How it Connects us to our Afro-Caribbean Identity

This presentation will take a look at the Steel Pan as the symbol of Afro-Caribbean perseverance, creativity, and ingenuity that it is by looking at its pre-history in late 1800’s Trinidad through to its early history in the 1930’s - 1950’s, while also looking at its early history in Belize in the 1960’s leading up to present day. A number of key historical events, institutions, and figures will be highlighted for the roles that they played. These include: the drum prohibition in Trinidad & Tobago, the Canboulay Riots, World War 2 and its effect on the Caribbean, Winston “Spree” Simon, TASPO, The University of the West Indies, and the 2 pioneers of pan in Belize, Sir Colville Young, and Dr. Lennox Pike.

The information presented was gathered through university courses, article/publication/documentary review, and research and interviews that were done as a part of my Final Research Paper done for my BA in Musical Arts (Special) at UWI St. Augustine.

The goal of this presentation is to highlight the power that arts and culture possess. Through sharing the stories of our Caribbean counterparts and showing both the parallels and interconnectivity with our story as Belizeans, I hope to highlight the fact that as a people we have innate strength, resilience, and brilliance within us, with which we must reconnect in order to preserve, celebrate, and fully express our sense of identity for the sake of our people and of future generations.

About the presenter: Alexander Evans is a 33 year old Belizean Composer/Arranger, Music Educator, and multi-instrumentalist. He holds a BA in Musical Arts (Special) from UWI St. Augustine, where he earned First Class Honors, the Newman Alexander Award for the top Music student, and the Beryl McBurnie Award for most outstanding overall student. Alexander’s music has won 7 national competitions across 3 different countries, including Belize’s National Song Competition, Guyana’s National Panorama, and Trinidad & Tobago’s Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition. Evans was also the founding director of Pandemonium Steel Band in Belize City.

This presentation was part of the Belize KULCHA Symposium