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.
The SWSPP is an associated program of Shunpike, a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that provides independent arts groups in Washington State with the services, resources, and opportunities they need to forge their own paths to sustainable success.
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, West-African, Hip Hop and more. She has performed with 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.
She holds a Master's in Social Work administration and is adjunct faculty at Bellevue College teaching Sociology and Cultural and Ethnic Studies. She is interested in using the arts to promote social justice and create social change. Oriana is the co-founder and 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
Guest Arranger Obe Quarless
Guest Arranger: Ann Reyonolds
Guest Percussionist: Jeff Busch
Our favorite drummer of all time: Teo Shantz