fbpx

The Evolution of Pan

24 Feb 2006

Musician Andy Narell

An interview with Steel-pan legend Andy Narell

Playing steel-pan since the age of eight, Andy Narell has achieved international acclaim. Turning down medical school to be a conductor, Narell decided to dedicate his life to the art of playing the pan. “What I’m trying to do with the pan, I have been evolving my whole life. It was very limited, the idea of what people thought the pan should be. I had to be a writer and producer of my own records early on. I had to create them myself,” he says.

For over 25 years Narell has focused on the evolution of the steel-pan in convergence with jazz. His work has lead to the release of over 11 solo albums, 2 as co-leader of the Caribbean Jazz project (with Paquito D’Rivera and Dave Samuels) and 2 with the group Sakésho (with Mario Canonge, Michel Alibo, and Jean-Philippe Fanfant).

As a band leader, he has played hundreds of concerts and jazz festivals throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, the Caribbean, South America, and South Africa. His most recent travels found him and his band, in Toronto on April 2nd, playing at the Mod Club for Jazz by Genre – Caribbean Jazz.

From the moment he was told of the project, Narell expressed immediate interest and was elated about the opportunity to play with long time friend David Rudder. “If it feels like it is good music and it’s coming from the heart…I’m into it.”

You could feel a surge of energy being released into the crowd when David joined Andy and his band on stage. Their chemistry was undeniable as they played to an audience with what looked like an insatiable appetite for their music. “I would hope that they come away from the concert feeling the music was sincere. That they saw how much fun we were having and had fun,” says Narell.

Cross-pollination of musical genres appears to be a natural progression according to Narell. “What’s happening is the mix of all different kinds of world music. It’s so accessible now. I live in Paris, so we have a lot of people from Africa…musically they’re dominating. All this mixing and crossing…everyone is playing with everyone.”

Narell has performed and recorded with artists as diverse as: Aretha Franklin, Irakyere, Chucho Valdes and Tito Puente to name a few. Despite being an icon in his own right, Narell is, “always trying to grow,” and although he feels there is always room for improvement he also believes that, “With age you realize time is limited. You have to try everything. You run out of time trying to be good.”

Paying homage to other musicians helps Narell, keep things in perspective. “For me, the musicians who have set the bar so high…I have to look and say I gotta get there. Anytime you put on a Miles Davis record or Stevie Wonder, it keeps you humble. Most good musicians walk away and say, ‘I’m gonna try not to suck.’ You gotta stay humble. Life keeps you humble.”

Comments powered by CComment

Search Site

Latest Articles

Apr 03, 2021

Building a professional art space for Toronto's black community

in Arts by Meres J. Weche
Alica Hall is the Executive Director of the Nia Centre for the Arts — Canada's… Read more >>
Mar 23, 2021

Community empowerment through the Black Opportunity Fund

in Community by News Editor
Spearheaded by a coalition of black Canadian executives and established in… Read more >>
Feb 03, 2021

How it feels to be free

in Movies by Meres J. Weche
We recently lost a giant of the silver screen with the passing, at the age of… Read more >>
Nov 22, 2020

Keeping arts & culture alive during the pandemic

in Arts by Meres J. Weche
Born in Kingston, Jamaica and currently based in Ajax, Ontario, social… Read more >>
Oct 05, 2020

Dance for the people

in Arts by Meres J. Weche
Broadway tap dance performer Lisa La Touche talks about her Fall for Dance… Read more >>

Latest on Instagram

Featured Events

No events found.

Join Our Mailing List

Advertise with us

Subscribe to podcast

Find a Job

AfroToronto.com participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you purchase an item featured on our site. These affiliate links, along with advertisements, support us and they come to no expense for you.

Media Kit | Member Access

Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Terms and Conditions

Copyright © 2005-2021 Culture Shox Media. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.