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Hate it, Love it, but - you can’t ignore it.  Panorama in Trinidad & Tobago has produced some of the greatest musical moments and pieces of our time. 


When Steel Talks takes a look at 50 Years of Panorama Music, Life & Culture.


Share here, your favorite and greatest Trinbago Panorama moments, the highs and lows, with the global steelpan community...


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I stood at the side as Cavaliers begin to roll down the drag, it was the first time I saw so many Trini Indians playing pan, the first time I saw players strumming on  tenor-bass, the first time I saw a person beating a bell, the first time I saw so many pan, and the largest iron I ever saw one man beat, it was the hub from a truck. Cavaliers arrangement had a stop in it, and they started back with the bell followed by the rest of the band, they did this about 2-3 times and every time it caused thunder from the pans, a roar from the people and dust in the place. I doubt that in 50 years of Panorama any other band has created such an impact.

Cecil you are surely right for no other band in the history of Panorama created such an impact on that vast savannah possee as Cavaliers did . In 1968 Solo Harmonites also caused a massive earthquake on the Greens when they had they played "The Wrecker" and had the entire Town shaking. That was their first Panorama win . Cavaliers did not participate that year as they were on Tour. Great memories. Thanks.

1966 - Mighty Sparrow - Obeah Wedding - Desperadoes (winners) - Beverly Griffith (arranger)

1967 - Lord Kitchener - Sixty Seven - Cavaliers (winners) - Bobby Mohammed  (arranger)

I have two memories, one from myself, and the other from a story, Hugh Borde shared with me, while I was staying at his home in 1985.

  1. In 1983, I was forced to face the reality that if I continued with a two-year cocaine habit, I would have killed myself, or ended up in jail, where a few months earlier, I found myself spending overnight in the Royal Jail, for hanging with the wrong "friends". One day, rather than "head to the block", I decided to go in the opposite direction, and headed to Merrytones panyard, which at the time was on Mason St. in Diego Martin. I remember walking up to Kendall Wilkes, who knew me as George Goddard's son, and I admitted to him, that I had a drug problem and needed his help. Kendall, who at the time was a corporal in the police service, immediately asked: "Goddard, what pan you want to play?" Of course, EVERYONE wants to play the tenor pan; I can remember going to Panorama, and just admiring the front sections of Despers, Catelli, and other "big bands", and thinking "if I ever play pan, tenor pan is the pan ah go play..." So, weeks before the Panorama prelims, there I was, an aspiring tenor pan player with Merrytones. They had a good reputation, and I remember how everyone loved their rendition of Tourist Leggo, when they placed (I think eight, in the finals), so, I had my work cut out for me. I remember Eric (wmlpan) very well; I used to look at how at ease he would play difficult parts at full speed, even when other really good players were skating over certain parts. And I remember his discipline; when other members would be chain-smoking over their pans (me, included), Eric was a true professional. He took a very disciplined approach to practice, and that is one of the most poignant memories I have in my first time practicing in a panyard. He was like an older guy to me, so I used to straghten up when he was around, and I know other members did not appreciate his strictness. But it helped me understand what it took to reach to that level, and I started taking practice more seriously, and kind of eased away from the "bad influences" in the yard. Again, I was going through my struggles, but during that whole season, I kept away from cocaine, and the company it kept. Thanks to other tenor pan players, I quickly learned the tune, and Kendall picked me for the Panorama side. (Looking back, I know he was doing me a favor, because, I was still skating over some parts.) That decision to head in the "opposite direction" proved to be more than just geographic, for since that year, 1983, I have NEVER looked back, and stayed away from cocaine, even when exposed to it later, here in the United States. I also rejected offers in New York to become a dealer, and besides "God" and myself, I have a lot of people to be thankful for, and to, including my parents, my two close friends, Merrytones, and Kendall. So, now you ALL know why I keep saying that: PAN SAVED MY LIFE!.
  2. In 1986-87, Hugh Borde shared with me a story, to "show" me how principled my dad was. Hugh told me that one Panorama,  the afternoon/evening/early morning, prior to the prelims, he had been drinking with my dad and some of their friends. I think he said this was either in Pt. Cumana/Carenage or St. James, but anyway, that morning after an alcohol binge, Hugh decided that their early number in the drawings, meant that they would have been one of the first bands on stage. Hugh was not ready, so he said he sent of of the band members to the Grand Stand stage to tell "Mr' Goddard they were having problems with the float". Hugh said that he sure that George, who was his drinking-buddy just a few hours ago, would okay his excuse. Hugh said that, the next thing he knew was that my dad was on a megaphone with the following announcement: "Mr. Hugh Borde! If you and Tripoli don't get on the stage in the next fifteen minutes, yuh band disqualified!" Needless to say, Hugh and Esso Tripoli had to scurry on to the stage, so they could play in the order they picked (I think it was No. 3, and I cannot recall the year, or if Hugh told me the year). 

Both Panorama memories, show that, for the most part, the pan fraternity, is made up of some very decent people, who, whether they are aware of it, or not, influence many others, into making the right decisions Eric did not have to speak to me much in 1983, for, just by the example he set, he helped influence the decisions, both personal and professional, that I made, and continue to make. I have not seen, nor spoken to Kendall in years, and I hope if any of you have his contact information, you can either forward it to me, or send him my love and well-wishes. I stayed with Merrytones, because they are a part of my success, and as long as there is a Merrytones, I will always be a part of that Diego Martin community and family. From Bagatelle to the "fork" in Four Roads, Diego will always be my home, and, even to this day, I am still recognized and respected anywhere on the Main Rd. Shem Em Hotep.

GHOST - Who Talks The Truth. Even "Inconvenient Truths" About Himself. (Hopefully, my story can help someone struggling with addictions of ANY kind.)

Ghost, this is very moving, and I respect your courage. I know Kendall, although he was my back door neighbour on Simon St. Diego Martin and probably would not know me by name. I will pass on your regards.

Pan'tum we do know that the truth sets us all free,,Nuf Respect Brother.God Bless.

That motivation and dedication is what's missing from so many of the young ones in pan today. One can be motivated by anything; you choose the Pan and it saved your life. My story of Pan. As a young girl the only thing my sister and I had in common was a love of music, pan music. (She is now a pastor today) We would sit at home and listen to panorama, judging the bands and have a great time. I knew that I would one day play, but how? and where? My opportunity came one day when I had a chance to walk into WASA Silvertones pan yard. It was 1972 the year of St Thomas girl, I played that year, Harmonites won and I never looked back. Oh and by the way had to sleep in the gallery some nights, because no young lady was supposed to be in a pan yard. I went on to play with All Stars, Rainorama, and when I returned to South, Fonclaire. I also did a stint with Amaral's Caviliers and had the opportunity to work with Bobby Mohammed. Today my involvement in pan is on the management side and it is the hope that I can share the love of this instrument with the young people I meet today.  

Keep on going Miss.Mrs Ama Belfon,Respect. 

I'm now seeing this thread for the first time...lol...ah boy Ghost...good to know that I had a hand in humbling you...lol...(although you got my name wrong this time...I'm not wmplan) but one of my greatest memories of Panorama of which you were an integral part was in 1995 when the band was struggling due to our usual unbending nature where tolerating nonsense is concerned. While was captain of the band in 1991 I suggested we fire our then arranger (I won't mention his name). This move resulted in a mass exodus of players away from Merry Tones, but the few of us who remained loyal were unperturbed since we believed we had done the correct thing for the band at large. With about two weeks to go for the prelims in 1995, a head count revealed that we were reduced to 30-odd players, this was after placing 5th at Panorama 1991. You Ghost were one of the people who "rescued" us as it were since you were here on vacation for that Carnival. Our ranks grew to 48 and we went on to win the Small Category, playing "Hurricane", composed by Alvin Daniel and sung by Charlene Flores (the ceiling was 60 members then) for the first time....remember that?

Yow, Eric (bigmacttwi),

Sorry for the name mix-up. And, thanks for sharing this story, as I did not want it coming from me. And, of course, I remember the mass exodus from Merrytones, but I remained, because I am a "team player", and will ALWAYS be a "Diego Martin" Merrytones! ('til I die!!!) And, man, did we do de "Hurricane" justice, or what? Again, thanks for sharing, bigmactt. 

GHOST - Who Not Only Talks The "Talk", But Walks The "Walk". (It's in my DNA. Thanks mom and dad.)

1969 - Lord Kitchener - The Bull - Starlift Steel Orchestra (winner) - Ray Holman (arranger)


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