Grand Bahama Island


An earlier post described my attempts to write a piece for steel band for Commonwealth Day on Grand Bahama Island. Here now is the video sent by Sir Jack Hayward Junior High School music teacher Janet Russell; the world premiere took place outside on a very hot day, so the musicians retired indoors to record this version for me to hear.

Janet had told me of her group of students “none of them read music, none of them even played an instrument before and none certainly have any experience at performing in front of people” so this is a tribute to the steel band as a teaching medium and to the fine people who teach it. In fact the person who learned the most from this experience is me. Formerly I’d hear steel pans wafting distantly from a market or outdoor event in London, vaguely registering the pleasant sounds: now I march up to the instruments and examine them carefully, following the musical lines with an analytical ear.

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JUDITH WEIR

Composer

© Judith Weir, 2020