Bakra Bata Seattle Steel Drum Band
The six member Bakra Bata Seattle Steel Band began performing in the Seattle area in 1984, under the leadership of Michael Shantz. They have created a highly original and distinctly American style of music and performance that draws primarily from the root traditions of trans-Atlantic cultures as they have developed in the Americas.
The principal instrument featured is the steel drum (also known as the "pan"), played in combination with a fascinating variety of other percussion instruments. The unusual instrumentation is a visual and aural delight for audiences, and the repertoire, rich with original material emphasizing rhythmic modes and dance beats, creates and upbeat joyous ambience.
Bakra Bata has appeared at theaters, universities, children's events, and over 200 art fairs and indoor and outdoor festivals across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil. Attendance at these events has ranged from 10,000 to over a million. Wherever they play, there is a spontaneous connection with the audience that creates an exciting atmosphere perfectly suited to high density indoor and outdoor events. The group has a long association with professional dancers, and is thus able to present full or abbreviated programs of music, theater, masquerade, and dance utilizing up to six dancers. The dance repertoire consists of traditional and contemporary works and, of special relevance to open air events, processional pieces featuring colorful costumes, beautiful masks, and enchanting instruments. With such an extensive repertoire, event organizers can select different combinations of programs to suit their specific scheduling requirements.