Hashim Thomas Durant boldly and emphatically declares: “Steel pan is where my heart is”. The 22-year-old pannist told Bajan Vibes that his love for the instrument has grown since he started playing at age 12.
“I started playing pan at the age of 12. While in secondary school I really wanted to be a cadet, but at the time, so did everyone else. So with that, my form teacher made me join the steel orchestra and from the first day, I was totally in love with the instrument.”
The former student of The Garrison Secondary holds an Associate Degree in Music from the Barbados Community College (BCC). “My first tutor at the Garrison Secondary was Mr Joel Devonish, then Andre Forde when I attended Barbados Community College (BCC),” he recalled.
Hashim explained that his late father was a huge source of inspiration. “My dad, the late Rohan Durant, was also the greatest inspiration and motivation. He always said to ‘strive for greatness and to remain humble’! My father was the breadwinner so after his passing my mother, Jacqueline Durant, made sure she filled his shoes and she did everything in her power to ensure I got my first steel pan.”
Hashim loves to listen to Smooth Jazz and Kaiso jazz but he also prefers to play pop, soca, reggae and R&B. He looks up to and is influenced by the likes of Arturo Tappin, Nicholas Brancker, Andre Forde, Victor Provost and Liam Teague.
The musician has created his own music. Two of his pieces are entitled Kaiso Bliss and Is This My World. “When creating music, I strive for something impactful, enjoyable and easily remembered,” he said.
The pannist has performed at several events including CARIFESTA, Honey Jazz, Pan Pun De Sand, Pan Fusion, CPL, and Machel Montano’s One Love concert, just to name a few. He recently competed in an online competition called Panograma where he placed seventh throughout the Caribbean.
Hashim is a member of the 1688 Orchestra and Collective led by Dr Stefan Walcott and a band called escape66 led by female drummer Juanita Clarke.
His goal is to inspire others, especially fellow pannists. “I’d like to become an inspiration to many young steel pannists around the Caribbean and world. Hopefully, as COVID- 19 passes I’d like to start travelling and touring so I can network and widen my knowledge of music.”
The pan player spoke candidly about the local music industry. “I’m pleased with what I’m seeing so far in the music industry here in Barbados. There are many musicians who try their very best to share information with upcoming musicians. Right now, I’m very pleased to see many musicians taking advantage of Instagram and Facebook lives to continue to showcase their talent and skills.”
He also offered some words of wisdom for fellow musicians: “Be always true to yourself and let no one tell you that you’re not good enough. Always strive to be the very best that you can be, but always remember to remain humble. I encourage you to be diligent in your practice as a young musician but never forget to have fun and always be willing to learn.”
Hashim said if it was not music he would have pursued a career in architecture. “My father was a contractor and so was his dad before him, so it runs in the family. Another interest I have would be teaching because I enjoy teaching kids music.”
Hashim is focused on his musical journey so he works hard. But he is also acutely aware that life is about balance. He said in order to unwind he usually heads out for a drive around the island.
It is family and friends above all for him. “What matters to me most in life is ensuring that I’m able to take care of my family and friends. I’m very grateful to all those who’ve supported me throughout my journey so far and all who continue to support.
“I’m very grateful for how far I’ve come and I know this is only the beginning. I will continue to strive for greatness while remaining humble,” Hashim said. (IMC)