A brief Musical Biography of
Anthony ‘DPAN” Francis
I am ‘Anthony ‘Dpan’ Francis’- London, U.K.
I have always had a love for all types of music from as early as I can remember, I would sing and remember chord movements of songs and bass lines and that has stayed with me all my life.
My first experience of hearing live music was at a venue that my parents would attend every Sunday called the Albany in great Portland Street where a live band would perform with bass and lead guitars, drums, keyboard, vocalist and a steelpan I would look forward to this event every week, and this had a great influence on my musical career and vision of the future for steelpans.
Once a month we would go down to the ‘Tabernacle’ Powis square, where the big Steelbands like Ebony, Metronomes, Mangrove and London all Stars would perform along side the Soca Djays’ of the time Lord Sam, Shadow Hi fi, Black Patch and Fats, this was a carnival event that showcased the Steelbands throughout the year.
1974 – I attended my first London carnival and have been attending and participating every year since then up until now.
1975 – I experienced my first carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, an experience that I share in my book ‘The first Time.’
1983 – I joined the Ebony Steelband, at 13 years of age, a moment I had long waited for.
1983 – 2005 – I played with the Ebony steelband full time, Gigging and touring worldwide.
1986 – I started to arrange music without any kind of formal training, solely by ear, I had a natural ability to arrange, without being taught how to do so, the first song I put down for the band was a tune called ‘Pan Progress’ written by the great ‘Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharp’, for ‘Phase 2 Pan groove’ in that same year.
1991 – 1994 – I became the project director of the ‘Ebony Steelband Trust’, this post involved setting up and facilitating steelband classes, workshops and one 2 one sessions with Young, Old, Abled and Disabled people, spreading the culture all over the U.K.
1995 – 1998 – I started my own youth steelband called Ebonique whom I would then enter into the adult Panorama, for the next four years, this was a first, as this had been done before, Children competing against Adults and although we never won, we never came last and a lot of other youth bands then also started to enter as well, but we set the trend!
1998 – 2000 – I was the events manager and promoter for the London Brotherhood of Steel.
1995 – 2005 taught the art of playing in the Steelband in various schools across London
2006 – I stopped playing with the band and teaching in schools to focus on my own family and my own music productions’, this is when I came up with the concept of ‘Highly Dangerouz Productions’.
2007 – I started to perform with Asheber and the African Revolution Band.
2009 – I started to produce the music and the concept for ‘Outta Da Box’ the album.
2012 – I part launched Outta Da Box the concept with a few Videos that I up loaded to You Tube.
2013 – 2015 – I have been teaching a branch of Ebony Steelband based in east London, called ‘Ebony East Steelband Academy.
1984 – 2015 – I played in every U.K Panorama championship, bar 2006, played 9 U.K Steelband Music festivals, 2 World Steelband Music Festivals and 1 World International Panorama all with the Ebony Steelband.