Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
Ohio, USA - From the outside, Panyard Inc. looks like a bland building in the middle of an Akron working class neighborhood on California Avenue.
But if you step inside, close your eyes and listen, you can easily imagine sitting on a Caribbean beach with a mai tai at your side.
Panyard is recognized as the world leader in manufacturing steel drums. The company, now in its 21styear, carefully crafts instruments that make that "put a smile on your face" reggae sound.
....Panyard is just starting to turn a nice profit. A big reason for that: kids and schools clamoring for a beginner steel drum called The Jumbie Jam.
"The Jumbies, we're putting out close to 3,000 or 4,000 a year, and that's growing rapidly," Kerns said.
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Once a thief, always a thief. As I said, there is so much more. Ron Kerns and his company Panyard is profitting through major theft. Trinidadians have been a very informal 'lot' when it comes to patenting their steelband stuff, including even pan stands, and other innovations and designs. They seldom do. They use their designs and creations openly year after year with almost no formal patents. And other parties delight in practicing in unauthorized "borrowing" for profit.
And Ron kerns with his company Panyard is a very MAJOR THIEF of several Trinidadian steelpan innovations. I have not seen him personally driving any Ferraris, or such cars as Andre-Roger Dellevi has posted, but if he is it would be no surprise, because of his company's ongoing practice of grand larceny of ideas.
Take this particular instance. A friend of mine is close to Utopia steelband in New york, and one of the group's founders created/came up with a marvellous physical layout for the six bass. I understand that Utopia never patented it, no suprise there. And several years ago, Ron Kerns took that exact physical layout claiming it is his, and selling it in Panyard. 'Nuff said for this particular story. More to come.
Why did Roland leave? He refuses to talk about Pan Yard.
they took advantage of him...Roland told me himself. When Ron Kearns and, I'm assuming, Shelly Irvine went to Trinidad to get their show on the road, a tuner took advantage of them and left them with no pans. Roland felt sorry for them and helped them out out of the goodness of his heart. He made pans for them and as things were getting good, they brought him and his people to Akron to mass produce. From there Roland said that they took advantage of his crew & him (I don't know in what way) but he ended up walking away from the venture. Roland wouldn't walk away unless things were bad. He went into this venture with a good heart and for what he thought would be a way for pan to rise. He got burned. If everything went as it was intended, everyone would be showering him with praise. But Panyard doesn't care about anybody. You notice that they have a high turnover rate? They never have the same tuners/"crafters" for more than 2 years. Visit their website and you will see. How many of the original staff do they have? Ron Kearns alone. Most companies will keep employees for a long time if they are good to them. Roland is in no way a sell out. His love for Pan is always at the forefront. Those who call him a "sell out" or a "traitor" obviously never met the man and talked with him. I have the utmost respect for him and I always refer him to other bands here in Western Canada. His service is courteous, professional and tuning is always on point.
Come on Trinidesi. How was Roland working with Panyard going to benefit anyone but Roland? Why didn't Roland start his own Panyard in Trinidad?
Panyard is no different than any other colonial company. They are all based on exploitation and many times straight up evil.
The problem is Trinidadians are always looking for some outside validation or deliverance.
Roland was your classic Pocahontas.
Panyard was not all that when it started or at the point when Roland was involved. Moreover, Roland knew exactly what he was doing. He deliberately went against the culture of the day as it relates to Trinidad tuners behavior. As with most Trinidadians he was not promised anything. He was looking for deliverance and outside validation.
Roland is as guilty as sin. Panyard did not offer him anything he wasn't already doing or could do for himself.
Pan Trinbago and Roland are the same people. There is no differentiation between the two.
Glenroy - WST actually did a story on one of these Nigerian students who now has a successful pan factory in Nigeria. WST has a few stories on Nigeria and pan.