Trinidad and Tobago’s national instrument is about to enter a new phase of the digital age through the effort of steelpan entrepreneur and designer cum lawyer Liz Mannette, Owner of Liz Mannette LLC – a design studio for steelpan-inspired projects.
Mannette, who has been designing steelpan themed jewelry for over 11 years has extended into the media and entertainment world and spent the last year in development with local and international artists, animators, mobile app developers and futurists to carve a creative space for the next evolution of digital content for the steelpan.
Just in time for Carnival 2017, a Suite of brand new steelpan-themed mobile applications (pan apps) are being launched on the company’s official digital platform: games.lizmannette.com.
As a pan lover deeply invested in the continuation of the global steelpan legacy, she realized that to connect the steelpan and its historical icons with Caribbean Millennials and young children, conversations surrounding steelpan had to be communicated in a way easily understood by the digital and information generation.
“I see two and three year old kids swiping and using cell phones and tablet computers with ease,” remarked Mannette in a Skype interview from New York City recently.
“I look at my young nieces and nephews and I think, how do I tell them about our Mannette family legacy in a way that they will engage and treasure? We need to create experiences to show the digital generation of Trinbagonian and Caribbean people their cultural heritage in a language they understand and via the channels they readily embrace,” she shared.
Mannette is a member of the second generation of the Mannette family, a premier name linked to the invention of the steel pan. The family patriarch, 90-year-old Ellie Mannette, is acknowledged as the Father of the Modern Steel Pan, having spent almost 75 years making the world’s best instruments, prized by top performers and artistes.
This venture is not her first combining the steelpan and technology. In 2000, pre-iTunes, Spotify and Pandora, some of the main online music websites, Mannette built the first website with 24/7 streaming steel pan music – StrumOn.com, to bring pan music to a global audience.
“We plan to utilize the newest technologies to produce steelpan media across a variety of platforms including mobile/digital apps, animation, film, gaming and VR,” she confirmed.
Two games are already available for download on the App Store and Google Play.
- Catch the Steelpans – a match-3 style game where players must match and destroy similar steelpans, and so learn about the main steelpans in the steel band family.
- Steel Pan Word Search – a word search game with names of steelbands, personalities and musical terms associated with the steelpan.
Three new apps are set to be released this month.
- PanEmojis (Steelpan Emojis) – using the popular emojis to express passionate emotions for Carnival and all-year round using steelpan characters.
- PanPuzzle Mania – an array of puzzles based on the note layouts of the main pans which will have everyone finally knowing the difference between say, a double second pan and a guitar pan.
- The PanCrawl app – an interactive app guiding users along the judging route for Panorama preliminaries from panyard to panyard along with other interactive features for the Panorama semifinals and finals.
Mannette has also begun pre-production of an animation series surrounding steelpan themed characters.
“The first entertainment brand to go into development is ‘Tess, The Tenor’, an animated series targeted at the 6-11-year-old demographic, which incorporates music learning into the adventures of a young tenor pan living on a Caribbean island,” said Mannette.
Tess, The Tenor has been in development for over a year. Original art and other teasers for the animation series have already been premiered on Facebook and are linked with the new games and apps now available to the public for viewing and download on the official website at games.lizmannette.com.
The website, which was recently launched on 22 December 2016 will be expanding into an online and mobile gaming platform for all content created by the company.