Dobson’s wanderlust and musical passion can be heard on his self-produced CD Caribbean Steel Drum Party. Dobson and his musicians perform exuberant salsa, samba…, reggae…, rock…, jazz (a salsafied version of John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’), and Baroque…
Patricia L. Herlevi, Skagit Valley Herald
Ian Dobson's Pan Leggo is a fun and energetic band that can't help but make you happy!
Robert Smith, National Public Radio Correspondent
Hello! I want to express a sincere thank you for playing at the Olympia library today. My son was there with his camp, Camp Ausome. This camp provides care and speech services for children with autism. My son absolutely LOVED your show and music really resonates with him. He’s non verbal and sometimes it’s hard to know what he truly enjoys, but your music was a HUGE HIT with my little guy. A sincere thank you!!
Do you have any upcoming events near Olympia? I want to bring my son so he can hear you play again.
Leah, 7/2018, Olympia Library
I want to thank you so very much for performing at the 2018 Covington Days Festival. The crowd loved you. You did an amazing job with the kids and was a great addition to this year’s festival. I would like to have you back in the future.
Pat Patterson, 7/2018, Recreation and Cultural Arts Manager, Covington Parks and Recreation
Thank you Ian! You were great!! I loved the interaction with the crowd…very well done!
Cara Brown, 7/2014, Seattle Parks
It was an absolute pleasure to have you at our event again this year. You are a true professional and your ability to liven up the crowd is wonderful.
Malik Pirani, 8/2014, Chairman, Seattle Partnership in Action Golf Tournament
Hi Ian, Thank you so much. Everyone really enjoyed it – even the guests in the building up the hill! Thank you, too, a MILLION for saving the day with the microphone. Sheesh.
Safe travels – and I’ll definitely recommend you when I hear of someone wanting to hear some excellent music.
Stacey Genzlinger, 8/2014, Events Manager, Providence St. Peter Foundation, Olympia, WA
Hi, I just loved your performance yesterday. It was so full of energy! I felt so uplifted. You engaged the audience beautifully. We received good feed back. You are so talented. Thanks so much. Sincerely, Bonnie
Bonnie Komar, 10/2013, Federal Way Women's Club
Thanks Ian - Everyone had a wonderful time and you were a huge hit. Thank you for contributing so much fun to our day... I'd love to have you at all out parties! Thanks again!
Lisa Thompson, 8/2013, Bride, Arlington, WA
Thank you so much for providing the music for our Evening in the Garden. We had many very positive comments about your music and we were all very pleased that you could join us.
Your music added just the right touch to our jungle theme this year. We would highly recommend you to others as a performer that will add just the right touch to a party or other event.
Katie Swickard, 8/2013, Program Manager and Outreach Coordinator, Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden
Thanks Ian – we had a blast and having you at the party was the extra special bonus I was hoping for!
Jaime Quick, 6/2013, Backyard Birthday Party, Ballard, WA
I wanted to write and thank you for providing a delightful evening for the supper club and for the dining room help staff. You have been one of the most popular entertainers we have ever had. Everyone is commenting. They loved the steel drums, all the audience involvement. Going under the bar was a real hit. One of our members is in his nineties and has suffered with skin cancer about the head and face. He has skin grafts to the point that he looks grotesque but his spirit shines through and he is very animated and loved.
About ten feet away from the bar he began to sway and swing, holding onto his cane for balance and he danced his way up and under the bar, smiling and laughing all the way. It was terrific to see him so happy and involved.
Many have asked to have you booked again. The owner of the restaurant told me that they have had steel drummers entertain in the dining room before but it was never a hit until you arrived.
We will certainly book you again! Many thanks for a great evening of music and sharing yourself. I can close my eyes and still hear the steel drums playing.
Leah Star, 9/27/2012, Panorama Village Supper Club, Lacey, WA
Fantastic performance last summer!
Kirstin Muelle, youth services librarian for Downtown Bremerton Library in Kitsap Regional Libraries, 9/2012, Bremerton, WA
Everyone is still talking about you. Your performance and ability to engage the kiddos is a rare gift. I can't thank you enough. And yes, my little daughter plays your CD regularly ever since you played for her 4th birthday almost 4 years as ago! Hope to make it to one of your shows soon!
Claudia Kester, Parent Volunteer, Thoreau Elementary PTA
Thanks for your adaptability and professionalism Ian. It's a pleasure working with folks like you who share so much passion for what they do! Great job!
Karry Williquette, Longview Recreation, Longview, WA
You sir are an outstanding performer who can grab the kids and crowds attention at any time. It truly does take a lot as a musician and individual to keep the crowd fully engaged the entire time and YOU do that with out a hitch GREAT JOB !!!!!!
Boone Wallace, Owner & Videographer, Boone Videography, Longview, WA
Thank you so much for being involved in our International Dinner this year! We really enjoyed how you were able to connect the theme of our dinner to your performance. We could not have had a better performer to end our dinner! ... I look forward to seeing you perform again at different events on our campus!
Dolly Chan, Programming Assistant, International Student Center, Seattle University, 2/2013, Seattle, WA
Absolutely first class-on time, good equipment, great talent, good song list, very flexible with multiple locations during our fundraiser. His music contributed greatly to the success of our event, and the 200 people in the room could not stop moving to the beat!
Jim M, 4/30/2011, Fundraiser, Port Townsend, WA
Ian was the highlight of our 21st Annual Luau! He went above and beyond to get our most challanging residents involved and to participate. He was very accommodating with all our special requests. I believe this will be an event that will be talked about for a long time. One of the comments I have heard is that this was "the best luau we have ever had", Ian helped make that goal a reality. I would love to work with him again.I would stongly recommend him for any event!
Annarae J, 8/20/2010, Luau Party, Hoquiam, WA
Ian Dobson and his associates where very professional and provided a wonderful performance enjoyed by our entire staff. Ian's band provided the perfect ambiance to pull the entire event together. Ian customized his performance to our hospital. The feedback from our staff was they Ian and his band were one of the best parts about the entire event. I would recommend Ian to anyone that would like a complete package of an interactive band, that sounds like you are in paradise sitting on the beach. Thank you.
Danielle L, 7/24/2008, Corporate Function, Tacoma, WA
Ian's Solo Tropical Music Examples
Ian Dobson's Steel Drum Party!!! -- Band Examples
Ian Playing Ukulele
Unique Holiday Music!
Ian is a Seattle native who turned his back on the fame and fortune of grunge stardom to travel the world performing and learning about the music of various cultures. His travels took him all over Europe, South Asia, Southeast Asia, South and Central America, Mexico, and the United States. In the course of his musical adventures around the world he earned a Jazz Studies B.Mus and a Percussion Performance M.M. from the University of Washington, a B.A. in History from Pomona College, and he studied at the Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Lisbon. He also has an academic background in digital media and languages and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. His first love is drum set and he studied timpani, marimba, vibraphone, piano, and other instruments starting at a young age. In 1995 Ian was asked to play drum set in the Pan Leggo Steelband, which got its start at Oberlin College. He became the band’s leader in 1997 and soon realized he wanted to learn to play the steel drums himself.
These days Ian can be found performing and teaching steel drum on Holland America Line cruise ships in the Caribbean during the winter months, playing abroad in such places as Mexico and Canada; performing at music festivals such as the Ethnic Heritage Festival in Edmonton, Canada; performing in libraries and schools throughout the United States, and so much more! He has performed with many musical luminaries in the past, such as Jackson Berkey of Mannheim Steamroller and Lee Oskar of the band War.
Ian’s musical hallmark is his ability to take disparate cultural influences and mix them together. To offer a few examples, he puts the Caribbean steel drum in jazz and classical settings, playing John Coltrane and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and he takes popular American standbys, such as those by Jimmy Buffett, and transforms them by incorporating Salsa, Calypso, or other Latin/world rhythms. He loves to combine musical elements to make music of other cultures accessible to North Americans. At the same time, he is a great fit for communities with a large Hispanic population as his shows tend to resonates culturally with many Latinos and can be conducted in Spanish and/or English.
Ian defines his job as “musician and world music guide.” He is equal parts performing artist, teacher, and travel guide and his vision is to bring the world together through music and technology. To this end community outreach is a very important part of what he does and he strives to leverage technology to increase his effectiveness in this area. This very web site includes its own social network (similar to Facebook) and uses those structures to create an innovative online music space for his audiences, students, and workshop participants to learn, mentor, and share. His online materials allow Ian to encourage community involvement in his show before and long after his actual performance or class.
Ian Dobson's Pan Leggo/Ian Dobson's Steel Drum Party Kids Show Bio
Take your family on a musical Caribbean vacation with Ian Dobson’s Steel Drum Party! In the Caribbean a steel drum is called a “pan” and to party is to “leggo”. Get ready to Pan Leggo!! Journey with Ian to explore different cultures through music and see how you can use your creativity and resourcefulness to create music from anything.
Shorter, Musician-Oriented Bio
Ian has traveled the world performing and learning about the music of various cultures. His first love is drum set and he studied timpani, marimba, vibraphone, piano, and other instruments starting at a young age and eventually earned a Master’s degree in Percussion. He began performing steel drum music in 1995. Ian can be found performing and teaching steel drum on Holland America Line cruise ships in the Caribbean during the winter months, playing abroad in such places as Mexico and Canada; performing at music festivals such as the Ethnic Heritage Festival in Edmonton, Canada; performing in libraries and schools throughout the Northwest, and so much more! He has performed with many musical luminaries, such as Jackson Berkey of Mannheim Steamroller and Lee Oskar of the band War.
Promo for "Ian Dobson's Tropical Escape" show
Take a break for a tropical escape!!
Join me and my amazing full band as we sing and dance while answering the question of how a Seattle grunge kid, improbably, ends up falling in love with tropical music and the steel drum. As we play instruments including steel drums, ukulele, marimba, congas, drums, bass, and more, I will recount a quirky musical journey that taught me the common roots of grunge and Latin music and inspired my love of music from around the tropics. It's an interactive musical tour of the Islands that will put you into an island state of mind!