PUBLICATION DATE: 18-09-2014
Well researched folk art historians have already brought to our attention the history of the steel pan, (considered the only acoustic instrument invented in the 20th century), a role I would not pretend to imitate and nor have I with this book, made such an attempt.
Associating historical facts with the life of one of the most prominent character of the era, I wanted to provide with this book, not only a biography of a music genre but a more personal and amusing approach of a portrait of an epoch.
From his childhood in the hills of Laventille, the most deprived and violent neighbourhood of Port of Spain Trinidad and the birthplace of the steel band, Sterling Betancourt is, from an early age, immersed in a musical environment.
His inclination for the steel pan, will eventually and against all odds, take him to England and France in 1951 after having been chosen amongst Trinidad’s twelve most promising steel band players.
We follow the tribulations of a young and impressionable man from an island to 1950 s London, trying to establish his talent as a steel drum player, his mixing with the famous jazz musicians of the era in the Soho clubs, where music was the link between a mixed crowd of aristocrats, movie stars, pimps and prostitutes, who joyfully intermingled and where nightlife prevailed over any form of reality.
His important role in pioneering steel band all over the world and contributing in staging the biggest European street event.
“London is the place for me” is a biography but could also be fiction.
After studying at St Martins school of art and following a career in fashion, Ms Kais, dedicated her time to painting.
In 2011, she got inspired to write her first book, a biography, " London is the place for me".
Bel Kais lives in London.