About HADCO Phase II Pan Groove

In August of 1972, Phase II Pan Groove was formed by a group of daring and innovative young musicians. The Founders Anderson Phillips, Barry Howard, Noel Seon, Rawl Mitchell, Selwyn Tarradath and virtuoso Dr. Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe made the bold decision to leave Starlift Steel Orchestra to pursue their passion and talents towards the development of a more indigenous and upbeat sound for the steelpan.

In its genesis, the band was known as Phase II Rhythm Band. The founding musicians continued to master their experiments on the steelpan through the exploration of various styles of music, inclusive of the integration of other contemporary instruments. Their influence on Phase II’s repertoire is evident, as to date the band continues to attract some of the most brilliant and influential minds in music.

Following the team’s departure from Starlift in 1972, the band has since resided at 13 Hamilton Street in Woodbrook, which was originally opposite co-founder Selwyn Tarradath’s home. The pan yard is also affectionally dubbed, ‘D Village’ and continues to establish itself as one of the most popular meeting places for persons from all walks of life, who want to immerse themselves in the scintillating sounds of the steelpan.

For several decades, Phase II Pan Groove was an unsponsored steelband but this never dampened the determination and courage of its membership. In fact, it led to the orchestra building a reputation for itself as being avant-garde. Under the charismatic leadership and Musical Directorship of Dr. Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, they became pioneers in the steelpan fraternity, performing arrangements specifically composed by Dr. Sharpe for steelband competitions as opposed to covering versions of mainstream songs.

Phase II’s focus and resilience flourished in 1977 when the band qualified for its first National Panorama Finals. In 1987, the orchestra would savour victory, thereby establishing itself as the first orchestra to win the competition, as well as doing so with its own original composition. This feat was repeated the following year.

The band’s accomplishments to date include winning the prestigious National Panorama title on seven (7) occasions with Dr. Sharpe’s compositions in 1987, 1988, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2013 and 2014. Additionally, the band remains unprecedented in having placed second on thirteen (13) occasions and amassing a total of twenty-five (25) top three (3) placements since competing.

They are also the first band to have won the National Panorama Championship with a tune vocalized by a woman. The tune of choice was Woman is Boss (1987), which was sung by 2001 Calypso Monarch and six-time Calypso Queen, Denyse Plummer.

Phase II is the only band to have consistently qualified for all finals from 1981 to present, having the longest run of 41 consecutive qualifications over all other large steelbands in Trinidad and Tobago. Also revered as a crowd pleaser, the band luckily drew the last performing position on six (6) of their seven (7) victories. They also hold the widest margin of victory at the competition with twenty (20) points in 2005, a record which still stands today.

Our Co-Founders

Dr. Len “Boogsie” Sharpe

Mr. Noel Seon

Mr. Rawl Mitchell

Mr. Selwyn Tarradath

Mr. Anderson Phillips

Mr. Barry Hewin Howard

(December 19, 1953 – July 25, 2022)

Dr. Len “Boogsie” Sharpe Academy

Prior to the onset of COVID-19 and all related local public health restrictions in Trinidad and Tobago, the Dr. Len “Boogsie” Sharpe Academy was launched for children, adolescents and young adults who are interested in learning music theory and to perform on the steelpan.

The Academy is the fulfillment of a life-long dream of Dr. Sharpe who received initial support from Fulbright Scholar Akua Leith and Kristin Murrell, who served as the institution’s first instructor.

As of March 2023, the students of Dr. Len “Boogsie” Sharpe Academy are instructed and mentored by Keisha Codrington.

HADCO Phase II Pan Groove Junior Steel Orchestra

The Junior Steel Orchestra is a direct extension of the Senior Band, through which interested adolescents and young adults can experience the sheer joy and magic of performing on the steelpan whilst building friendships that tend to span a lifetime! It is also a nurturing environment in which families and their loved ones can bond.

The Juniors are most active during the annual Carnival Season but plans are underway to involve the players more regularly throughout the year.

Keisha Codrington

Keisha Codrington

Steelpan Soloist | Composer | Arranger

Instructor Profile

Keisha Codrington

Keisha Codrington is an extremely gifted musician who is well versed in steelpan and percussion. She is often described as a prodigy by many who have heard her perform. Keisha began playing the steelpan at the tender age of three (3), winning her first competition at the age of seven (7). She has since performed extensively throughout Trinidad and Tobago as a steelpan soloist and also with her family band, the Codrington Pan Family.

In addition to her ability to play multiple instruments, such as the steelpan, piano, trumpet and percussion, Keisha is also an Arranger and Composer. She has received many awards in recognition of her outstanding skill and performance on the steelpan as well as Youth Arranger Excellence Award presented by The World Governing Body for Steelpan, Pan Trinbago Inc.

Keisha holds a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine and holds numerous awards and titles in the competition arena.

She has also toured Austria, the Czech Republic, Japan, North America, Venezuela and the wider Caribbean.

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Dr. Len “Boogsie” Sharpe

October 28, 1953 – Present

Nicknamed the “Mozart of Pan” by American jazz trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis, Dr. Len “Boogsie” Sharpe was the last of five (5) children born to his parents, Randolph and Grace Isabella Sharpe in St. James, Trinidad. His mother was responsible for giving him the nickname, “Boogsie.”

Literally from the day that he was born and through his formative years, Boogsie was exposed to the melodious sounds of the steelpan, despite the fact that the involvement of children and women in the pan yard during those times was frowned upon. In fact, the family’s yard housed the Symphonettes’ Steelband, and as early as three (3) years old, Boogsie could be found attempting to create his own sets of instruments from discarded grapefruit juice tins, which he collected from his father’s workplace. By the age of four (4) he would also have begun performing with the steel orchestra.

Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Sharpe has established himself as a globally renowned composer, arranger and of course, steelpan musician. He has also been an instructor. These feats were achieved without any formal education in music literacy and a limited primary school education.

As an individual, Boogsie has performed to sold-out audiences in Australia, the Caribbean, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, North America, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

As the Arranger and Musical Director of Phase II Pan Groove, Dr. Sharpe and the band have travelled to neighbouring islands within the region, North America and West Africa.

In November 2020, the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine conferred an honorary doctorate to Boogsie for steelpan composition, arrangement and performance.

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Noel “Stove” Seon

December 25, 1951 – Present

Rawl Mitchell

November 3, 1951 – Present

Rawl is one of the six co-founding members of Phase II Pan Groove.

He began playing the steelpan as a member of Starlift Steel Orchestra from 1967 to 1972. Following, he performed with Family Tree Combo, which won the Combomania Competition in 1972. He later was approached by Dr. Sharpe to form the first incarnation of what is now known as Phase II Pan Groove.

Rawl now resides and performs on the steelpan in the Tri-state area in the United States.

Selwyn Tarradath

July 24, 1947 – Present

Selwyn is a retired Educator, former Columnist with the Evening News and Trinidad Guardian, and past Executive Member of Pan Trinbago Inc. The eldest of Phase II’s six (6) co-founders, he was also the recipient of a College Exhibition Scholarship from Arima Boys’ Government School in 1954 and subsequently attended Queen’s Royal College (QRC) from 1954-1965.

Mr. Tarradath’s involvement in the steelpan movement is extensive and rooted in his commitment to youth development. As examples, he began teaching at Easter Boys Government Primary School in February 1968 and within the following year, he began the school’s first steel band. In 1975, while teaching at Point Cumana Government Primary, he was also charged with the responsibilities of starting a band there. This would be followed in 1980 with similar efforts as the Music Teacher at Diego Martin Junior Secondary School.

In 1973, Selwyn was elected treasurer of the Northern Region of Pan Trinbago Inc. He was later elected as an Executive Officer of the main body of Pan Trinbago Inc in 1980, where he served as Public Relations Officer and Education Officer, sometimes simultaneously. His duties would find him deeply involved in productions and projects such as, Champs in Concert, the School Steel Band Panorama, and Schools’ Steel Band Music Festival.

In 1994, he was recruited by the Organisation of American States (OAS) for a project in St. Kitts and Nevis called, “Teaching the Teachers of the Caribbean to Teach Pan.” There, he highlighted the value of music literacy via the steelpan as a method assist youths who were considered to be delinquent or troublesome.

Anderson “Andy” Phillips

January 12, 1951 – Present

Andy Phillips began playing the steelpan at the age of fifteen (15) as a member of Starlift Steel Orchestra. He is one of the six (6) founding members of Phase II Pan Groove.

As a musician, Andy established a career as one of the most sought-after bass players. He has worked with a number of other talented musicians including Gene Lawrence, Dr. Len “Boogsie” Sharpe and other late greats such as Andre Tanker, Raf Robertson and Richard “Nappy” Meyers.

Although Andy currently resides in Toronto, Canada, his love for music saw him travel to perform across Canada, Europe, Latin America, North America and the wider Caribbean. In fact, while in Europe, Andy focused his attention on the bass guitar, under the mentoring of Clive Charman, bassist for Jeff Beck and Robert Bailey of Osibisa. During a visit to London, Andy was also given another extraordinary opportunity to perform for local networks ITV and BBC alongside such talents as Allan White (drummer from YES) and vocalist Paul Corder (who is produced by Roger Daugherty).

Andy describes his “first love” as the steelpan and notes that his vision is simply to continue touching “the hearts and lives of people through the joy of music, as it has done so for me.”

Barry Hewin Howard

December 19, 1953 – July 25, 2022

From as early as the age of sixteen (16), Barry began building an exceptional career as one of the region’s most sought-after and internationally renowned drummers and percussionists.

His love for the instruments blossomed at Shell Invaders Steel Orchestra, which was the first steelband that he was associated with. He started as a percussionist there and later became the drummer. It was also with this band that he experienced his first National Panorama Competition in 1970.

Following Shell Invaders Steel Orchestra, Barry joined a combo band called Passion Rebirth and eventually moved on to play for Flames 2000 A.D. When the latter was dissolved, he was approached to join Starlift Steel Orchestra, where he came into the company of Phase II’s other co-founders.

During his time with Phase II, Barry had the opportunity to perform with several popular local icons, including Carol Addison, Charmaine Ford, Nadia La Fond, Carl “Beaver” Henderson, Richard “Nappy” Mayers, Jenny Pakeera, Hazel Rambaransingh and Clive Zanda.

In 1985, he decided to move on from Phase II to further pursue his musical abilities and the following year found him working within a Calypso tent. In 1989 he was called to work as a percussionist with Roy Cape All Stars where he remained until 1991. In 1994, Barry became a foundation member of The Wayne Bruno & D Rapid Response band, which was the resident band for all Spectakular Promotions shows within that period.

As a musician, Barry had the opportunity to work for international acts such as Percy Sledge, Peaches & Herb, Ernie Smith, Boris Gardiner, Pluto Shervington, and many others. He also toured France (1994), North America (2003-2008), Canada (2004 and 2005), the wider Caribbean (2004-2008), the Turks & Caicos Islands (2007), England (2008) and Nigeria (2012).