On October 3rd, 2018 , we received the news from his son Michael that former steel-band leader, instructor and pan tuning pioneer Kim Loy Wong , had passed.￼
He was the original leader of the legendary Hilanders (Highlanders) Steel Orchestra , and one of the first steel-pan tuners to introduce the world to the art of pan tuning, via an educational video made by folk singer Pete Seeger.
Pete Seeger’s steel-pan tuning tutorial from 1956 , featuring Kim Loy Wong’s Hilanders
Kim migrated to the US in 1959 , and with Seeger’s assistance was one of the first to introduce the art-form and its technology to the US , where he used his music to reach out to underprivileged youth.
After Kim left , the leadership of Hilanders was assumed by Bertie Marshall , who was also to establish himself as a legendary bandleader , tuner and steel-pan innovator.
Kim Loy Wong’s Highlanders Steel Orchestra is one of the bands featured on this 1957 Cook compilation album.Selections are Cumpanchero, Anna, Benata
Kim Loy Wong should be remembered as one of our earliest and most influential pioneers and a key contributor to the worldwide exposure of the art-form .
He deserves a special place in our cultural history ,and especially among the pioneers and innovators of our musical creation.
May he Rest in peace.