The LoCO Lowdown | Lost Coast Outpost | Humboldt County

HSU Calypso Band with Superstar Guest Artist Ray Holman

“This Calypso Band concert featuring Ray Holman will be a historic event at Humboldt State, and the band has a smoking set of music prepared to “blow the roof off” of the theatre. Come celebrate that history with the Calypso Band, and as always, and be ready to dance, dance, dance!” Director Eugene Novotney This show will showcase the festive dance music of the Humboldt State Calypso Band. One of Humboldt County’s favorite ensembles, the Calypso Band will feature a very special guest artist from Trinidad & Tobago, the legendary steelband recording artists, Ray Holman. The Humboldt State Calypso Band prides itself in maintaining an accurate and authentic connection to the roots of the steel band movement and the innovative musicians of the Caribbean. The band is dedicated to the performance of traditional and contemporary music from Trinidad, Africa, Brasil, & Cuba. Through their 32-year history of performances at HSU, the Humboldt State Calypso Band has become a virtual “institution” at the university, and stands as one of the most popular musical groups in Northern California. This show will feature a full set of Ray Holman’s music, featuring Ray as a composer, arranger, and steelpan soloist. Ray Holman has an assured place among the all-time greats of Steelband arrangers and composers. He has enjoyed extraordinary longevity as a true leader in the steelpan movement worldwide, and holds the distinction of being the first person to compose and arrange an original tune for Steelband for the Trinidad & Tobago National Panorama. But Holman’s dedication to the steelband artform began when he started playing steelpan at age 13 with the legendary Invaders steelband of Woodbrook, Trinidad. Holman eventually became the arranger for the Invaders, specializing in classical pieces but also arranging calypso tunes, which was necessary for participation in the annual Steelband Panorama competition held during Trinidad’s annual Carnival celebrations. Holman was a mere 17 years old in 1961 when the Invaders Steel Orchestra recorded “Ray’s Saga,” a tune that the teenager had composed for the pan. Holman would go on to capture the Solo Steelpan title in the 1964 Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival at age 20, a feat unmatched for three decades. In 1972, when Ray was only 28 years old, the Starlift Steelband, which Holman had founded nine years earlier, entered the competition with a calypso tune composed by him entitled, Pan on the Move. Despite predictable opposition from the conservatives who argued for the monopoly of the traditional calypsonians, “Pan on the Move” earned Starlift and Holman a coveted place in steelband history. Ray Holman has attained a level of harmonic sophistication reached by few other calypso composers and leveraged his command of the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic content of pan music into a successful career as an international artist. Ray has composed for, arranged for, performed, and recorded with bands and musicians on several continents, and has been a featured performer in film and television, and at venues such as Madison Square Garden, the Super Bowl, and the St Lucia Jazz Festival.

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