Band Leader: Lionel McCalman
Webmaster: Aisha Phipps
All band enquiries: 07944 349253
Website enquiries: 07908 489158
Nostalgia Steelband History (cont'd)
In 1965, the steel and jazz bands co-existed. The Jazz band played regular gigs in the Colherne Pub in Earls Court (every Sunday afternoon) and the steel band played regular functions at Seamore Hall, Victory House and many other London venues.
In that same year, Russell Henderson was approached by Mrs Ronnie Laslette to take part in the Children’s Neighborhood Carnival in Portobello Road, Notting Hill
The Steelband, consisting of three steel drums along with percussion played as a ‘pan-around-neck’ band. Without a specified route, the band made its own way along the streets of Notting Hill.
Copyright: Ivan Rojo Gonzalez (2010)
The band changed its name twice. In 1963 it was the Twelfth Century Steel Band joining with Aston Charles to bring costumes to the carnival scene.
Philmore ‘Boots’ Davidson suggested the name ‘Nostalgia Steel Band’ (1964), and the band was launched as a traditional single pan band.
Today, Nostalgia is the only pan-around-neck steel band in the Notting Hill Carnival. Many others have tried this art form and failed to maintain the momentum. Band members walk and play the instrument at the same time. Whilst the weight of the instrument has defeated many grown men, Sterling still carried his steel drum around his neck and completed the entire route at 76 years of age.
Many of those recognised as top pan players today, i.e. Kenrick Isidore, Eamon Thorpe, Rudy ‘Two Lef’ Smith, Ken Johnson, Ralph Richardson, Irwin Clement, Desmond Bowen, Ralph Bowen, Leslie Edwards, Mike ’Natsy’ Contant, Junior Gill, Aubrey Bryan, Tamla Batra, Kirk Thorne, Clive Davies, Clyde Diaz, Daniel Louis, Paul Cherrie and Paul Francis have all, over the years played with Nostalgia Steel Band.
Sterling Betancourt MBE FRSA has had his services to the steel pan culture recognised in many quarters and in many countries. He received the Sunshine Award, from the USA Folk Art Institute, Brooklyn, and was the first steelpan musician to be honoured by a British university for his contributions to the Caribbean musical art – receiving an Honorary Fellowship from the University of East London, in 1996. His other awards have been the Scarlet Ibis Award, from the High Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, and a lifetime award from the Ministry of Culture of Trinidad and Tobago, and the British Association of Steel Bands.
Sadly, Russell Henderson passed away on August 18 2015, leaving behind a legacy which continues to touch the lives of steel pannists across the globe.
Nostalgia Steel Band wishes to thank all their supporters, friends and musicians, past and present, for the support they have given us over the years – 1964 to present.