PANCH Award 2015: Tamla Batra
Born 1958 in Kenya, Tamla migrated to England in 1971 where he attended the Christopher Wren School in London from 1972. Their music teacher at that time was Gary Chang, who visited once or twice a week to teach the art of playing the steel drums. Shortly afterwards Tamla started playing in the school steelband. It was the fascination of the steelpan instrument that made him fall in love with its music. None of Tamla’s family had a musical background.
In 1976, he played at the Notting Hill Carinval with a band called Sukuya, with Ralph Richardson as the musical arranger and was involved with various steelbands until the late 80s. He also played with Nostalgia Steelband led by Sterling Betancourt for many years.
PANCH Award 2014: Esa Tervala
How wonderful! A tuner in Switzerland! Esa has been living in Switzerland since 1995, he is a steelpan soloist, player, teacher and arranger. It was in 1982 in Sweden when he discovered pan. Playing in diverse bands he for the first time saw a steelpan, a double second. He was fascinated! How did he become a tuner? The original idea was to build a cheap instrument for himself. Being an autodidact, he studied a lot of books and experimented for many years including exchanging ideas and experiences with other tuners, mainly Dudley Dickson. This way he developed and refined continuously his tuning skills.
PANCH Award 2013: Martin Grah
Whoever thinks of Martin thinks of music, thinks of steelpan. He started his musical career at the age of 9 with the piano. Soon after he played the piano, drums and other instruments in pupil bands. Rock, funk, latin, brasil styles. And then 1980 he got to know the steelpan, at Ambulancia Steelband Winterthur. He met Ralph Richardson with whom he played in different lineups and got introduced to the professional gig scene..