Vibrations of Steel’ is a fundraiser virtual concert which mainly entails Chuma 'King CAJWA' Watson's journey through Steelpan up to this day. Both academically and career building aspects related to Steelpan and the Creative Arts Caribbean Culture.
I am a professional Pannist, documenter, academic scholar and artistic specialist from the twin sister isle of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean.
I started playing Steelpan at the age of 13 years old in a small community called La Horquetta at LH Pan Groove Steel Orchestra. When I play the National Instrument of Trinidad and Tobago it makes me feel such inner joy. Not just performance but I have also learnt a bit about Pan manufacturing and I also taught in various workshops and different Caribbean islands; which is another inner dimensional passion I have for different avenues where music has carried and lead me to venture. Music has blessed me with the opportunity to freely express myself and yet also feel the different emotions of my life through it’s universal language. From then till now, the knowledge which I’ve gained from this amazing musical gift has taught me not just the importance of performance but the interaction with others, culture, society and documentation alongside music is very important to me. At my early childhood I suffered with dyslexia and music has been a main therapeutic process for me. Music is very dear to me because of that and which I hold very close to my heart. My passion for music and the historical documentation of the Fine Arts in general is second to none. While I was studying my bachelors degree in Fine Arts of the Performing Arts, Major in music, I was intrigued by my hidden passion for ethnomusicology, which was first triggered in my third academic undergraduate year and that’s where I knew where I would love to further embark upon my academic career with an addition to what I already know. I must give mention to Dr. Mia Gormandy - Benjamen, Mr Akua Leith, Mr Seion Gomez, Mr Desmond Waithe, Mr Duvone Stewart, Uncle Tony Thorne (decease), Osunkemi Ojegbemi (My Mother), Aunt Elizabeth Thorne and all the Steel Orchestras I’ve worked with as a performer, section leader, stage-side member and arranger; for they all have played a very important role in my life through my growth process in my life thus far. The Master of Music Performance M.M program at NIU is seemingly fitting towards my academic interest and career path. I believe that this program at NIU would broaden my horizon in musical history about world music, composing, ethnographic articulation and a cross-culture in an etic approach. This program will prepare me to publicize ethnographies of many different cultures, genres and musical doctrines in the Caribbean diaspora which isn’t rightfully known to the public, to teach about the evolution of ethnomusicology, Steelpan performance and Steelpan history. Professor Liam Teague is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s very best Steelpan virtuosos and which I’ve learnt a lot about in my undergraduate study. He is the current head professor of the Steelpan faculty at Northern Illinois University NIU. It would certainly be an honor and pleasure to be mentored in Steelpan performance by Prof. Teague. I am also excited to learn from other members of faculty to increase my musical vocabulary; acquire knowledge about the impact / value of music in various cultures; and strengthen my research, teaching and documentation skills. I patiently await this next stage of my academic career path with immense excitement; looking forward to learn and also nurture the richness of knowledge which the Northern Illinois University has to offer. My long term goal for Steelpan culture strongly focuses on scaffolding a stronger and more innovative academic system for the Caribbean Creative Arts Sector in providing, Creative Arts Career Development Peograms, Master Degree and PhD programs in all Caribbean Universities strongly focused on the Fine Arts directly.
I would firstly like to thank God for blessings me with this gift to play and create music for the world. I also would like to thank my team and you the SUPPORTERS.... you'll are the real MVPs.
Chuma Akil Jahi Watson
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