Celebrating 50 years of Ebony, Notting Hill Carnival’s iconic steelpan band

UK – Weaving through west London on Carnival day, from Chippenham Mews to Berwick street, dancing down All Saints Road and stopping for cans and rum punch top-ups among the heaving crowds that dominate Earl’s Court, the percolating sounds of steel pans will ring in your ears. The racing metallic drum beat embodies London’s renowned Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street party, as much as the technicolour costumes of Mas (masquerade), a scotch bonnet-spiked cut of jerk chicken, or the whipcrack of a Red Stripe ripped open. The Ebony Steel Band have been soundtracking London’s most prolific and loved celebration of Caribbean culture for 50 years. Dub, reggae, and steel pans rule Carnival.

With a new short documentary directed by filmmaking creative collective 33Bound, with Dazed, adidas Consortium, and Footpatrol, they embarked on a mission to champion those integral to carnival culture. Celebrating adidas’ revival of the iconic, culturally-defining ZX Torsion shoe with their Footpatrol collab sneaker, we follow Ebony on their own soul-affirming journey, from dedicated rehearsal sessions to the pulsating, sun-dappled carnival day, documenting the power of community and devotedness to a culture and craft.

Exactly 30 years ago, the Torsion System became one of adidas’ biggest breakthroughs and remains an enduring mainstay. The rebooted Torsion uses the latest in BOOST cushioning, displaying a Carnival-inspired colourway with neon stripes and accents, and a vibrant marble effect; the FP gas mask logo has been redrawn with traditional mas headdress, and the tongue is stamped with the west London postcodes Carnival takes over. Now, we delve inside the workings of Ebony, as they celebrate their mammoth 50th anniversary.

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