About Us

                                                                         

The Seattle Women's Steel Pan Project gives women and girls the opportunity to learn how to play and perform Caribbean steel drums and is dedicated to creating a space for women and girls in music through arts education.

The project is based out of The Martin Luther King Community Center in Seattle and is a multi-generational, multi-ethnic women's Caribbean steel drum band. The project started in 2013 under the administrative direction of Oriana Estrada and the artistic direction of Michael Shantz. The Steel Drum also called "pan" is a mallet instrument that originated in 1940's in the Caribbean country of Trinidad. The women who currently make up the group come from a variety of musical and artistic backgrounds.



Administrative Director: Oriana Estrada



Oriana Estrada was born in Nicaragua, but raised in the vibrant central district of Seattle Washington. She has loved music and dance since a young age. She has studied various forms of dance including Salsa, Brazilian, African, Hip Hop and more. She has performed locally groups such as Show Brazil, Johnny Bravo Salsa Dance Co, The African ConeXion project, Bakra Bata and is currently co-director of Tudo Beleza Brazilian Samba Dance Co. Music and dance are Oriana's greatest passion in life. She holds a Master's in Social Work administration and is interested in using the arts to promote social justice and create social change. Oriana is the administrative director of the Seattle Women's Steel Pan Project and is very excited about creating opportunities for women in music scenes and spreading the joy and fulfillment she has found in steel pan music.




Artistic Director: Michael Shantz



Michael Shantz, Artistic Director, has been playing steel pan for over 30 years. He is the founder and director of Bakra Bata Music and Dance Ensemble, based in Seattle since 1984 and has toured the US and Canada many times as well as internationally, including Haiti, Trinidad, Mexico and two performance tours of Brazil. He has a fervent commitment to arts education, particularly through music and dance, and has conducted workshops, classes and residencies for many years. Michael was the founder and director of the Aluja center, a non-profit community arts facility in downtown Seattle for 13 years and worked closely with co-director Elsio Pitta, dancer and choreographer from Salvador Bahia, Brasil. H is particularly interested in "The Carnival Arts and seeks out opportunities for performance presentations involving public celebration, such as open-air festivals, parades and community events.

Michael Shantz is currently based our of the Martin Luther King Community Arts Center where in collaboration with dancer/teacher Chris Daigre of Daigre Dance and Ewajo Dance, he continues to devote his time to promoting innovative development of contemporary culture through arts education and performance







Shanetta Brown is a Louisiana native now residing in Seattle. She always had a strong affinity for music, dance and performance arts that feels innate. While living in New Orleans she gain exposure to Brazilian dance and music culture. Instantly she felt a strong connection and keen interest in music history and arts. Seattle continues to nourish her desires of learning about dance and music from various cultures which heavily influences her sense of purpose. Shanetta has danced with Janelle's Samba Girasol, Eduardo Mendoca's Show Brazil, West African performance group  SohoDounia, Afro-Cuban Haitian folkloric performance group Todo Folklore led by Jose Carrion and Tudo Beleza Brazilian Samba Dance Co. She also was the lead singer of a local band called Tuba Luba which is a jazzy soulful brass band deeply inspired by New Orleans music.






Paula Aio was born in Oahu Hawaii but raised in the greater Seattle area. She was first introduced to Steel Pan in her elementary school, however, she went over 15 years without playing steel pan until she got connected with The Seattle Women's Steel Pan Project. Paula's natural musical abilities allowed her to quickly join Michael Shantz professional steel drum band Bakra Bata and has been playing show for over a year. Paula is also a dancer ans has performed Hip Hop, Salsa and traditional Hawaiin dance. She currently teaches Zumba fitness throughout the greater Seattle area.





Anna Mines Anna Mines is a recent graduate from the University of Washington, with a double BA in Environmental Studies and Ethnomusicology. As a student, she participated in several ensembles
including the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, the Husky Marching Band, and the Steel Band.
With a passion for music and sustainability, Anna hopes to continue her education in urban environmental planning with a focus on creative placemaking. After graduating she continues to
play her trumpet in several groups around Seattle, but especially loves playing the double seconds with the Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project!




Petal Michaud was born and raised on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia steel pan music and dance is in her blood and she quickly picked up the instrument while in the youth ensemble Cover Your Ears Steel Drum Band. Petal currently attends Garfield High School where she is part of the school drum line band.

Lakesha Knatt
Bio coming soon







Patti Cage was born in Portland, OR, Patti Cage has a love for drumming that goes all the way back to her youth. The daughter of a Big Band Saxophonist, she used to go to rehearsals and study the drummer! While in college she found a set of congas and bought them on the spot, taking lessons from Valerie Day of Nu Shoozz. A friend took her to see the Northwest African American Ballet, and within six month, she was dancing with the company. She also worked with Tiempo Caribe out of Portland State University. Moving to Seattle in the early 90's, she found herself studying Afro-Cuban culture and dancing with Bernard Wray and his group Olu Meji. Patti has worked with Adefua, Bembe Ole Le, Omo Alagba, Groupo Bayana, Seattle Melinke Ensemble, Bakra Bata, and Johnny Conga, just to name a few. She was also the Artistic Diretor of Mawakana Sondai, children's dance ensemble for four years. She continues to study and teach the dances from West Africa, and the diaspora. She currently works as a freelance Social Media Mananger, sits on the Seattle World Percussion Society board, and is the Social Media Coordinator for their annual World Rhythm Festival.





Ceda Clemmons
bio coming soon









Sophie Morada, is the youngest member of the band and currently a student at Garfield High School. Sophie began playing steel pan in elementary school and was formerly a student of Michael Shantz. Sophie is classically trained in Viola and performs and competes with multiple projects and programs throughout Seattle.




Curry Knox
Bio coming soon



Anne Gregory
Bio coming soon



Tashie Lemaitre




Elizabeth Rogers



Frances Placide


Miho Takekawa


Heidi Hanson
Rogene Eichler West


Guest Arranger Obe Quarless

2 comments:

  1. I definitely dream about going to this party place again. The live music at NYC venues was an added bonus, providing a backdrop for the fun hours spent imbibing, tasting, and chatting up with the breweries and beer distributors.

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  2. We miss u from the AAA steel pan students.

    ReplyDelete