A funk-infused tune for steel band based loosely in the tonal framework of D major. The back line lays down a solid groove while the melody in the tenors weaves nimbly in and out of the key. A gradually intensifying jam capped off with a final push to the end complete the tune nicely.
This beautiful aria is often erroneously attributed to J.S. Bach due to its inclusion in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, but was most likely written by the German composer Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel. Commonly heard as an organ solo or vocal with organ accompaniment at weddings and other religious occasions, it translates perfectly to a 4-part steel pan ensemble. This is a short and sweet addition to your classical repertoire.
Tracy’s most popular and performed composition to date, “Dain Brammage” sounds just like the name implies. This is steelpan at it’s heaviest and most fun! This one is unapologetically loud, heavy, in your face and is always a crowd favorite!
Although one of Gossec's most popular works, this playful melody from the Classical period may be best recognized from its use by arranger Carl Stalling in several Warner Brothers cartoons. This piece gives the intermediate soloist a chance to showcase the delicate upper register of the tenor pan. Composed in a simple ternary form, the outer sections play with a simple grace note motive built on eighth notes while the middle section embellishes the melody with sixteenth note figures. The tempo, Poco allegro ma non tropo, keeps the whole piece accessible to the intermediate soloist.
Another highly popular chart of Tracy’s, In the Groove of Things is a progressive, upbeat, and flashy tune that takes steel pan into uncharted territory. Featuring every section of the steel band, it has (as the title suggests) a deep, rockin’ groove with most of the song built on flashy riffs in the C blues scale. The lead parts go from sweet and groovy to downright rocking and challenging. Each section of the band has a featured voice and there is a lot of space to fit in your own choreography if your band likes to incorperate visual flair. Your kids will love this chart!
This little lullaby was written for my 4-year-old niece at the time she was about to have heart surgery. It’s just a simple and pretty melody that came to me with her in mind. I had her come in the studio and sing the La La La’s when she was all better (take after take…my little diva). I really love the tune as it’s such a departure from most of the highly energetic music that I had written and arranged up to that point.
Little Cricket can be played as a medium-up bossa or light samba. The harmonic structure is influenced by the Gospel and Blues changes of the hard bop era. The piece follows an AABA form and shifts between C major and F major, with some slight detours into other key centers. The layered backgrounds underneath the solo section are similar to horn backgrounds in a big band chart. They are there to help build texture and create more shape during the solo.
The origin of this signature tune by Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra begins while the band was on tour in the Philippines in the early '80s. According to ensemble lore, one night several group members shared a cab to get to a performance. In transit a mambo was playing on the radio that they thought sounded good and would make a nice addition to their repertoire. As soon as they arrived at the venue, they started trying to work out a mambo of their own. Others joined them and in short order the group came up with an arrangement that they liked well enough to perform that night.
The Bass and the drums set the mood for this one, introducing a laid back and mellow groove. Next, the low pan chords join in to enhance the vibe, followed by the sensual melody line of the high pans for the verse. Just as you get relaxed and taken away into the mellow bliss of it all…”BANG!” The song explodes into a heavy, low and bass pan jam with the high pans accenting the heavy hits. (Calm).
One of Beethoven's most memorable and beautiful melodies, the Adagio Sostenuto from Sonata No.14 is sure to delight any audience. This arrangement inverts the original structure by placing the delicate moving line in the tenor section and giving the bulk of the melodic material to the more resonant double seconds. Multi-octave arpeggios are cascaded across the entire range of the ensemble to an enchanting effect.
Meaning "God Bless Africa" in the Xhosa language, this South African hymn carries a great deal of historical significance as the anthem of the global anti-Apartheid movement. This inspiring melody has since been adopted by several African nations as a national anthem. This arrangement overlays traditional European counterpoint in the pans onto a backdrop of syncopated African rhythm.
This is an exciting adaptation from Leoncavallo's most famous opera, Pagliacci or, "Clowns." The energetic melody laid out by the front line and the montuno accompaniment in the back line effectively capture the bitter emotions brooding inside of Pagliaccio as he discovers his wife's transgressions. This piece works great as a closer and provides a wonderful opportunity to introduce your students and audience to the Bomb tradition.
“Song For Lauren” was written back in the mid 2000’s for a good friend of mine who was in a terrible car accident and had to be airlifted to a hospital. The song came to me as I was on my way to the hospital to see her. As I drove those 30 minutes or so, not knowing her condition or if she was even going to make it, this melody played in my head like it had already been there all along. When songs come to life in this way, it is nothing short of magical. There was no work, thought or planning involved. It just happened.
Named for the village home of a beautiful active sulfur spring and volcano in St. Lucia, Soufrière (pronounced soo- free-ay) is a haunting tune that combines a Folk aesthetic with Jazz harmonies and the Zouk rhythm of Guadeloupe. The strumming pattern for this music of the French Antilles is less daunting than intensely syncopated Soca and Calypso from Trinidad and is an excellent middle ground for bands transitioning to more challenging rhythmic patterns and grooves. Written in AABA song form (with intro), this piece can be performed with or without an optional solo section.