Steelpan virtuoso, teacher and arranger, BARRY MANNETTE, has toured the globe promoting the steelpan since 1996. With performances throughout Canada, the United States, Trinidad and Tobago, this multi-faceted musician has woven a varied and interesting career for himself. As an award-winning soloist, he placed second in 2009 in the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival and third in the National Steelpan Music Festival Soloist Category.
Coming from a rich musical heritage, Barry was strongly influenced in his pursuit of music by his father, steelpan trail-blazer, instrument tuner, and band leader Vernon Mannette. With his father’s encouragement, Barry began playing the steelpan at age 11,and from there went on to perform with many of the top steel orchestras in Trinidad and Tobago, such as Invaders, Renegades, Desperadoes, Phase 11 Pan Groove, Humming Birds Pan Groove, Harmonites, UWI Festival Steel and Starlift, among others. He has also performed with the Northern Illinois University Steelband and the Pastiche Steel Ensemble of Illinois.
In an effort to expand the repertoire of the instrument, Barry himself became a pioneer at age 19, creating new arrangements for the steelpan now performed worldwide. Some of his arrangements include It’s Showtime and Battle Zone composed by Edwin Pouchet,
Ole Lady Walk a Mile and a Half by Kitchener, Three Little Birds and One Love by Bob Marley and Thriller by Michael Jackson to name a few.
The connection to his father doesn’t end at soloing and arranging. His passion for teaching young people is evident in this founding of the Starlift Jr Steel Orchestra, which went on to be recognized internationally, touring Canada in 2010. The band won the Junior Panorama Competition at the Montreal International Steelpan Festival, and placed second in the Adult Category of the Panorama at the same festival. Barry was a music tutor for the National Youth Steel Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago which was started by Pantrinbago in 2009. Summer vacations find him teaching steelpan with the City Angels Music Camp, sponsored by the Music Literacy Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. As an educator, he is aligned with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, London, and has been teaching music theory to students of all ages with a remarkable success rate. He has also been a Steelpan tutor with the Northern Illinois University Community School of the Arts since 2011.
Not only is Barry Mannette a steelpan soloist, arranger and pedagogue, he has expanded his capabilities to include leadership as Captain, Manager, Secretary and of the Starlift Steel Orchestra from 2005-2008, and directed the group from 2007-2011. Additionally for the past 2 years he has been the Co-Music Director of the Northern Illinois University All University Steelband. He was also involved with the St Joseph Convent Steelband during their performance at the school steelband festival where they were awarded third place.
In constant pursuit of a higher education, Barry obtained his Certificate in Music in 2007 from the University of the West Indies and in 2010 a Bachelors in Musical Arts from the same university. He is currently pursuing a Master of Music at Northern Illinois University where he studies with world-renowned pannist, Associate Professor of Steelpan, Liam Teague and the legendary Cliff Alexis.