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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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That reputation can be damaged.  Much more negative things can grow from Jacob's seed if allowed to germinate.


I hear yuh my Brother.

Jacob I read the entire article? However, you never address your first paragraph which I felt was the biggest insult. (With a belly full of local rum) what the heck was that. To me that was implying or saying they are all drunks on a hot summer night....I have done my best to stay away from topics where ignorance is in play, but this I had to respond to. I think if you know better then you do better. Sometimes if you know not, then you say nothing. Or in your case print nothing. All the praise you tried in the latter part of your article did nothing to negate the top part of it. You may be a good producer, good musician, good promoter and someone with music skills but your judgement or lack there of need a review. I learned something years ago, and that is. If you have a degree in music or any other field for that matter. It does not automatically make you someone with common sense. Remember all it does is give you the key to a paycheck and if you not careful ( like you seem to be ) a false sense of being good at other things..Stick to what you know. Take this as a learning process and please learn from it. In the future always remember you are writing for people who are smarter than you may give them credit for. Your article was or is insulting and ignorant and when you made valid points it sound like you was the drunk one. Take this as a lesson learned and positive criticism. Next time do your homework. Peace and pan bro.

Theo, that is EXACTLY the stereotypical and prejudicial claims that exposes his pathology of "White Privilege". As I always say: Send a donkey to college, and you would not get a horse. Just an "educated" Jackass. 

Ghost Who Knows Their Are Two Kinds of Jackasses: (The educated like Edgar, and the illiterate like SIDD. All both can do is bray.)

I read your article in it's entirety before I posted the first reply in our blog.  "Chinese water torture"?  It sounds like, since you can denigrate a Trinbagonian institution such as Renegades as performers of pan music, as well as the small ensembles and soloists, there is no aspect that you appear to appreciate about pan music.  I'm not sure where your resentment came from.  I'm from Canada, and I don't have a big band to play with,  Seems like you would want to refuse me the right to play music that my audiences here enjoy.  My coworker had his sleep pattern disrupted when working on a project in Trinidad.  I understand his repulsion with pan.  I don't understand yours.  It seems petty, and that you felt like an outsider on the scene.  Maybe you had a negative attitude about it going in to your trip.  Your article was inflammatory.  I was offended.

Forget Chinese torture; have him read ALL of SIDD's knuckle-headed posts on WST. That should be punishment enough. lol

Ghost Who Knows What "Torture" Is. It's Having To Read The Lengthy Sermons By Steve "SIDD" Taylor. (Talking a lot, and saying NOTHING!)

While Salmon E-Con Man, the Stupid Cupid claims that he cares about the steel drum/pan, observe his absence in any discussions that are not E-Con Pan marketing-related. Also note that whenever I add a discussion, he follows immediately behind with a discussion of his own; again ALL E-Con Pan marketing-related. Go over ALL his posts on WST, and a much clearer picture can be seen. PLEASE, DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT! (Do the research.)

Ghost Who Knows The E-Con Man and His E-Con Pan Are Nothing More Than Cons. Cupid Is As Stupid Does!!! He Is ALL About E-Conomics For Himself, And Does Not Give A Rat's Ass About Anybody Other Than Himself! PERIOD!!!

Participants of this forum especially to the gentleman referred to as Sidd, I would like to bring to your attention the great harm this post from Jacob Edgar has done to the Pan Movement and T&T culture in general. There have been a couple of remarks indicating that people are entitled to their own opinion.

This blog post does not merely represent an opinion.  ‘Hot and sweaty, Chinese torture, belly full of rum, fights break out, metallic cacophony’ (notwithstanding the explanation) – come on – let’s not be naïve. This cheesy, malicious and devious blog post written with disdain was obviously as an assault on the steelpan. For what reason, I’m not sure.  

And Members of this forum MUST understand the harm this seemingly innocent post can cause and at the same time not just sit by or fail to react to such viciousness. While we discuss intelligently (sometimes heatedly) among family, countrymen and friends, this blog post (by Edgar the horrible) can be read by thousands or potentially hundreds of thousands of individuals throughout the world. It all started with a topic sentence that set the stage for a dreadful battering on the pan movement. Again, we MUST FULLY UNDERSTAND why this article is detrimental in many aspects and why acts of these type must be stopped or neutralized. Yes, some harm has already been done but further harm can be defused with the use of social media sites and SEO techniques just to mention a few strategies.

First of all, Pan is an integral part of Trinidad and Tobago’s culture and any attack on it should be viewed as an attack on all its citizens and friends: it’s an attack on the GDP of the nation involving sectors like tourism, trade and commerce. I particularly referred to Sidd since he has made some invaluable contributions to this forum and continue to do so but in my opinion did not seem to grasp the harm created by this post.  Whether this kind of bashing is done by locals or ‘whites’ abroad, it’s still a classic case of Negative Marketing and Disinformation in the making. Don’t be caught up and confused with innuendos, truths, half-truths and lies. It seeks to do the opposite of what we are doing here at WST and should NOT be taken lightly – especially if we wholly comprehend the issue at hand.

We must always recognize and defend our own, notwithstanding imperfections. There is undeniably an ongoing forming of the steelpan with inherent hitches and obstacles - but why bash and ridicule it in that manner? What is your aim...?

 Well ah go tell yuh dis, is we ting and we go defend it. This is not just the expressive outburst of the weak. There are many ways to carry this out and as I have hinted before I know of some of them.


 It is a known fact that countries steal other nation’s culture and adopt it as their own. This is being done with Reggaeton or what I sometimes call Socaton - Raggaton in Latin America. The next post will be about this topic since this is getting a little too long.

Musician, Trini and marketer from Venezuela.

Edito: I am looking forward to your discussion on "Socaton-Raggaton" -- I love me some Reggaeton. Put it under a new topic, but I don't know if it fits in under the BUSINESS OF STEELPAN label.

Sidd - concerning the Edgar Post

I wasn't expecting or wanting an apology of any sorts, but rather a sensible reaction to a malicious blog post. I am pleased and happy to see that you have now reacted sensibly. You have used your influence and position in Trinidad's society to this end. Within the context of you understanding an area that is of vital importance to all of humanity, i.e., the laws of the universe, I can only say that this is an act of God.

On the other hand, I express my gratitude for information and insights you provided into the development of the Pan sound - acoustic vs. electronic.

Sidd , With all that said , I still don't understand what you are trying to say . How about you other members ? Please enlighten me if you can . Blessings , Winston .

Sidd, I got to admit that I agree with Winston.

No offence meant but  you use so many words to express your points, that sometimes I get lost.

You toss out a lot of thoughts (in waves) and maybe your thinking is too high for some of us simpler ones.

If you notice, I try to be as brief, simple and clear as possible when I try to make a point.



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