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Michael 'Bubbles' Oliviere

Born in Trinidad, Michael 'Bubbles' Oliviere is a steel pan craftsman, tuner, composer, arranger, award winning pannist, singer and songwriter.

Within a short time of arriving in London in the 1970's aged 24, Bubbles created a buzz with his unique calypso sound. In 1976 he musically directed the 20th Century Steel Band album 'Cold Heart, Warm Steel'. The album included 'Heaven and Hell is on Earth', one of three tracks of his own composition.

20th Century Steel Band perform Heaven and Hell live on TV's Star Parade in 1976

A lucrative recording contract followed their appearance on TV's New Faces and the 20th Century Steel Band soon found themselves on the same label as The Beatles, Shirley Bassey and Dusty Springfield. More recordings and tours of Europe followed until the dissolution of United Artists.

Bubbles then drew on his rare combination of pioneering skills in pan culture to earn his living. His arrangement of 'Ah Want It Back' won Mangrove Steel Band the UK Panorama Steel Band Championship title in 1986.

Mangrove play Bubbles' winning arrangement of 'Ah Want It Back' - 1986 Panorama.

Meanwhile many artists were using samples of the 'Heaven and Hell' vocal in their own work including Jungle Brothers 'True Blue', Black Eyed Peas 'Say Goodbye', LL CooJ 'Whatcha Want', Lauryn Hill's 'Every Ghetto, Every City' and Soul ll Soul 'Dance' from The Soul ll Soul Club Classics album.

Rightfully known as 'the sample that will never die', Heaven and Hell is on Earth has stood the test of time, not only because of its brilliantly simple melody but because of the lyrics universal relevance and appeal to people of all genders, ages, races and generations: 'Children growing, women producing, men go working, some go stealing. Everyone's got to make a living'.

20th Century Steel Band perform Voices of Spring on TV in 1976

But it was Jennifer Lopez's use of the sample for her chart topping hit 'Jenny from the Block' that brought his song writing skills to the world's attention. As a result, in 2004 Bubbles was awarded honours from the British Music Industry (BMI) and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for his contribution to the music industry.

RASPO and Bubbles show Rosie and Jim how to make steel drums.

Bubbles' latest steel pan reggae album 'Unfinished Business/Soon Come' is the culmination of a lifetime's experience that combines the lyrical wisdom of hindsight with a youthful musical enthusiasm and energy that's totally infectious and bouncy.

As a steel pan music pioneer and virtuoso Michael continues to inspire new audiences around the world by promoting the culture of steel pan, calypso and reggae.

In 2010 Bubbles returned to UK Panorama with an arrangement of 'Pan on Fire' for RASPO Steel Orchestra.

RASPO plays Bubbles' arrangement of 'Pan on Fire' - UK Panorama 2010

The 'Warm Heart, Cold Steel' CD album and 12' EP featuring 'Heaven and Hell is on Earth' has been re-released on Mr Bongo Records and is available on iTunes.

MySpace: Tha Prodigal Son Michael Oliviere

Click the links to watch video of Bubbles performing live...
'Magga Lions' a Joseph Hill tribute at The Engine Room Reading 2008
'Sugar Boom Boom' by Lord Kitchener at Culture Mix Showcase 2009
With RASPO Steel Orchestra at WOMAD, Charlton Park, UK July 2009

20th Century Steelband's 'Warm Heart Cold Steel' album cover

20th Century Steelband's 'Warm Heart Cold Steel' album cover

"Children growing, women producing, men go working, some go stealing. Everyone's got to make a living"

by Michael 'Bubbles' Oliviere

Heaven and Hell is on Earth

20th Century Steelband

20th Century Steelband

'Warm Heart, Cold Steel' was recorded by the 20th Century Steelband in 1975 and included the 'sample that will never die' from the track 'Heaven and Hell is on Earth'

Michael 'Bubbles' Oliviere

Bubbles at RASPO Showcase

Pan maker, arranger, composer, pan musician and singer