Ukpöng “Mr. Pöng” Etang is an artist like you’ve never seen or heard before! His instrument of choice is the Steelpan, originating from the twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago. This creative musician started playing the Piano at age seven and was introduced to the Steelpan at age nine. In 2011, he joined Salah’s Steelpan Academy, based in Montreal, and has honed his skills with the band over the years.
In 2015, while completing his marketing degree, Ukpöng decided to bring his Steelpan into Montreal’s metro transit system to perform for commuters.
It was a risky move to make some extra income, but one that proved to be extremely innovative. The move allowed for the development of “Mr. Pöng”, the artist. It granted him great exposure to a receptive audience, and allowed him a platform to educate the public about the last acoustic instrument of the 20th century (the Steelpan). Using this platform, he started exploring his musical creativity and improvisation. It also encouraged him to network with other artists as well as members of the entertainment ecosystem.
Seeing as he was completing his Bachelor’s of Commerce degree in marketing, it comes as no surprise that he decided to launch his business, Mr. Pöng Enterprises, based on his passion for music, arts, culture, performance, and community. To date, he has performed at numerous community events, weddings, and for a growing list of corporate clients (Groupe Dynamite, Quadbridge Inc., Newad Media). He has also performed for some high profile individuals including the Canadian High Commissioner for the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago. Going forward, Mr. Pöng would like to be more visible on the festival scene and continue collaborating with other artists.
He is also very proud of the release of his debut cover album, “Echoes Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” The project was released on March 30th, 2018.
“I want to create opportunities for future cross-disciplinary collaborations… I want to take the opportunity to prove to listeners and supporters that the Steelpan should be recognized in the mainstream… I also want to do my part in advancing the instrument, along with Steelpan Culture, by easing the minds of anyone who feels the Steelpan is not ready for the mainstream.”
Two songs were released as singles (“Lost Without U”, “I Feel It Coming”), which garnered high praise. That said the multi-genre project is expected to receive great reviews!
It’s been a long time coming but it’s time for the talent, ambition, and versatility of Mr. Pöng to be shared with the world!