De Pan Man Joshua Regrello releases first album
Panman Joshua Regrello has been playing the national instrument for almost all his life. And with the release of his first album, De Pan Man, he is inviting listeners to experience the latest chapter in his musical journey.
De Pan Man features 14 pan covers Regrello has done over the last two years. He describes it as a "multi-genre album," including soca and calypso, bhajans and "conscious" reggae, as well as soca parang.
The 24-year-old musician told Newsday he has been playing pan for 21 years and was practically "born into a panyard." He is the son of Junia Regrello, San Fernando mayor and former manager of Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra (now known as Skiffle Steel Orchestra).
"It was a vibe (growing up in a panyard). Hearing music, seeing the people. It was like a big family."
At age three he began "playing around" with souvenir pans at home before his father brought home an actual pan for him.
He recalled his first performance in front of an audience was while in First Year at Grant Memorial Presbyterian.
"It was at Naparima Bowl. The entire family came to see me play Bits of Paper. It lasted one minute on stage. But my family has always been supportive on a whole."
Later at Naparima College Regrello would take part in pan performances and competitions. He recalled regularly having to leave class to perform and the staff always facilitated him.
"The principal would drive me to competitions."
But, growing up, Regrello had no dream of being a professional pan player: this decision only came about in the last two to three years and as he performed more and more.
"It was my love for the instrument and the love for what I do, for sure."
At the time of the interview, he was in Tobago shooting a video for a pan cover of Machel Montano and David Rudder's Oil and Music with Keishaun Julien. The video was released on Republic Day.
"The music always keeps me busy. I never have a dull moment."
He explained the inspiration for his first album came from his fans.
"People told me they like to hear my covers and when it would be available on (music streaming service) Spotify?"
Regrello decided instead of uploading his songs one by one, he would group them into an album.
"It was a reflective time period, reflecting on my journey and my sound, who I am at this point."
And how did he select the 14 songs from his repertoire?
"Last year I did a bunch of covers to match every public holiday. It was not a conscious decision; I just wanted to create more."
The tracks on the album include Trini to the Bone, Dear Promoter, Trini, Ganges and the Nile, Jahaji Bhai, Bando Charan Kamal Raghunandan (a devotional bhajan), Homemade Wine and a Backyard Jam collaboration with the legendary Len "Boogsie" Sharpe. The album also features a couple of collaborations with Johann Chuckaree.
"There is a multicultural beauty in it and an interesting mix."
As for the name of the album, Regrello explained it comes from a nickname he picked up.
"Some people just call me 'de panman.' 'They see me in the road and say 'Aye, you's de panman?' They can't remember my name. So we came up with De Pan Man for the title."
He has been working on the album for the past two years and with the pandemic, he had to make things work as best as possible.
"I had to push to be more innovative and get things done."
He said since its launch last month the streams for De Pan Man have been growing daily and he has received positive feedback.
"People are saying they are proud of the instrument and their country."
He added his fellow panmen and musicians have been supportive and have been sharing it with their followers.
"It is full of steelpan covers you would love. And it reflects the beauty of steelpan and the beauty of TT, so check it out."
He took the opportunity to thank producer and quasi-manager Kyle Phillips of Bad John Republic, as well as his friends and family. His next project will be an album of original selections.
"Look out for that."
De Pan Man is available on digital platforms including Amazon, iTunes Music, Spotify and Tidal.
"De Pan Man Joshua Regrello releases first album"