North Kensington steel pan band giving virtual shows amid carnival cancellation


The cancellation of Notting Hill Carnival due to coronavirus was the last shred of hope gone for many people that summer 2020 could be saved.

However, Metronomes Steel Orchestra, a North Kensington based steel pan band decided to move their performances online to connect with the community while in lockdown.

The band, which is the oldest steel pan band in the country, has created what they’ve called a “Virtual Panyard” where they conduct live steel pan sessions, DJing featuring calypso and soca, and a podcast discussing steel pan playing as well as community issues.

Eversley ‘Breeze’ Mills, the band leader, told MyLondon that the cancellation of Notting Hill Carnival is “unknown territory,” but it’s important to interact with the community at a time like this.

Mr Mills said: “Metronomes has a long and proud history of serving the community and we’re not going to desert them now”

The 47-year-old band has been broadcasting weekly to their community of steel pan lovers from the comfort of their homes. And through their sessions hope to celebrate Caribbean heritage, reduce social isolation and bring the community together.

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“The coronavirus outbreak is a huge challenge for everyone and Metronomes is no different,” says Mr Mills.

He added: “The virus is disproportionately affecting people from a BAME background, economically and in terms of health, and this only adds to the pain the community is suffering.

“But we have faced crisis in this community before and we are not easily defeated.”



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Who are Metronomes?

Metronomes is based in Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington. The group teaches, performs and runs community projects that celebrate the Caribbean heritage of steel pan music.

The band was officially formed over 47 years ago in 1973 by Phil Dubique and Irvin Corridan but existed prior to this under different names.

As a family based group, Metronomes plays an important role in the local Caribbean community by bringing families together with special attention to elderly members who may be in isolation and at risk young people.

In its 47 year history Metronomes has won multiple awards including the Panorama steel band competition held at Notting Hill Carnival. The group has also performed at the opening of the Channel Tunnel, has been featured on Songs of Praise and recorded with Grime artist, Kano.



Metronomes Steel Orchestra performing with Grime rapper Kano
Metronomes Steel Orchestra performing with Grime rapper Kano

Throughout their success, Metronomes have maintained close connections to their North Kensington roots. The band played a part in Grenfell recovery by offering community projects to support young people affected.

“We have a huge extended family in this area and are determined to keep them close.,” Mr Mills said.

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He added: “The Virtual Panyard offers the opportunity to keep the ties that bind us strong, so that the people of North Kensington can come through this together and emerge stronger when it is all over.”

To tune into Metronomes Virtual Panyard sessions click here.





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