Out of pain this culture was born - The Steelband of Trinidad & Tobago
by Gerry Kangalee
Global - Out of the pain of slavery, indentureship, colonialism and imperialism and through continuing resistance to the causes of that pain, the working class in a tiny polyglot island in the Southern Caribbean created and shaped a culture central to which is this transcendent phenomenon called Pan - at once an instrument and a movement. The story of Pan, therefore, is a story of a movement of people up from forced labour, through colonialism and the false dawn of petty bourgeois nationalism toward genuine emancipation/human liberation....
...It must be borne in mind that the French revolution broke out in 1789 and the Haitian revolution in 1791. The two are intimately connected. African slaves in the Caribbean were not averse to liberté and egalité. The titanic struggle of the Haitian people for freedom triggered fresh waves of immigration into Trinidad, agitated the slaves throughout the region and led to anarchy and chaos in the streets of Port of Spain as Republicans opposed Monarchists and spies and saboteurs infested the landscape. After the British conquest these were joined by Venezuelan revolutionaries, in particular Francisco de Miranda, who, with a wink and a nod from the British, used Trinidad as a base from which he attempted to overthrow Spanish colonialism in its Venezuelan version. Trinidad became a frontier society with contempt for authority and a tendency towards braggadocio and picaresque behaviour, characteristics which, some insist, it has since retained...
Some true words, brother Rico.
I agree that the oral tradition is bulging with rich stories, which, if only someone would take the time to document and publish them, would constitute the greatest cultural resource we could have abouit pan, kaiso, etc But those who were actually there through it all (and there are still many around) must be convinced that's a worthwhile project. They themselves have seldom put their own stories to paper.
2 cents, Peter
Fortunately, you guys don't have to wait for that someone to document stories from the culture.
WST(and the Internet) provides a forum where everyone who has a story can be heard.
Don't wait, if you guys have stories to tell then tell them! Once it's in cyberspace, its there forever!
Quite true, Rico. Profound, actually!!! The pan door is now too open too many pimps and exploiters and
Johnny-come-latelies when in fact the oral tradition can only be authentically argued and presented by witnesses to the evolution.
If you went to the first Panorama in 1963 you could have arrived 10 minutes before the start of the show and PICK your front area seat. Where were all the panatics and historians then?
So many of today's researchers and proponents of the pan were too timid to stand up and shout when the pan needed loud voices ... so I now read their articles with reservations. Exploiters today want to write papers and profess love for the pan; yet they have to research the facts which were right before their eyes growing up as children in T&T. How genuine is that?
In 1963 I was eleven years old
Ras Rico I hear yuh. I am having a problem with the line "THERE IS A LOT OF NANCY STORIES ABOUT SOMBODY TAMBOO BAMBOO BROKE AND HE SNATCH UP A DUSTBIN COVER" Well known pan elder OSCAR PILE has lectured in universities in T&T and the USA and told that very story of the "Banboo that broke" are we to say now that he told us a NANCY STORY?
Cecil, try and get a copy of George Goddard's book, the title could be "40 years in Steelband", or something to that effect. The person (Totie Wilson) who is alledged to have taken up and beat the pan, confessed that , they were beating pans before this incident.
We are still unravelling the story.
Robert, thanks for your comment. People may not know, but your dad and my dad were very close friends. I remember going with my dad to your dad's home in Lanse Mitan, just before you get into Pt. Cumana. I still remember your dad's face and smile clearly. He really had a peaceful spirit. (May both our dad's Spirits continue to Rise In Peace!) Anyway, I am glad you posted this advice to Cecil, because their are too many WST talkers, who know NOTHING about what they are talking about. And they fell that EVERYONE is as unreliable as they are. smh.
i love that description...true emancipation...from the slavery of men and also from the slavery imposed onto our souls through the misdemenours of others.......imposing their guilt onto others....is a life threatening invisible shackle ....As Bob sung......