Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Collection launched.

The past three weeks have been quite hectic. First up was the finalization and production of the new Collection based on the Engine Room of the steelband. For those who may not know, the Engine Room is the rhythm section of a steelband. It comprises the trap set or drum set, conga drums and, unique to the steelband, an iron, a scratcher, and cowbells. So the new line represented these three unique percussion implements found in a steelband. Most smaller groups of steelpans, or steel drums would not usually have an Engine Room. It is reserved for the larger steelbands.

But in researching and launching this collection, I also learned a good deal about the history of these implements; how they were derived, etc. It was quite interesting and further evidenced, to me, the ingenuity, creativity and innovation of the people of Trinidad and Tobago who invented and developed the steel pan, also known as steel drums.

As a designer with no in-house production staff, there is always a challenge in launching a new collection- and particularly at Christmas time, when all jewellers are super busy. And in Trinidad, it was no different. There was little evidence of the global downturn here. Folks were still shopping and ordering custom made pieces and repairing or melting down pieces. So I had to really be very persistent to have my full collection of 30 plus pieces ready in time for the Dec 12th launch.

And Launch we did. I'm still taking photos of the pieces, so those will be posted on the site shortly -during the long Christmas break, as well as on this blog.

And we had great media coverage for our launch. A feature in one of the local newspapers, an interview on several radio and television stations and video coverage for the Caribbean Airlines in flight video news report. This was great, and so now we're on the brink of Christmas and all are ready to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Don't forget to accessorize when visiting friends over the holiday week. Look smart and enjoy


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Classical Movement on Steelpan

Last evening I spent an enjoyable four hours doing what makes me most happy; listening to the best steelbands in the world play some of the best music in the world. It was the 11th Pan Is Beautiful --Steelband classical music competition. Held in Trinidad in an outdoor venue, it was refreshing for body, soul and spirit.

I sent a band by band commentary of Tweets (http://twitter.com/lizmannette) to the online community at Twitter and I did see some new folks following as no doubt they became intrigued with the references to steelpan or steel drums and classics.

This event was one of those that makes me so glad that I can be in Trinidad. The lineup of 8 bands was just about the right number for me. Any more and it would have became a bit wearisome. But as it was, the combination of strong, and emerging bands, arrangers and conductors was a true reflection of the steelpan community in Trinidad. Most players were young. Majority of the audience was over 40.

As I sat in the audience, I remarked to a friend via email that this is one group that is near and dear to my heart and for whom I created my line of steelpan jewelry: People who support the steelbands continuously in rain or shine or, as on Sunday evening, balmy island evenings.

The performances of Exodus and Solo Pan Knights Steel Orchestras were definitely the highlight of the evening for me. And not surprising, Exodus took home the crown. They certainly were well rehearsed and smooth under the baton of Pat Bishop with a Pelham Goddard local composition. So next to Wagner, Suppe, Rogers and others, local composer Pehlham Goddard brought home the win. We are so talented and creative. Amazingly so. I'm proud to be of the family that invented several developments in the steelband world and who continues to set the tone for future developments. My uncle Ellie, the legendary Ellie Mannette, continues to work to this day, in his 80s, making the best steel drums. And so, my task is to add some beauty and fashion to this.

Listening to Classical music inspires me to create graceful, elegant, timeless pieces of jewelry. Already, I see it in my head. Pan is Beautiful--the classics by Liz Mannette. sounds good to me.