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Little Drummer Boys Playing Steelpans
If you have shopped in Oxford Street during December I'm sure you have heard the steel pans of Ebony playing Christmas songs. Members of the band have entertained shoppers for the last five years from their pitch between John Lewis and House of Fraser. More than that, they also raise funds for the NSPCC. Michelle Francis, their administrator, gave me the background story whilst holding out her tin for charitable donations.
The band was founded in 1969 by her father, Pepe. There are 60 musicians in total, but only a few perform on Oxford Street at one time as many of them are working at other jobs. They play several times a week and have travelled widely around Europe, African, India and the Caribbean. They are the current National Steelband Champions and have won the National Panorama competition at the Notting Hill Carnival 19 times. The Ebony Steelband Trust is heavily involved in the local West London community and offers young people the chance to learn to master an instrument, combined with self-discipline, team building skills and the opportunity to travel as part of the band.
It may be a little bit too late for you to catch up with them this Christmas, but do make a point of listening to them next year. Don't rush past but sit on one of the benches and enjoy listening to their music as much as they enjoy playing it. Get up and dance if you want to; the music is so infectious that you'll have difficulty staying still. They set up their drums a few days into December and perform every day until Christmas Eve between 10am and 6pm. I can still hear the strains of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer ringing in my ears.
Of course they play a lot more than just Christmassy music, but it seems appropriate for this time of year.
The web address iswww.ebony.org.uk and our new phone number is 0207 266 4354 and we can also be contacted on 07737947238 and 07712 442 242could you adjust your current information to include these changes please.