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PULSE: A New Steelpan Company is Coming.

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A new steelpan manufacturing company will be operational in the fourth quarter of 2021. The company, Musical Instruments of Trinidad and Tobago (MITTCO), will produce a full range of high quality steelpans to supply growing demands both locally and internationally.

MITTCO is the brainchild of Akua Leith, Artistic Director and conductor of the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO) of T&T. He is a Fullbright Fellow and graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Masters of Music in Conducting, with emphasis on Steelpan Performance. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Musical Arts from The UWI. Akua has played and conducted in tours throughout Europe, Asia, North America, Central America and the Caribbean. He is also a teacher of the steelpan.

Akua says he envisioned a full-service pan ecosystem that would provide year round employment in the production and craftsmanship of steelpans. “I’ve had this idea for a while now…but was very protective of it until I felt I could collaborate with a team who shared the same vision and values as I did,” he says.

He approached the Hadad brothers, long time supporters of the national instrument and together they created a team to implement Akua’s vision. The company’s Board of Directors and shareholders combine musicians and pancrafters, and seasoned professionals – Akua Leith, Mario Joseph, David Hackett, Robert Hadad, Joseph Hadad and John Hadad.

MITTCO’s goal is to offer the best musical instruments coupled with flawless service to music and steelpan enthusiasts in both local and export markets. To do so, the company will work with a team of experienced and dedicated steelpan craftspeople, using the highest quality raw materials, and integrating tradition with innovative manufacturing practices. MITTCO will engage the wider steelpan fraternity to create more employment within the industry.

The pan facility will be based in the e-Teck Diamond Vale Industrial Park, Diego Martin and will feature a robust production process. “We believe in collaborating to compete,” says John Hadad, “and have entered this joint venture with a genuine desire to promote this musical instrument globally.”

“Trinidad and Tobago is the home of steelpan,” says Akua. “We have, without doubt, the best artisan steelpan craftspeople in the world, and this is no better time than now to establish a world class company with international reach. MITTCO’s goal is simple: to keep the authenticity of steelpan manufacturing alive, here where it belongs, in its country of origin.”

For further information, contact Micah Jodhan (762 6073).


Written by: Peter Ray Blood

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Lila Ike, Skillbeng Rise Up to Address System Corruption in New Collab.

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Fusing contemporary reggae with elements of soul, hip-hop and dancehall, breakthrough recording artist Lila Iké teams up with rising dancehall talent Skillibeng for a powerhouse remix of “Thy Will.” Both hailing from Jamaica, these two distinct vocalists continue to gain notoriety as the island’s new generation of promising stars. 

The song premiered last weekThursday, via The Ebro Show on Apple Music 1. Yesterday, they unleashed the song’s brand new video directed by Nickii Kane and shot in Kingston, Jamaica. 

The original “Thy Will” is a standout from Lila Iké’s debut EP The ExPerience, where she calls out systemic issues of oppression and corruption. It is a reminder to keep pushing forward. “My people rise, remember now we black and we strong and when we are one, this is when we will overcome,” rings through the chorus. 

On the new version,  produced by Protoje, J.L.L. and iotosh, Skillibeng injects a vibrant dose of dancehall that complements the angelic conscious vocals of Lila Iké. 

Lila Iké will continue to drop new music throughout 2021 following The ExPerience.  

Lila continues to receive praise around the 7-track release. The EP was released to critical acclaim via RCA Records in conjunction with Protoje’s label and artist management company In.Digg.Nation Collective facilitated through Six Course Music in May 2020.

The EP’s single “I Spy” was selected as one of the year’s best songs from VICE, and SPIN named Iké one of the Most Interesting Artists of 2020. She graced NPR Tiny Desk with an at home performance amassing over 1.5 million views and more recently joined Protoje for a performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert #PlayAtHome. She also received a 2020 nomination for Best New Reggae Act for the UK’s Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards.

Check out the New Video:

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Archived: Lyrikal Opens His Stage to Less Know Soca Acts, Says They’re The Future Hit Makers.

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