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Robert Rankin

Priestess of Pan - CD Album

Priestess of Pan - CD Album

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Virtuoso Rachel Hayward celebrates the beauty and inspiration of woman in her many guises — muse, lover, performer,dancer and musician — through the gloriously sweet tones of the world's newest fully chromatic instrument: the steel pan.

Praise for Europe's Top Pan Woman:
"World class steel pan artistry ... Top Drawer" - Musician Magazine
"Not to be missed" - Time Out
"Outstanding" - Ray Holman

UK Champion Soloist 1989.
First and only European ever to reach the finals of the World Steel Pan Soloists Competition.

Rachel's 2008 album contains a selection of songs and pieces in many styles — a format common in the recordings of great Trinidadian bands such as North Stars, Desperadoes and All Stars. Visionary musicians such as Anthony Williams and Neville Jules saw the potential of pan as a medium for the performance of all types of music and Rachel clearly follows in this tradition of eclectic music-making.

Women have been involved with pan from its very inception — as players, lovers, flag-bearers, arrangers, promoters and adjudicators — and you will find on this album pieces inspired by women, all performed by Europe's top pan woman. From the vibrant exuberance of the calypsos 'Margie' and 'Heroes of the Nation', to the delicacy of Tchaikovsky's 'Sugar Plum Fairy', Mika's confident and quirky 'Grace Kelly' and the unusual, haunting, Latin lilt of 'Miranda' (a calypso waltz) pan is able to express the widest possible gamut of emotions.

Pans are tuned to concert pitch and are (usually) fully chromatic, so can play in any key and are equally at home when used as a purely acoustic solo instrument (as in the live tracks 9-12 which concluded the album), multi-tracked with other pans ('You're so Cool') or carefully mixed with ukulele, live percussion and the highest quality midi programming and production (thanks to David Hyde at Doghouse Studios).

Rachel Hayward has been playing pans for over 30 years and became a full-time professional pannist in 1996. Her performances have been described as 'inspirational' and 'unforgettable'. She has won numerous awards for her playing and performed across the BBC and ITV networks, run innumerable pan performance projects and has guest lectured on pan at City University, London and the Royal College of Music. She was invited by Trinidadian pianist Russell Henderson (founder of London's famous Notting Hill Carnival) to take guest spots with his jazz trio at the 606 Club and by Nostalgia Steel Band to perform with them at the London Olympics Opening Ceremony in 2012. She is the UK's only living holder of a PhD in ethnomusicology focussed on pan.

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