Monday, March 24, 2008

WE SPOTLIGHT - Joy Lapps - Princess of Pan

By Monica Joseph-McIntyre

Joy Lapps wants to see the steel pan accepted on the world stage as a legitimate musical instrument and to see it being paid the same kind of respect instruments like the guitar and piano receive. Lapps, who has been playing the steel pan since she was 13, has seen her hard work and love of the pan pay off. Now 23, she is one of Toronto’s top female pannists, and has earned the title “Princess of Pan.”

Born in Canada to Antiguan parents, Lapps began playing the instrument by chance. The church her family attended was offering lessons and her godmother suggested she take lessons, insisting on paying for the first one. That introduction sparked a passion for the instrument that continues to grow to this day. Playing the steel pan “wasn’t something I decided to do on my own,” she says. “It was guided by my godmother and my parents, but I enjoyed playing so much that I stuck with it.”

She credits her teacher, Vince Kato, for making her the pannist she is today. She started on the bass pan, before switching to the tenor pan. She would often take the instrument home to practice. Kato also took her along when he had a gig and they played duets together.

Since then she has made many solo appearances playing at weddings and dinner receptions and other high-profile events, including a service at the Moravian Church in London, England, the Harry Jerome Awards in Toronto, Ryerson University’s convocation ceremony and ‘Autumn Leaves on Steel,’ a celebration of the pan held at the Glen Gould Studio in Toronto.

While an exchange business student in France, Lapps played with the highly respected “Calypsociation Steelband” and at the Carnaval de Paris. In Toronto, she has played with local steelband, “Pan Fantasy,” which won the 2005 and 2006 Pan Alive competition held during Toronto’s Caribana celebrations. This past Christmas season, Lapps has added her tenor pan to the parang group Los Amigos. She is currently practicing for “Snowflakes,” a show celebrating the pan, which takes place in January.

Lapps has so far released three albums: “Praise on Pan: How Great thou Art”; “Make a Joyful Noise”; and her latest, a collection of Christmas carols.

“A lot of my inspiration comes from musicians I meet,” Lapps says. “It’s nice to meet somebody and feel like you can relate to them.”

Lapp now has a business degree from York University, but has returned to York to pursue a degree in music.

For more information visit


Osaretin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Osaretin said...

She is awesome!!!!!!