Elite Features

  • By Kerra Denel
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  • November 28, 2020
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Earl La Pierre Jr

Introducing the world’s first pan cast created by Earl La Pierre Jr. The extraordinary steel pannist taking steel pan to new heights.

It was not until the summer of 1987 that Earl La Pierre Jr., now known as ESP (Extraordinary Steel Pannist), came onto the scene, where he started playing steel pan with Afropan Steel Orchestra. Four years later, in 1991, he began performing as a soloist. Within 10 years, Earl has developed into one of Toronto’s premiere steel pannists and is currently the manager of Canada’s #1 steel orchestra, Afropan Steelband, whose history speaks for itself. Earl is also a founding member of Pan Arts Network (PAN), an organization dedicated to showcasing the steelpan artform on larger concert stages.

Earl has played in several major events such as Caribana, Snowflakes on Steel, Autumn Leaves on Steel, Du Maurier Jazz Festival and Pan Jazz and has consistently worked on enhancing his abilities as an entertainer. In the summer of 1999, he had the opportunity to play on CITY TV’s “Electric Circus,” where he demonstrated his musical talents for the founder of Bad Boy Entertainment, Mr Sean “Puffy” Combs. Earl has also played under the leadership of world-renowed pannists such as Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Ray Holman and his father, Earl La Pierre Sr.

Cultural Ambassador

Over the years, Earl has travelled frequently to perform worldwide. Not only has he dedicated his efforts to sharing the steelpan instrument with the world, he is also an advocate for international collaborations, as well as celebrating soca music and the Caribbean culture. He has taken his craft to places which include a number of Caribbean Islands, Asia, Canada, America and Africa, to partake in Carnivals and Festivals. As a result of his commitment to high quality entertainment, Earl has received many awards from recognized steelpan organizations for his musical expertise, as well as his enthusiastic ability to help others.

He has taught both adults and children how to play the steelpan at the University of Toronto, York University, Ryerson University, the Separate School Board, the Greater Essex County District School Board, Private Funded Schools and the Toronto District School Board, not to mention the hundreds of public/catholic schools, community centers and daycares that Earl frequents with his ‘edutainment’ demonstration of the steelpan instrument.. Earl performs as a “One Man Band” available for bookings for all occasions and settings.

Uncle EMan’s Kiddies Cruise

In the fall of 2019, Earl La Pierre Jr. (aka EMan) introduced a new recreational experience for the youth of Toronto GTA to enjoy. Looking for a way to celebrate the Caribbean culture, and help it thrive amongst the younger generation, Uncle EMan decided to hold the first ever ‘Kiddies’ Cruise’, so that the children could enjoy the same boat ride experience their parents frequent throughout the year. The inaugural sailing sold out in record time and a secondary sail time was added to satisfy the overwhelming demand of children not wanting to be left out. Uncle EMan made sure to plan an exciting cruise featuring some of Toronto’s best DJs (Dr. Jay and DJ Shy), face painting, mask decorating, Socacize, and live performances by soca artist Jaxx & the Extraordinary Steel Pannist (ESP) playing steelpan; lunch and snacks were also provided. At a capacity of 500 people each, both cruises were sold out and attendees left the dock looking forward to next year’s sailing.

Sons of Steel

There is no question when you hear the name La Pierre you immediately think of the steelpan. The La Pierre family is not only a household name for pannist worldwide but also a name that equates an exceptional dose of natural talent, passion and execution of steelpan music. Born to the legendary Earl La Pierre Sr. the man responsible for introducing steelpan to the Canada & Cayman islands, the three sons are not only steelpann soloists but are also entrepreneurs and tutors utilizing the instrument as a means of sustainability.

The Sons of Steel concert was conceptualize by Earl and his two brothers wanting to pay tribute to their late grandmother Norma. “It was always her dream,” he said “for us to be together and the concert was the perfect forum for this. It’s time we fulfill this dream and show the world what the La Pierre family has to offer”. The concert was first debuted in Toronto Canada in July 2012 and was able to gain a tremendous response. As a result of their success, in February 2013, the three brothers saw it fit to give their fans a unique performance in Trinidad & Tobago.

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