Pan United Youth Movement

Pan United Youth Movement

In 2004, Shawn Thwaites founded Pan United Youth Movement (PUYM), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, to empower under-served youth with essential life skills through music education and performance. With the support of PUYM, Thwaites founded three youth steel orchestras: Virginia All Steel Orchestra (VASO), Washington National Steel Orchestra (WNSO), and Youth Empowerment Steel (YES) Orchestra. VASO and WNSO have performed throughout the United States. Some of their favorite past performance venues include Disney World and Universal Studios. In 2009, Shawn led a music workshop with Esperanza Spalding at the University of Maryland, featuring PUYM students. 

Currently, PUYM is supporting the YES Orchestra in Sacramento, California.

The Director

Shawn Thwaites is a Trinidadian-American musician and educator from Washington, DC. His area of expertise is unique – the steel drum, a relatively new and under-explored instrument born out of the colonial history of Trinidad and Tobago.  His trademark style integrates the very best of his Trinidadian ancestry and his D.C. upbringing, intertwining jazz, hip-hop, funk, calypso, reggae, and more.  This distinct sound, along with his coy style of performing, has helped establish Thwaites as a rare and sought after international recording artist, musician, and educator.

Shawn Thwaites is a reputable and versatile steelpan musician and performer. His accomplishments include recordings with notable artists, such as Lauryn Hill, Walter Beasley, and Greg Philliganes. He has toured North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe, bringing his distinct sound to audiences around the world. Thwaites earned his stripes within the steel drum fraternity performing with several steel orchestras, such as Pan Masters, Moods Pan Groove and Oasis Steel Orchestra. In 2015, he formed the Shawn Thwaites Rebel Quartet.