Phil Hawkins is an accomplished jazz drummer and one of the leading innovators of music for the steelpan. As a percussionist and drummer he regularly travels throughout the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America to perform concerts, teach clinics and study percussion.Originally from Topeka, Kansas, Phil completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music at Wichita State University where he remained as adjunct faculty, directing the Steelband and Latin Jazz Ensembles. In 1998, Phil moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he quickly gained a reputation as a versatile drummer. Phil currently plays with Latin Jazz legend Pete Escovedo, Ray Obiedo and the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet. In the Fall of 2004 he was offered a position as a member of the music faculty at Mission College in Santa Clara where he currently teaches World Music, MIDI and Digital Audio courses.
Harry Best is native of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. Harry has been one of the top providers of pan music to patrons all over northern California for three decades. He has founded steelbands, conducted steel drum classes and promoted steel drum events. Harry is the principal owner of Kakesa.com, the chief supplier of steelpans and accessories to schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the author of four books and a recording and performing panist with four albums to his credit. Harry started his pan career with Patrick Arnold, former President of Pan Trinbago, when the latter resided in the California in the 1970s and 80s. He was instrumental in bringing the Our Boys Steel Orchestra to California where they worked with the likes of Andy and Jeff Narell as well as Tom Miller to set the standard for steelbands in the area. Harry’s prolific songwriting career started in the early 90s when he wrote hits like ‘Lolay Lolai’ and ‘Come Girl’ for the late calypsonian Arrow. He has also collaborated and consulted with calypsonians and musicians in Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia and Montserrat. In 1997, Harry formed his current group Shabang, with which he has recorded two CDs, and in the process of recording a third. The group appears regularly at clubs and events throughout northern California.