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Sterling Betancourt MBE honours RASPO CD

Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra's new CD 'RASPO Rhythms' is a celebration of the past, the present and the future, of steel pan music in the UK - a homage to the global rise of this fascinating instrument.

From it's Caribbean birthplace on the tiny island of Trinidad, the steel pan came to the UK in 1951 when twelve musicians, including Sterling Betancourt, arrived as Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO) to introduce steel pan music to the London for the first time at the Festival of Britain.

In 1997 this historic moment inspired a new Thames Valley based community steel band project to commemorate TASPO by giving themselves the title of RASPO - Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra. More...

The CD opens with 'TASPO's Story', a calypso written by Sterling Betancourt, who received an MBE in 2002 for his pioneering work with the steel pan. RASPO founder Mary Genis met the legendary pan musician to talk about the future of the steel pan and listen to RASPO's faithful rendition of 'TASPO's Story'.

Sterling said 'I'm honoured that RASPO has chosen my calypso for the CD. When played on TV I had no idea that someone would like it enough to add it to their repertoire. I think they did a good job of it and I wish you all the best with your promotion.'

He performed 'TASPO's Story' live for a BBC2 documentary broadcast in 2011 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain. Click here to watch video.

'RASPO Rhythms' marks 2012 as the start of a new phase of pan development in the UK and around the world.

With an eclectic repertoire of music ranging from pop, reggae and soul to classical and calypso, the 'RASPO Rhythms' CD will delight and surprise the listener. Ideal for any occasion where a Caribbean sunshine vibe is required.

Order 'RASPO Rhythms' here.
Sales from the CD help to maintain the orchestra's instruments and the running of the CultureMix Centre for Steel Pan Music.

Click here for more on Sterling Betancourt MBE and TASPO.

Sterling Betancourt MBE - Pic by Kevin Joseph

Sterling Betancourt MBE - Pic by Kevin Joseph

"I'm honoured that RASPO has chosen my calypso for the CD. I think they did a good job of it and I wish you all the best with your promotion."

Sterling Betancourt MBE

TASPO Musician and Pan Pioneer

RASPO Rhythms

RASPO Rhythms CD Cover

The 'RASPO Rhythms' CD was recorded live at The Engine Room Studios, The Tabernacle located in the heart of London's Notting Hill.

The studio was set up by Mangrove Steel Band's leader
Matthew Phillip to provide quality specialised recording facilities for the UK's best steel pan musicians. More...


TASPO musician Sterling Betancourt MBE with RASPO's artistic director Mary Genis

Mary Genis, artistic director of Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra meets living legend Sterling Betancourt MBE.