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T&T-Born musician Ray Holman releases new album

(CaribPR Newswire)- Popular Trinidad & Tobago-born composer, arranger and steel drum performer, Ray Holman, is back with a new album, titled simply, ‘In Touch.’ The album features soothing tracks like ‘Graziella,’ ‘Memory Of Your Smile,’ and the sentimental ‘When You Need Someone.’

The talented musician, who has been a featured performer in film, television and at venues such as Madison Square Garden, the Super Bowl and the St. Lucia Jazz Festival, will appear at the Barbados Pan Festival, ‘Under The Trees 2005,’ on June 4 at the Sunbury Great House.

Along with Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Holman is also set to host a pan workshop for school children on Friday, June 3, 2005 as part of an ongoing effort to form a national schools steel orchestra in Barbados.

The workshop is being staged courtesy of sponsors BS&T and the National Cultural Foundation in collaboration with the Sagicor Barbados Pan Festival. In July, Holman will join the faculty of the Ellie Mannette Steel Band workshop from July 3-9 at the West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Holman began playing pan at 13 with Invaders Steelband, led by legendary pan tuner Ellie Mannette. Later, he became its arranger, doing classical interpretations such as “Dream of Olwen” and “Etude in A b.” In 1963, Holman and others revived the band Starlift, and his arrangements made it the then most popular band in Trinidad. He had instant success with “I Feel Pretty” from the musical “West Side Story.”

At 20, he became the youngest player to win the solo Ping Pong (an early version of the tenor pan) competition in the 1964 Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival. He began experimenting with the jazz idiom as a soloist, while touring and performing on television with the Queen’s Royal College Jazz Group led by his teacher Scofield Pilgrim.

Fans may remember Holman for his innovative arrangements which won two Panorama championships for Starlift in 1969, with Lord Kitchener’s “The Bull” and in 1970 with the Mighty Sparrow’s “Queen of The Bands.” In 1972, he became the first arranger to compose and play his own music for the National Steelband Panorama competition.

His first CD, A Tribute to Ray Holman, featured eight of his Panorama compositions. He’s come a long way since, arrangingand recording with steel bands and artists in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Japan and Europe.
Holman is also the recipient of many prestigious musical awards, including the Hummingbird Silver Medal of Merit from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and a Pan Legend Award from the New York Folk Arts Institute and the U.S. Congress. He was also recognized for his musical contribution by the Republic Pan Fiesta 2003.

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