Sounds of the Caribbean unite band
The sweet sound of Caribbean calypso music wafting through the streets is not something you usually expect to hear in Auckland.
But the music of the Caribbeanz Southern Stars steel pan band is made by a diverse bunch of Aucklanders who love the melodies and rhythms they can drum out of the versatile percussion instruments.
Steel pans originate from Trinidad and Tobago and have their roots in the drumming traditions of the African slaves brought over to work in the sugar plantations on the islands.
The Caribbeanz Southern Stars band was founded in Auckland in 2005 by a small group of Caribbean Islanders living in Auckland.
Although some of the original members remain, the rest of the 10-person band now reflects the diversity of Auckland’s population.
Sulu Fuamatu plays the bass steel pans and the Onehunga local says he was first attracted to the instrument music when he heard it in Barbados last year.
‘‘I thought, wow, that will be interesting to says.
‘‘So I came back here and went to the night markets and saw the steel pan band play there. I actually saw the bass drums and thought, ‘I want to play those’.’’
Parnell resident Karen Stevens says she had been ‘‘plucking on a guitar for years’’ before hearing the band play on the radio.
‘‘I’m getting near retirement age and I was thinking about what I could do outside of work because work was becoming my life,’’ she says.
Music graduate Rosalind Mackenzie says she ‘‘pretty much fell in love’’ with the steel pans at a workshop four years ago.
‘‘It’s a nice thing to do that fits in with a hectic lifestyle,’’ the Three Kings resident says.
Musical director Tish de Klerk says the group is always looking for more members.
‘‘We have a good time when we play and we feed off the crowd and usually we get them up and going. The music is unique.’’
Caribbean style: Caribbeanz Southern Stars band members, from left: Rosalind Mackenzie, Karen Stevens and Sulu Fuamatu.
Go to centralleader.co.nz and click Latest Edition to see the group in action.