February 12, 2021
A new steelpan manufacturing company will be operational in the fourth quarter of 2021. The company, Musical Instruments of Trinidad and Tobago (MITTCO) will produce a full range of high quality steelpans to supply growing demand both locally and internationally.
MITTCO is the brainchild of Akua Leith, the Artistic Director and Conductor of the National Steel Symphony Orchestra of T&T. He is a Fulbright Fellow and graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Masters of Music in Conducting with emphasis on Steelpan Performance. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Musical Arts from the University of the West Indies (UWI). Akua has played and conducted in tours throughout Europe, Asia, North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. He is also a teacher of steelpan.
Akua says he envisioned a full-service pan ecosystem that would provide year round employment in the production and craftsmanship of steelpans. “I’ve had this idea for a while now…but was very protective of it until I felt I could collaborate with a team who shared the same vision and values as I did,” he says.
He approached the Hadad brothers, a long-time supporter of the steelpan and together they created a team to implement Akua’s vision. The company’s Board of Directors and Shareholders combine musicians and pancrafters, and seasoned business professionals: Akua Leith, Mario Joseph, David Hackett, Robert Hadad, Joseph Hadad and John Hadad.
MITTCO’s goal is to offer the best musical instruments coupled with flawless service to music and steelpan enthusiasts in both local and export markets. To do so the company will work with a team of experienced and dedicated steelpan craftsmen, using the highest quality raw materials, and integrating tradition with innovative manufacturing practices. MITTCO will engage the wider steelpan fraternity to create more employment within the industry.
The pan facility will be based in the e-Teck Diamond Vale Industrial Park, Diego Martin and will feature a robust production process. “We believe in collaborating to compete, and have entered this joint venture with a genuine desire to promote this musical instrument globally,” says John Hadad.
“Trinidad & Tobago is the home of Steelpan,” says Akua, “We have, without doubt, the best artisan steelpan craftsmen in the world, and there is no better time than now establish a world class company with international reach. MITTCO’s goal is simple: to keep the authenticity of steelpan manufacturing alive, here where it belongs, in its country of origin.”