Fimber Bravo

As a founder member of the 20th Century Steel Band, Fimber Bravo's music pricked the ears of a generation of hip-hop artists who sampled the group’s 1975 album Heaven & Hell. Since then the steel pan specialist has collaborated with artists all over the world from Sun Ra Arkestra to Morcheeba. 2013 has seen him diversify further with a new record that combines electronic production with classic percussion and includes an impressive cast of talent from Hot Chip to Zongamin.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 5 Aug 2013
  • min read
From Hot Chip to The xx, Blur to The Knife, the humble steel pan is popping up all over the place. Over the last couple of years its rippling timbre has cut through a clutch of notable tracks, undoing some of the long-lasting damage caused by seventies cheese peddler Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass band.

Not that legendary percussionist and steel pan maestro Fimber Bravo would have noticed much – his extraordinary skill has always been in demand.

As a founder member of the 20th Century Steel Band, Fimber's music pricked the ears of a generation of hip-hop artists who sampled the group’s 1975 album Heaven & Hell. He then went on to become musical director of Steel n’ Skin, the first British black group to be funded by the Arts Council.

During his long career the Trinidad-born composer has performed all over the world, collaborating with a diverse bunch of artists such as Winifred Atwell, Sun Ra Arkestra, Morcheeba, Blur and Pan Am North Stars.

You may recognise his distinctive style from the steel pan arrangements on Hot Chip's One Night Stand album and their War Child cover of Joy Division's Transmission. More recently he has collaborated with Japanese born, British-based producer Zongamin and jazz player Claude Depper.

Now signed to indie label Moshi Moshi, Fimber's career has taken yet another turn. His latest record Con-Fusion deftly combines electronic production with classic percussion. He assembled an impressive cast of friends including Hot Chip, Tom Hopkins, Jonnie Wilkes and James Savage (Optimo/Naum Gabo), Zongamin and Mickey Moonlight to help him and the results are truly innovative.

Watch lead track Life After Doomsday, his collaboration with Zongamin, below.