in my seat in the fancy concert hall. i was up and dancing in the aisles.

bugs you are a dear!
you must let the pan world know there is only 1 top catt

LMAO! *blushing* aw Vine have i told u lately that i love u buddy?

i'm just a baby compared to Ms Bishop, Dr. Connor, Dr. Batson, Michelle Huggins-Watts, Jemma Duke -- now THEY are Top Panwomen!

Lamina Woods, Danielle Adams, Ronica Gordon, Shaneka London, Michele Cherebin, Natasha Joseph, Aficia Sahadath...
Merle Albino-de Coteau

Women’s Contribution to the Steelband Movement”

Mrs. Merle Albino-de Coteau is a retired Director of Culture, in the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Women's Affairs. She is a daughter of the soil having being born into a musical family in Success Village, Laventille (Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) - Mrs. Albino-de Coteau, a graduate of Mc Gill University, Canada and of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is also the holder of several awards for contribution to music in T & T. She was honoured on the twentieth (20th) anniversary of the National Woman's Action Committee for her contribution to Culture, in particular the Calypso Aft form in February 2004. She is also one of the recipients of a Kwanza Award (2001), a nation award, the Humming Bird Medal (1993), and a Sunshine Awards (1989) at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), for her contribution to culture, particularly for calypso and steelband activities

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Mrs GospelPan,

She's been playing the lead pan for more than 25 years, she has also played the Tenor Bass occasionally. I guess this is more of a confession than anything else because a lot of my ideas in the past, while directing a gospel steel band were actually her ideas...lol

In addition whenever I compose a song, it is never finalized until she reviews the lyrics and critiques the music because it's a gift she has; hopefully some of this music will be recorded next year...if she approves...lol


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