Meet the Steel Bands: Ebony

Meet Ebony Steel Band Trust, one of Europe's leading Steel Bands and twenty-two time winners of the UK National Panorama Competition.

Ebony Steel Band Trust

Ebony Steel Band Trust are one of Europe's leading Steel Bands. Throughout their fifty-two-year history, Ebony have delivered a range of artistic opportunities and workshops to people of all ages in the local community, as well as performing extensively across the U.K. and internationally. 

Ebony's Legends (1983/1983) by UnknownNotting Hill Carnival

How was Ebony Founded?

Ebony was founded in the Autumn of 1969 in Acton, London, by Cape James and Winston ‘P’ Joseph. The founding members included: Winston ‘P’ Joseph, Leeford Sylvester, Hugh and Wendell Hargreaves, and Cape James.

Earl Lewis ( Co-Founder of Ebony Steelband) & Shadow (Ebony Player) (1988/1988) by Mr LesNotting Hill Carnival

Ebony’s first panyard was established in the garden shed of Cape’s home, where the band comprised only a single tenor pan, a double tenor, a single cello pan and a set of four-pan bass.

Pepe Francis (2020/2020)Notting Hill Carnival

Pepe Francis MBE

Ebony has risen to the top of U.K. Steel Bands under the direction of Augustine 'Pepe' Francis MBE, the Director of Ebony Steel Band. Pepe joined soon after the band's founding, becoming Band Chairman in 1971, and Director in 2005. 

Pepe Francis (2020/2020)Notting Hill Carnival

He has now led the band for fifty years, and is currently directing the fifth generation of Ebony Steel Band players.

Panorama 1988 (1988/1988) by Mr LesNotting Hill Carnival

Ebony and Panorama

Ebony have won the U.K. National Panorama competition a record twenty-two times. Between 1991-1999, Ebony won every Panorama competition consecutively, a nine-year win streak that has yet to be matched by any other band.

Annise 'Halfers' HadeedNotting Hill Carnival

Annise 'Halfers' Hadeed

One of the key individuals who contributed to Ebony's successes at Panorama is the renowned pannist and arranger Annise 'Halfers' Hadeed. His collaborations with Ebony lasted from 1989 through to 2009 and resulted in fifteen of Ebony’s twenty-two Panorama victories.

Ebony Steelband at Notting Hill Carnival in the 80's (1988/1988) by Mr LesNotting Hill Carnival

Ebony's Notable Achievements

Alongside Panorama, Ebony has competed in Trinidad three times: twice at the World Steel Band Festival in 2000 and 2002 respectively, as well as in the 2015 International Panorama Competition (ICP). In 2005, Ebony was awarded the Queen's Award for serving the community for over eighteen years.

Dudley DicksonNotting Hill Carnival

Dudley Dickson

Dudley Dickson is Ebony's pan maker and tuner. He is a founding member of the U.K. Steel Pan Tuners Guild and is a renowned inventor, with the collapsible steel pan stand, ‘collapsible stage’, and ‘pyramid pan’ all being examples of his work.

Ebony Juniors Steel Band (2018/2018)Notting Hill Carnival

Ebony Junior Band

The Ebony Junior Band are Ebony Steel Band's youth stageside. They were founded in 2013 by David Ijaduola and have grown ever since, racking up an impressive five victories in the U.K. Junior Panorama Competition. 

We look forward to what the Ebony Juniors have in store for the future!

Ebony Steel Band (2018/2018)Notting Hill Carnival

Ebony's Development and Aims

Ebony's aim is to promote steel pan music across the U.K. and Europe. They hope to do this by continuing to deliver a variety of artistic opportunities and workshops for people of all ages and backgrounds in their local community, alongside sharing their love for the steel pan art form on an international stage.

Carlene Etienne (2019/2019)Notting Hill Carnival

Notable Band Members

Carlene Etienne (pictured) is the current Musical Director of Ebony Steel Band. .

Anthea Hudson is the Assistant Director of Ebony Steelband, alongside being a Project Coordinator for Notting Hill Carnival. 

Cerise Lynch is Ebony's Deputy Band Manager and current Captain.

Albert Faustine (2018/2018)Notting Hill Carnival

Notable Band Members

Albert Faustine (pictured) is the Band Manager of Ebony Steel Band, joining the band in 1983. 

Samuel Dubois is a veteran Ebony player and Arranger, having won two Panorama titles for the band in 2007 and 2010.

Ebony at Notting Hill Carnival: Access All Areas (2020)

In lieu of physical Carnival and Panorama, Ebony performed in the Notting Hill Carnival 2020: Access All Areas Panology showcase. Here is their version of Voice and Kes' 'Dear Promoter', once again arranged by Duvone Stewart.

Ebony Steel Band

If you've enjoyed getting to know Ebony Steel Band, make sure to follow them on their socials:

Instagram: @ebonysteelband
Twitter: @ebonysteelband
Facebook: @EbonySteelBand

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