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Afropan country’s top steelband; disappointed, that there’s no prize money

Afropan returns as country’s top steelband
Leader disappointed, however, that there’s no prize money

 

Ontario, Canada - ....While elated with regaining the title, LaPierre is disappointed that prize money was not at stake in the competition.


“When you consider the amount of work we and the other bands put in for the competition and then to be rewarded with a small trophy is just not right,” said LaPierre, who was honoured last year for his contributions to the Toronto Carnival. “That would not happen in any other part of the world. It’s good to be congratulated for your success, but it’s hard to celebrate when we do not have any money to do that. I am so dejected. The organizers know that people like playing pan in this city and they figure they can do anything to them and exploit us. That has got to stop.”

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Is there a war on pan? A certain trend seems to be growing in the Pan fraternity which dont auger will for the future of pan. It all started when Minister of Culture Winston 'aka' Gypsy Peters from the 'land of pan,' decided to cut the stipend that is awarded the steelbands men at 'Panorama'. There is also the absence of any prize money for the Panorama and panmen in Canada and lastly the banning of Steelbands on the road for  this year's West Indian Celebration in Leeds England. What is really going on? Is there  a simulated plan to to retard pan's progress?  I hope not, or is this just a phase that the steelbands are going through? In either case,  I hope we could fight our way out of this, and make up for the grouds we lost in our strides for pan, and its music being accepted Internationally. We must be strong in our support and actions, that pan and its music would become a respected art form. There is still much work to be done.
My Brother back in the "Badjohn" days steelband used to play for a bottle ah rum and 2 pack ah cigarette, now we have university people playing for free, can you see why steelband in being kicked around like a football?

Earl is quite right. However there is some appearance money for the bands on that night. When we have lost our hold on our culture, in a foreign land, we are like the children of Israel, how can we sing? The festival is large that there should be prize money in addition to the appearance fees. Let us work hard on regaining the festival , remember that Mas, Kaiso and Pan are contributing art forms to the festival and let us add the theatre/comedy/dance - place good people to run it and we will no longer cry!!!

 

Thanks Marvin for clarifying some of the mis-conceptions. I believe as a Canadian pannist it's quite important that the international pan community better understand our situation. To add to your input, it wasn't that long ago when the event was produced by Pan Tribago C'ada, spear headed by Cecil "Muggs Clarke". At that time, bands were provided with an appearance fee, as well as prize monies for bands placing 1st, 2nd & 3rd in the calypso as well as in the bomb competitions. I will agree that the monies weren't big as compare to other parts of the world; however this was a start. An important thing to remember then that 3 of the largest bands in Toronto chose not to participate at that time which possibly contributed to stunting the growth of the production as well as the demise of the culture as a whole. I mention this only because I believe quite often we in the pan community are the catalyst for how we are treated today by the power brokers. As Dr. Phil would say, 'we teach other how to treat us.". I would only hope that we as Canadians can put forth an united front in combating the "powers that be" in the present and future to better promote and advance the pan culture and other art forms in our community.
This is shameful.
Only when we take back control of the economics will we see the sociocultural and geopolitical progress in a way to benefit the community including pan.  The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be...
We had it before and what we did with it? The City of Toronto is not going to sit down and let  West Indian people stop the biggest money making machine in Canada.
These are some of the reason that I have been protesting the treatment of Steelpan in Canada. I have been talking about these issues to the Pan Community for YEARS.... seems as people are now Feeling ,Hearing and Seeing the reason why Pan's Alive but need immedate Attention. We CAN make it better if we work together. Dose OSA have a plan for next year or its the same old, same old. PAN ALIVE at Lamport Stadium..the winner get BRAGGING Rights and a miniture trophy, while the real one sits in one of  the Exec living room....We need Change NOW!

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