HE’S only 24 but pannist Joshua Regrello is already making waves with his first album De Pan Man.
Regrello has a lust for life and it shows in his music. If you are not a pan lover, Regrello’s cover of Benjai’s ‘Trini’ and the accompanying video on social media may transform you into one. The album’s tracklist has 14 pan covers of some of the most popular calypso, soca and soca parang songs. The pannist also covers bhajans and one gospel song on “De Pan Man”. All the tracks on the album were recorded, mixed and mastered by Kyle Phillips of Badjohn Republic.
“Listeners can expect versatility from De Pan Man,”says the effervescent Regrello. “It includes all the covers I’ve done over the past two years. I’ve put all my creativity, heart and soul into this album, it’s something you can listen to, no matter the occasion.”
To say that Regrello loves pan would be an understatement. In fact he was born into a pan family and has been playing pan for most of his life. And if his name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s the son of the Caribbean Airlines Skiffle Steel Orchestra founder, turned politician Junia Regrello.
“There were many nights when I slept at the panyard. From the moment I could stand on my own two feet, I started to play. My father brought me these souvenir pans - the ones with six notes. And at the age of three I was playing - nothing serious of course - but I just loved playing it, so playing the steelpan was a natural progression for me.”
As time passed, Regrello got better and better at playing pan. Naturally, his appreciation for the instrument also deepened. When he decided to do an album of all his pan covers instead of just uploading his songs one by one to the various streaming platforms, Regrello knew he was treading on unfamiliar ground.
“Here in T&T we don’t really have an album culture. There isn’t much hype around albums like there is in the US where people were so excited over Drake’s new album. Also you don’t see or hear local steelpan covers steaming on digital platforms,” he says.
De Pan Man represents Regrello’s musical journey and the evolution of his sound over the past two years. Since its release, Regrello has received positive feedback from listeners who have praised his innovation as well as the album’s artwork which was done by Jerrell Riley.
Regrello’s intention is to take pan to the next level and he’s confident that the future of pan is bright.
“There are a lot of young people involved in pan, they will take the art form forward. Pan is in good hands,” he says.
The past 16 months have been the slowest period the entertainment industry has ever known in recent memory but the pandemic hasn’t stopped Regrello from exploring other creative elements. In the past year he discovered TikTok which he admits keeps him sane. His TikTok account which has more than 58,000 followers and 1.2 million likes is the perfect outlet for his creative antics - some of which are requested by his followers.
“As a pannist, it gives me some exposure, a lot of people who see the content fall in love with it. It gives people something to do and is also an outlet for those who want to earn money,” he says.
Like all other musicians and entertainers, Regrello looks forward to performing in person at live events, but until that time comes, he will continue to take his creativity to the next level.
Regrello’s album De Pan Man is available for download on all digital streaming platforms.
“The steelpan is a beautiful instrument,” he says. “Even if you’re not a pan lover, give the album a try, I’m sure you will be amazed.”