Born in London in 1963, Wilbert "Junior" Gill is nowadays based in Zürich, Switzerland, where he has been studying and teaching music since 1991. He is the musical director of the Music Center Affoltern, in Zürich that caters for drums, marimba, percussion, keyboard, and guitar + studio technique courses. He has performed with quite a few well known musicians, either on stage or in Jam Sessions. Phil Collins, Santana, George Duke, Airto Moriera and Victor Bailey – to name a few.
Junior has learnt to master the steelpan, through listening and learning from the pan musicians of the so called “Old School“, in the likes of Gary Chang, Ken Johnson, Selwyn Baptiste, Pedro Burgess, Sterling Betancourt, Russ Henderson, Aubrey Bryan, Zigilee Constantine, Kenrick Isidore, Boots Davidson, Tony Charles and his first ever teacher Clyde Dias.
Since 2002, Wilbert Gill has been performing, touring, recording and composing music with the legendary Panamanian drummer, Professor William Cobham and his new fusion highlight,“Culture Mix“. Junior says that he owes a lot to Bill for taking the chance of nurturing him through the highly professional music scene.
To date, Junior has toured all over Europe as well as perform on television and recorded with various musicians. A lot of his success in Switzerland is due to the unlimited support from Margrith Fischer, an ex-member of the legendary Swiss Pan Round the Neck Band, Sandflöö.
Together they formed The Swiss National Steel Orchestra, founded the Wilbert Gill Steelpan School and formed the Kool Kats children steelband. They currently run the Music Center Affoltern together.
From age 4, Wilbert "Junior" Gill began showing a great interest in music. He recalls being in trouble for dancing on the living room table, trying to emulate Sammy Davis Jr. His sisters encouraged him to play the piano and he excelled in playing the xylophone, marimba and bongos whilst in primary school. At his secondary school, Clement Danes Grammar, he took lessons in drumming and was allowed to perform with the Christopher Wren School Steelband, where his good friend Tamla Batra was playing. Tamla gave Junior the push that was needed to learn the scales and harmonies. Junior went on to attend the Middlesex Polytechnic in Trent Park, where he combined music, as a major study, and quantitative mathematics as a minor in a combined studies degree course.
In 1976, Junior arranged Auld Lang Syne for the Soucouyant Steelband and 1978 saw him perform with BA Groovers at the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada. Junior performed with the Christopher Wren school at the Royal Albert Hall in 1977 and played with London All Stars at the 1979 Notting Hill Carnival. He went on to captain and did some musical arranging for Glissando, three times Festival winners.
Wilbert Gill has also played with the Caribbean Safari steelband, founded the 21st Century Steel Music Production company and took Kool Kats Steelband to the first youth steelband festival in Barbados in 2000.
He has worked with David Bowie, appeared on Swiss National television and performed at the Pan Is Beautiful VIII in Trinidad, with the Swiss National Steel Orchestra. A true pan musician taking music to further realms of stardom.