Lennox Sharpe

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Lennox "Boogsie" Sharpe (born 28 October 1953 in Port of Spain, Trinidad) is a successful and popular composer and arranger of steelpan music.

Boogsie Sharpe at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, Half Moon Bay CA, 1980s

Biography[edit]

Sharpe began his career with Starlift steelband where he worked as a co-arranger with Ray Holman. He is most strongly associated with the Phase II Pan Groove Steel Orchestra, a band he has taken to several finals of the Panorama steelband competition, as well as winning the first place in 1987 and 1988.[1] He does not teach steelpan privately one on one, he teaches steelpan publicly at the panyard. Boogsie started to play steelpan at a young age when he was just four years old. He used to play with the Invaders, then he went to Starlift, the steelband with which Ray Holman was taking the revolutionary step of composing music specifically for the instrument. Boogsie wanted to continue what Ray Holman had started by starting his own steelband in 1972. Boogsie was not taught how to play steelpan, he just listened to the sounds on the street and taking part of jazz sessions on his steelpan with other musicians. Even though Boogsie can not read or write music his musical sense is very highly developed.

Here is a very nice description of one of Boogsie’s concerts from a Boogsie-watcher: “With arrangements of high tenors, double-tenors and guitarpans, Boogsie led with Valentino’s Life Is a Stage, playing the different pans in a jazzy interpretation and using the pitch of each pan to highly dramatic effect. Then, he switched to Relator’s Gavaskar. The finely tuned pans answered his every call of musical expression — forte to pianissimo. But it was when Boogsie, member/arranger of Phase II Pan Groove, switched from Terror’s 'Pan Talent' to Kitchener’s 'Sweet Pan' that the capacity audience roared its acclaim of the versatility. More was yet to come. Next, Boogsie was playing the high tenor pan held upside down by an assistant. In other words, he was playing the tune on the bottom side of the pan. He then ventured into extemporaneous musical expressions that brought the crowd to its feet. For the finale, he sobered the crowd with an exhilarating performance of his own 1984 composition, 'I Music' — this time playing the pans from the front side of the instruments, rather than from behind the pans — the customary position. By the close of his half-hour performance, this superstar of second-generation panmen was as fresh as when he had started.”

Notes[edit]