Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Trinidad and Tobago missed a golden opportunity to ‘sell’ steelband to the visiting heads of states who came for the 5th Summit of the Americas. Try to imagine the level of publicity that could have been generated if we had given a tenor pan, a stand, a case and a pair of sticks to each visiting head of state.

Look at the sudden rise in popularity of a book given by Mr. Chavez to Mr. Obama, it became an instant bestseller. All the front pages of our dailies carried a photo of the US president playing a batting stroke with his gift from Brian Lara.

These two incidents indicated to me that we are still a bit shy when it comes to our national instrument. It would have cost us a miniscule part of the summit budget to have our finest Tuners prepare thirty-three tenors for the visitors - each engraved with the head of state’s name to personalize the gift.

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  • My bredda Nestor , we doe appreciate wey we have , we doe value de tings dat we develop , we always lookin fuh acceptance outside ,from everybody else while we collectively ignore we own . First ah riting like dis cause TRINI-TALK , is ah part ah all of dis . Is de most riddumic language in de world , de most colorful too . yet we want tuh be so englisiified dat we killing we self LOUDLY..not softly anymore . Now Pan Trinbago is ah joke , ah seriously distasteful joke . Wey we PAN FACTORY ...wey we Pan Headquarters . . wey de hell are de positive , progressive tinkin people de contree produce tuh leed dis most important organization in T n T . Like Stalin say Pan gone but de Panman stay . . Yes . .Pan has moved on tuh de 25th century . . all over de world .. dey have pan factories . . an teachin Pan as part ah dey music carriculum in schools . . yes folks playing WE PAN [ sorry dey Pan - - cause dey makin them ] wid music sheets if front ah dem . . dat is de way tuh go . when will we advance tuh meet de pan . . . We still come every year tuh argue bout Panorama an who get rob ..same ting since de Gran Master of Pan Anthony Williams pulled North Stars out when he realized that Muzic an de advancement of de instrument was not de goal of Panorama . . yet today we doing de same ting an want ah different result . . no wey it could happen . . opportunities like dis will continue tuh come an go and we will continue tuh miss dem cause we still tinkin backward . way back in de sixties . . . wid ainshunt leaders and ideas . . or more appropriate . . no ideas . . . Yes brudder yuh rite . . we miss ah good opportunity . .. . but we could , an mus , fix dat , fuh all ah we future . We ancestors give we pan , tuh create an industry tuh save the nation and de world ,we still doe understan . .or we jes playing de fool , if we continue like dis ,we will loose it fuh real . [3rd World here]
  • Sadly, it looked like the "pan round d neck" was only faking.... just a 'mas.' A closeup proved that one or more were not even touching their pans with their sticks. Either that, or the few there did not know the music? In truth, what I heard was not being played. Why did we not use one of our excellent single pan bands, if setup and time was a problem?
    • Penny wise and pound foolish. The investment of instrument gifts would have paid back incredible returns and for generations to follow! The Govt of T and T does not have 100K to invest in its best builders and tuners to have done this? No excuses! Pan Trinabago absolutely should have orchestrated this and it is a huge failure that they didn't. In my opinion no one group is hurting or.has hurt Trinidad's pan growth and pan economy more than PanTrinabago except possibly the T andT govt itself. Both suffer from a true lack of leadership and intelligence, and ethics. LM, your efforts were smart and you will reap the benefit or your work. That is fine, and you are certainly entitled, however, your personal success will likely go little further- not thats its your responsibility to help a country- but you are in the position where you could- I urge you to make the most of that. As someone with involvement peripherally in steel drums, you too could have helped make the pan instrument gift happen- If in fact you even knew of it. If you didnt know, now you do. Pictures of your jewlry accessorizing a pan could could help "pan" and "you" in the future. Please remember this recommendation.
      Mr Sullivan you are right, this was an incredibly huge missed opportunity and Pan Trinabago should be held accountable and its leaders replaced.
  • ipanlabel//cecil/mugs/clarke///mistake[one]every steelpan body in the world should be call pantrinbago /like //shell//coke //esso //then./we will look serious//its like dress in shirt and pants///and dresss in suit
  • Nesta I could not agree with you more. I am a 'die hard' pan enthusiast a Trinbagonian at heart.I would have tried to get information via the net about the National Steel Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago. The results nil. I would have tried the Trinidad and Tobago Philharmonic orchstra and bang there it was; every where. Why is our governtment and the authorities that be, so afraid of being unique,purposeful and proud. This an instrument that we have created--- beats me. I think I know. Our prime minister took a beating last year re the 'G' pan, do you remember. His miststeps belie a larger problem, the lack of respect for the ordinary men and women who sacrificed reputation,fame and glory inorder to have the instrument to gain the acceptablity that it now enjoysparticularliy in Europe and the far east.Until our leadership gets it, we would continue to drawers of water and cutters of wood, but not the creative force we can be. It must be drummed home, creators, inventors and innovators are those who rule and guide our destiny. Just yesterday I listened to Steel Pan lovers of Finland play Kitcheners 'Pan in A Minor' and BP renegades version of it; almost a carbon copy arrangement: and 'Steel lovers'; what can I say, just blew the socks of my pants. Try You tube and judge for yourself. I am at persent helping the Lancaster Public Library introduce the Steel Pan to central south Pensylvania, through a series of Pan workshops this summer, this a mainly white county with a large hispanic population, form the mention of the project, the interest juts shot through the roof.
    I have aloways maintained that Trinida bets would be served internationally by serious promotion of the steel pan as a means to penetrate overseas markets, integrate cultrures and asisst us as a people to narrow international differences. Where we are not likely to dominate in Sports,Commerce,Science, Manufacturing or other areas, but we can use what we are experts a,t to influence any thing. Pride of purpose, determination of daring, needs by an unyielding part of our psyche as it relates to our national treasure The Streel Pan.
    I can be contacted at email
  • Hey sullo!
    I am in agreement with what beaver said....I am living the experience of the working fact Dennis Smith and I have over the past 12 years, been moving the pans from the Yellow Bird era to the "MUSICAL INSTRUMENT" era.
    We have stopped trying the sell the pan as a novelty,and are now Demonstrating by performance THE instrument. There are others also whom are doing the same thing... as I write this note...All over the world.
    I know that you have worked extremely hard in the promotion and stabilization of the instrument. Let's Not fight it that way anymore. NO MORE PAN GIFTS. Carlyle Houlder.
  • Greetings Mr Sullivan,

    all of your suggestions are excellent, but way too late. These things should have been put forward to the powers that be months before the Summit, not after.
  • Excellent summary of the situation, however Mr. Sullivan your vision is something that Pan Trinbago cannot execute.
  • good dear nestor these leaders came with a packed schedule for 2 days and pan miss an opp i totally dont agree the steelband have to organise their direction and leadership before they start talking about miss you realize that everybody in this country aggrieved aboutsomething how is that possible the indians(trinis)are told to boycott mac far cause they only get a small play.look man i played for the summit and the whole stage was only pan i am a pianist a passe thing in trini and i aint vex because this is pan country with a million steelband and pan man an no music so who missing opp raf not aggrieved
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