Raymond Anthony Holman


Ray Holman was born 22 April 1944, Woodbrook, Trinidad. He began playing steel drums at 13, with the Invaders. A few years later at the age of 16 he began to arrange with Invaders Steel Orchestra and then went on to write his first piece of music "Ray's Saga" at age 17.

In 1964 at the age of 20, he became the youngest person ever to win the solo division of the "ping pong" competition (Liam Teague broke this record in 1992 aged 18).

His reputation as an arranger grew as he led several bands to Panorama victory. This success was partly due to his relentless search to redefine pans musical development.

In 1969 he introduced strumming cellos and guitars to create a new type of rhythm. More solo passages were included in Panorama arrangements and elements of jazz were used to give the music more lyrical lines.

He has been instrumental in influencing arrangers to compose and arrange their own music for the national Panorama competition. It is ironic that Lennox Sharpe, a former member of Starlift, was the first person to win Panorama with his own composition.

As well as being a great steelpan innovator, Ray is a graduate from the University of the West Indies and a teacher of Spanish and History.

In 1988 he was awarded the Hummingbird Silver Medal of Merit by the government of Trinidad and Tobago for his contributions to the culture of the nation. He was also a member of these bands: Starlift, Destination Tokyo, Pandemonium, Exodus, the Hummingbirds, and Phase II Pan Groove.

In 2013, the final year of Panorama in its present format, he took Junior Sammy Group Skiffle to fifth place.