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Revisited -- Getting Panned in Trinidad -- (insult or not?) - The Jacob Edgar Saga

The following are excerpts from an extensive blog by Jacob Edgar on Pan in Trinidad & Tobago.  Depending on the perspective, even beginning with the very title “Panned in Trinidad” can be cause for pause – after all, ‘panned’ itself is a word which is oftentimes associated with unflattering critique.  Jacob Edgar’s blog paints a far less than positive picture of the steelpan instrument, the culture of pan and steelpan musicians of Trinidad & Tobago themselves, from our perspective.  While Jacob Edgar is entitled to his opinion, it is troubling that he promotes himself as the eyes and ears for countless others – see his self-description in part:  “….I travel the globe in search of the best music the world has to offer...and I suffer through some of the worst - so you don't have to!”  Jacob Edgar’s content and opinions are world-read and accessed not only via his blog, but as host of his own music and travel series Music Voyager - http://www.musicvoyager.com/   


Maybe Jacob Edgar is not qualified for the task he has undertaken – at the very least when it comes to the steelpan art form. Maybe someone from Trinidad & Tobago who is qualified (other than his ‘old friend’) –- ought to have educated Jacob Edgar on the eclectic capabilities and showcases of steelpan in Trinidad & Tobago year-round – outside of “Panorama” - and while they were at it, have a chat with him of his stereotypical view of a ‘Panyard’ re: “Much beer is imbibed, fights break out….”    Sadly, Jacob Edgar reminds us of some of the old National Geographic reporters who made us cringe.






Jacob Edgar - Ethnomusicologist, music producer, writer and researcher with an insatiable curiosity for the diverse ways in which people express themselves through music.Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Given the choice between Chinese water torture and being forced to listen to a recording of steel drums I might lean towards the former. The steel drum, or steel pan or just “pan” as most Trinidadians call it, is one of the instruments that just doesn’t translate very well to recordings and it is best appreciated it in its natural setting: performed by an orchestra of hundreds on a hot, sweaty night in Trinidad, ideally during the annual Panorama competition and with a belly full of local rum.

....I was a guest at a film shoot for a new movie docu-drama that tells the story of the development of the steel drum, from its humble beginnings in the poor neighborhoods of Port of Spain to the awesome Panorama competitions that attract an audience of thousands from all over the world. The film is to be called Pan! A Modern Odyssey and its producer is Jean Michel Gibert, an old friend who has been at the  forefront of the Trinidadian music industry for years.

....I also walked by the steel yard of the Renegades, an orchestra that competes every year in the Panorama competition. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it back to the yard later that night to attend their evening rehearsal, which I’ve heard is more of a social club. Much beer is imbibed, fights break out, and occasionally, the groups strikes up the metallic cacophony that is a true steel drum orchestra. Sounds just like my kind of scene!
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Agreed MM...  The way for Renegades to defeat this ridicule is to blow them with the sound of steel.  Duvone, hope you listening...  Burn Dem!!!

I am thinking the same thing Pan woman, Why he stayed so long to respond? Unless he had to discuss it with the Band Committee first,

Hello Michael

I am very pleased to see that bp Renegades did not treat this affair as something that will simply blow over and can be ignored. In the age of social media and the immediacy of now - where everyone and everything is connected, Mr. Edgar's false statements have already caused and will continue to cause irreparable damage to the image and future fortunes of bp Renegades.  Organizations such as yours will have to display a new level of pride, maturity, diligence, and sophistication in dealing with professional trouble-makers like Jacob Edgar.

Please do not rest until you have received that public apology. 

You might considered asking National Geographic to pull the plug on Jacob Edgar since he is on their boat and they are a major sponsor of his work.

It is time for the president of National Geographic to visit bp Renegades panyard and to personally apologize. And while he is at it they should committee to making Renegades panyard part of their so call authentic expedition tours for the next 50 years.


Well said Bugs, and trust me we are not going to let it rest.


You have hit on some positive pro-active points there......

demanding a full public apology.. (not a shallow one as what was offered)

but more importantly getting to his sponsors ...now that is indeed hitting a nerve where it will hurt and make a difference ...it will also serve notice for other would-be Jacobs and set a different agenda in this open book media. .......I would hope that Michael and BP Renefgades et al would have the verve of Panmen to see it through ......Do it Michael ..just do it  .... this is an education


After reading all that junk Jacob , I still go back to my first comment you should have been the leading star in the movie CLUELESS . You would have gotten an Oscar for best original performance . Please spare us from any more of this torture trying to justify the article you wrote . Tell me is this a publicity stunt or what ? I never heard of you before so if it is it worked because I now know there is someone by the.name of Jacob Edgar who doesn't know anything about pan . Blessings Winston .

People, Jacob was man enough to own up to what was written, that should account for something, I think he was trying to apologize, lets move on.

Cecil: On this forum if you say anything bad about the pan dey ready to send you to MANCHURIA for some Chinese Water Torture!!!

Cecil Hinkson,

Really? Move on to where? Is he going to take down the article? Is he going to tell his sponsors like National Geographic "I am unqualified to do this job?"

If he was a dentist would you let him operate in your mouth or your children's mouth? When he writes his book - and he will - in whose school do you want that book to be the text?  If he is this shitty on pan what else has he no respect for? Again, I ask: move on? why?

You don't simply get to apologize and retire with what he did and continue along your merry way with no consequences. Whole cultures and people have been wiped out in the most brutal of ways and justified simply by the blasé attitude and means Mr. Jacobs used.

Mr. Jacobs identified "Chinese water torture" in his article with the sound of being 'forced' to listen to steelpan recordings.  Perhaps he should really have a taste of the Chinese stuff if this is the type of "journalism" he dishes up internationally, and find another profession.


CLUELESS!!! Ghost.

Hey Claude and Cecil , what are you guys saying ? It's ok to insult people , put it in writing and then make what you both call an apology .With all due respect to the both of you this is absurd . What we need is a retraction to the entire article stating his views was incorrect and he is puiling the article . That would be accepted by most of us I would think. Blessings Winston


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