Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
I stand to be corrected on this, but I see very little MENTION of Ellie Mannette's death down in THE MECCA OF PAN. At the very least PAN TRINBAGO could have written up a nice obituary. I mean in today's world a 12-year-old child could go on the INTERNET and cut and paste a nice little tribute on this MUSICAL GENIUS.
On the other hand, I know how painful it is for the LOCALS to recognize the contributions of EXPATS when it come to THE PAN TING. Or in GENERAL, for that matter.
Well, I think that they should set up a ELLIE MANNETTE STEELPAN INSTITUTE and bring down a MANNETTE INSTRUMENTS crew from WEST VIRGINIA to duplicate their RESEARCH and PRODUCTION and EDUCATION and SALES. This should have been done while Ellie Mannette was alive, but anybody who ever read THE MERVYN DYMALLY STORY knows the roadblocks THE LOCALS place in their minds on WORKING WITH EXPATS.
Ah really thought that I would have read a statement from ROWLEY or THE MINISTER OF CULTURE expressing some sympathy and praise for his achievements. If these TAPES or REPORTS exists -- somebody should put them up on this PAN FORUM.
Claude: You've answered your own discussion. Ellie was an expat, never mind the fact that he promoted the culture outside of Trinidad. If the locals are treated with disrespect, expats don't stand a chance!
You are so damn right Ingrid. Call it GIMME GIMME focus.
Ellie Mannette Journey to Roots
October 29, 2000
By Terry Joseph
OVERWHELMED by the reception from the very people he once felt had rebuked him, tears flowed from visiting pan pioneer and innovator Ellie Mannette as he journeyed back to his roots this past week.
Mannette’s visit, the first since he emigrated some 33 years ago to the US, healed decades of disenchantment with his birthplace, occasioned largely by the disdain in which authorities held the instrument up to that time. The final nail was driven by a 1967 newspaper-article severely critical of his decision to leave.
During the long interim, it had generally been believed that Mannette suffered from nothing more significant than fear of flying. “It was not that at all,” he told the Sunday Express. “There was a view that I was selling my birthright, by going to another place to teach pan. The article even said that I was selling it for 30 pieces of silver, putting me in the class of Judas Iscariot.
“I wanted to spread the pan. I wanted to get pan into the schools and the authorities here were not about to allow that,” he said. “The opportunities were not like they are now and I went to the US when I had the chance and as the records will show, I was afforded the opportunity to do what I wanted to do for pan all the while.
“But all is forgiven,” Mannette said. “I have washed that from my mind and we are all operating with a clean slate. There was also the physical kind of violence of the old days that helped me make up my mind to leave. In fact, the experiment with the 55-gallon drum was the result of aggression.”
It was, in fact, the search for an alternative to the smaller 35-gallon variety, after an instrument he cherished was hijacked by a rival group and taken to the dreaded East Dry River area, with descriptions of the fate likely to befall him, if he attempted to reclaim it.
“It was that kind of senseless and reckless violence that gave pan the serious stigma that is apparently still keeping away people who are in a position to help the instrument,” Mannette said. “What I would like to ask today, though, is that the people of Trinidad and Tobago stop punishing the young boys of today for what we did in our youth.
“We were the ones who were reckless. The young people who are playing pan today are serious about the music and about the instrument. They are not into fighting for fighting sake and the instrument should not be made to continue paying for our mistakes. It is now an instrument of integrity and stands up in the world. It is for Trinidad and Tobago to realise that at all levels and begin to do the things to make it go further forward.”
It was a philosophy he frequently repeated at all speaking opportunites during what has been an emotionally charged and physically demanding visit for the 74-year-old Mannette. The whirlwind week included meetings with pan researchers, Government officials, talk-show appearances and two nostalgic trips to the yard of the steelband he helped found in 1940, now known as the BWIA Invaders Steel Orchestra.
He was yesterday due to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine Campus.
His arrival October 20, was treated as a state function.The following Sunday, he was feted at the home of Dr Clemont Imbert, university lecturer in engineering and long-standing pan researcher, who has worked with him on several projects.
Mannette met with government officials up to Friday evening at the Ambassador Hotel, thrashing out details of an exchange programme. “Actually, I met with the Culture Ministry three times during the week and I must say that the people there are now prepared to look at pan very differently. The Minister is ready to go with a number of things that can help the steelband movement.
“The meetings with the university have been very fruitful as well. We laid the groundwork for a continuing collaborative exchange. People from WVU and UWI drew up an outline of some of the things we want to do. From this point on, we will take it back and forth and it will begin to grow. We are quite certain that the enthusiasm we felt there would make it happen in the shortest possible time,” he said.
“All in all, my time here has been spent in a very productive way and with the kind of reception that our discussions enjoyed, I can tell you that I will be back soon and indeed very often,” he said.
Here's what I can recall about the trip, the late Kaethe George Ellie’s business manager shared with me the behind the scenes challenges they faced making the trip, meeting their request for the number of personnel from UVA to receive plane tickets and accommodations and the opportunity to share their knowledge base via personnel exchanges with UWI.
The invitation came from the Panday’s administration, in retrospect speaks volumes.
Making Pan in the Mecca great again….
Claude. LIke I have always said repeatedly here and other pan forums. TRINIDAD IS THE WORST PLACE FOR PAN, PAN PLAYERS, AND ANY THING RELATED TO PAN. We see this constantly before our eyes. I have always said Ellie Mannette had it right about Trinidad from his early days. His light complexion and semi straight hair added insult to injury. Others in the pan fraternity at the time and some of them are still around or have gotten this attitude from their elders. They were highly jealous of his enthusiasm, determination, will and venture to see the pan instrument evolved in a great musical instrument and spread throughout the world. Ellie by no means was the only one that did this. But Ellie did it the longest. That can no longer be disputed. It means therefore someone great was behind him. That someone was the Supreme Himself. Here is my prediction. With Ellie's departure, the pan instrument will now be accepted as a main stream musical instrument, both in its acoustic for and now electronic digital sound. I would venture to say he was most likely pan's greatest developer. His title bestowed upon him "The Father of the modern pan" would remain in history. No one else came close to what he did for pan right up to his death. Even his method of tuning was very gentle.Two strokes at a time, test for sound and two again like that. His pans are all very mellow and sweet sounding. The "Mannette Instruments" will go on.
Port of Spain, Trinidad: Thursday, August 30, 2018: The National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago (NCC) joins with the nation in remembering the life of Elliot “Ellie” Mannette - celebrated steel pan pioneer and stalwart- who died on August 29, 2018 at the age of 91.
Widely credited as one of the nation’s greatest steel pan musicians and cultural ambassadors, Mannette has received several national and international awards for his outstanding work in the field.
A Hummingbird Medal (Silver) and Chaconia Medal (Silver) recipient, he has also been at the forefront of the steel band movement in the United States for decades and received the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) National Heritage Fellowship Award in 1999, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine in 2000. In 2003, Mannette was admitted to the Hall of Fame of the Percussive Arts Society of the United States.
The NCC joins with the nation in remembering Ellie Mannette, who championed the cause of our steel pan locally and across the world, and extends its deepest condolences to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.
They don't give a damn about ex pats, be it Ellie, you or me. They dont need your ideas, suggestions or criticism, constructive or otherwise.
According to one writer, he doesn't think they are corrupt, backward or stupid, maybe not, but I think they are something.
I was at Invaders pan yard for Independence, didn't hear anything about Ellie, maybe I missed it.
Expats wanted.....for carnival only.
Just to set the record straight.
You came late.There was a minute of silence at the beginning of festivities and there will be a remembrance get together on Thursday evening.
Quote: "maybe I missed it"
EXPATS WANTED for CARNIVAL ONLY ... Ain't that the TRUTH!!!