Kenya introduced Trinidad and Tobago’s national instrument as a semi-finalist in the DC-CAPITAL Stars Talent Competition and A Night of DC-CAPITAL Stars Gala in December 2012.
She performed a jazz classic called “In the Mood” on her tenor pan which gave her the opportunity to compete against 40 other contestants.
Her mother Debbie, who is the niece of calypsonian Lord Laro told Newsday her daughter began playing pan at the age of eight with Positive Vibrations, a youth orchestra under the auspices of the Cultural Academy for Excellence (CAFE).
According to Kenya, “The programme allowed me to broaden my horizons beyond American music to music from all over the world.
“The steelpan exposed me to the diversity of the nation and the world by providing opportunities to travel to places such as South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Canada, and Illinois.”
Mom Debbie said in 2004, Kenya was inspired to help others through various community service projects beyond her school requirements by forming a family steelband called PANLARA with her two sisters.
“She encouraged her friends to be a part of the band performing at churches, nursing homes, and schools to help the community and to promote her Caribbean culture. “These performances not only brought the community together but they also promoted the rich Caribbean culture at the same time,” added her mom.
On one of the groups’ trips to South Africa, they played at an elementary school, university and villages.
Kenya was instrumental in developing the first International Youth Arts and Culture Festival in downtown Silver Spring, MD in 2012 celebrating Trinidad and Tobago’s 50th Independence Anniversary as well as that of Jamaica.
Kenya has also enjoyed meeting celebrated sons of our soil such as Grammy nominee, Ettienne Charles, Robert Greenidge, Liam Teague, Leon “Smooth” Edwards, Lord Laro and David Rudder. But more than that she had the opportunity to perform for US First Lady Michelle Obama at a Christmas concert for a children’s hospital in 2010.
In addition, Kenya played for the Obama daughters at Sidwell Friends School, and for Maya Angelou at a benefit concert.
Through music, Kenya has graced the stages at Blues Alley, the Kennedy Center, and many more in the DC Metropolitan areas.
On Saturday March 30, Kenya and her sisters will be performing with Lord Laro in New York City at “The Legends Live – University of Calypso and Soca” presented by Angels Caribbean Entertainment Group of Companies.
Also on the playbill are the Mighty Sparrow, David Rudder, Calypso Rose and New York’s finest Angels Caribbean Band.