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.
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!
Yeah Salah! Well said!
Unfortunately, you can't educate people like him! He has his opinion, and that's final! He admitted he heard some "fine" musicians, in a Hotel in P-O-S, and because they weren't jumping up and down, and, they were playing a repertoire of popular music, as most musicians, ( panists or not),would be doing in a hotel lobby situation,he thinks they were terrible, and bringing Pan down!
And, PLEASE, educate Sidd! Tell him, to stop TALKING, and, start DOING! He hasn't got a clue what's going on outside of his computer room! Trini musicians are DOING, and TRYING at recordings, and have been doing for years! They will never make the charts,( not yet, anyway), but they are TRYING, and, who knows, one day, Boogsie, Tello, Robbie, you, Salah, or, even I, may come up with something!
Hi Brian, the thing is he is "educated", but by "Western" standards. He has a post-graduate degree, and his resume is very impressive. This is what I have been referring to as the DIFFERENCE between "education" and "intellect". Jacob Edgar failed to use the latter in his blog post, for certainly if he did, he would have been sensitive enough to know that his "Chinese torture" reference is offensive and insulting. PERIOD! As for SIDD, he has insulted Afro-Trinbagonians and posted the most asinine comments on WST, and many members encouraged him, feeding his bloated ego. He is yet to prove his involvement in the steelbands, and he is "DOING" EXACTLY what he came onto WST to do: promote his deeply-rooted prejudices. Remember, he is the one who claimed that people who sinned in past lives, are the ones who come back (reincarnate) as "Black slaves to serve White masters". (He got away with that, and when I returned the insults, I was the one who got chastised on this forum. I saw him for who he is from DAY ONE: An egomaniac who fools himself into believing that he is intelligent and "spiritual". He is NEITHER! He is NO more than an "old Dougla" with an evil spirit. I knew that what in the darkness would come to light, and his "true colors" are now becoming as clear to others, as they have been to me; again from DAY ONE! He thinks he is the most-intellectual person on WST, and we ALL know just how intellectually-lacking he is. The higher this monkey climbs, is truly the more he is exposing. Again, I wouldn't take anything this two-tongued snake says as being credible, and after all the racist comments he has posted, he should be the last one to advise Jacob Edgar to apologize. SIDD has NEVER apologized for his racist and racially-insensitive comments, and continues to be an agent (Judas) among us.
Ghost Who Knows There Is Nothing But Vacuum Between The Ears Of SIDD's Big Ugly Head.
Wow Ghost! Did he really say that about Slavery? He is more of an asshole than I thought!! Now I get how he chose the name Sidd, believing that "he" is the reincarnation of Siddhartha, the "Enlightened one"...The Fool is more deluded than I thought. And, in no way, can he be "intellectual"! His thought process is like a callaloo wey garn off!!
Don't let him bug you, man! Continue posting your well-considered thoughts....
HA HA HA HA, Siddhartha?? Herman Hesse will turn in he grave!! Ogado!
EXACTLY, Brian. He insults ANYONE who does not want to become one of his diciples, and it is because of his RACIST comments against people who look like me, that I chose to disrespect him and call him names. I kept it legal and within the parameters of what can be said on the internet, and his response was to threaten me with legal action. He threatens anyone with legal action who call him out. He is an illiterate, and I doudt he has anything more than a secondary school education. I can tell by his posts that he is not formally educated, and his "education" is ALL based on his religius teachings. So, yes, this sociopath DOES believe he is Siddhartha reincarnated, and bombards this WST forum with his "spiritual" mumbo-jumbo, because there are those who encourage him in his reckless behavior. It is not funny to me, and I will ensure that he continues to be exposed until the day he returns to the abyss from whence he came. This entire WST forum went up-in-arms against me for my "colorful" language in referring to this ugly-headed monster, and remained silent through ALL his insulting posts against those who look like me. More to come on who this Judas-like agent is. Stay tuned...the more they try to suppress the Ghost, the more determined I become! I feed off the ignorance of others. I am inspired by the support of those who understand my sacrifice and appreciate my courage to expose those "inconvenient truths" that people like Steve "SIDDhartha" Taylor, Claude Gonzales and others of that degenerate sub-species of human, prefer were kept latent. Thanks again, Brian. We, the Pan People will WIN this battle against GOOD over EVIL! (And, like Satan the Devil, SIDD will try to make us believe he represent "God". We are smarter than he thinks, and he still does not realize that we are on to him and his socio-pathology.)
I am really surprised he made that "pseudo-spiritual", insulting, illiterate comment about slavery, and nobody called him out about it!. He is one of them "Feel he was chosen" by God assholes,( what a Effing insult to all who believe!)!
I realize the guy is a moron and will not take him seriously.... Don't let a clueless idiot bring you down, bro'
I don't know who listens to him? He is an obvious poom-poom! :-)
Mr. Edgar's review says more about his lack of ability in his supposed area of expertise - being an ethnomusicologist - then it does about pan. You cannot take him seriously in reviewing a whole genre of music by hearing one lounge act and a guy playing along with a drum machine. Ethnomusicology is the STUDY of different cultural music forms: not the casual listening to a couple of samples. By the same logic if all he heard was a heavy metal rock band and a street singer with an out of tune guitar, he could write an article about how bad all guitar music is. I, for one, do not take his article seriously and would write him off as a very poor academic.
Eric, I have to agree with you. If that was a college paper assignment, his professors would have failed him for not having a reliable enough sample size for his work to be considered as "scholarly". And, to think that as a post-doctorate "scholar", he should have considered this prior to making his assumptions, which exposed his "study" to the sampling errors one tries to avoid in academia. I guess it was the "layman" and not the "scholar" in him that influenced the outcome and wrong assumptions. He needs to take a page out of Jane Goodall's book, and understand the importance of immersing oneself among those he wishes to observe. She did not just run in and run out; she LIVED among the chimpanzees that were the subjects of her study. That is the empirical approach, and it was not used in this case, hence the false readings. Thanks for the comment, bro; GREAT analogies! Ghost.
Are you serious? Your response makes your article even more absurd, obscene and down right dangerous. You are beyond unqualified to speak about anything to do with steelpan - but then you already knew that - yet you continued to write this garbage and publish it, simply because you can. Have you ever seen a panorama in New York, the UK, Canada, Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada or pan in Japan, France or Australia?
You of course knew your article was insulting, Why else would you put inaccuracies and straight up lies in your article. Was this suppose to be your first 'novel' (sarcasm) based on your biases and your idiot sensibilities? Who exactly were you writing this nonsense to?
What this does do luckily is shine some serious light on what we can expect from those people as well who you call friends in Trinidad. You are who you are but these friends of yours in Trinidad should be watched with much suspicion.
To: Jacob Edgar
Dear Mr. Edgar,
Firstly, I would like to personally thank you for coming onto WST to respond to the fallout from your blog. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I want to believe that your "intentions" were good. But "good" for who? Yourself? Our culture? By your own admission, your intent was to "get interest in the blog post". Are you suggesting that the "ends" justifies the "means"? Your blog was very insensitive, and I hope you value being famous over being infamous, for your disrespectful reference to preferring "Chinese torture" will result in the latter, and not the former. Finally, I would like to know if you are familiar with the works of Time Wise, and do you think that your "vantage point" of "White privilege" has anything to do with your choice of physical torture over hearing a steelband making "noise"? I hope you do not see me as racist, for I am not. (Tim Wise is "White American", by the way; is he racist against himself, in pointing out this white pathology?) In any case, why associate torture with the old Chinese method? I am sure the American "water-boarding" at Guantanamo and other parts of the World are just as atrocious. Again, I understand your premise, and hopefully, one day, you will also become aware of your own prejudices, so that when speaking of the cultural expressions of others, you will not make such ill-advised comments in your attempt to "discover" the World. (Leave that for Christopher Columbus and other "discoverers".) As Stevie Wonder said, "when you believe in things that you don't understand, then you suffer". I am sure Jane Goodall would have never understood chimpanzees, had she not immersed herself in their environment; essentially, becoming one of them. From an academic standpoint your "discoveries" are neither reliable nor valid, for your "sample size" exposes your observational study to sampling errors. I say, go and live among the "natives" for at least two years before jumping to unreliable conclusions. And, please go to the PRIMARY SOURCES, as is the "academic" standard. Your "friends" are not such sources, and maybe if you like, I can point you in the right direction to give your study on our culture the credibility it needs and deserves. I think that your idea of capturing "World music" is a great and honorable one, however, you must be wary of your own biased "Worldview", when observing and recording the rituals and practices of others. I will accept your apology as genuine, when I see the disclaimer apologizing to the people of Trinidad and Tobago for posting such insensitive and uninformed comments.
George D. Goddard, B.A. (Cum Laude). On When Steel Talks as Pan'tum - The Ghost Who Talks.
I believe Salah Wilson said it most eloquently and I echo his comments. As a music critic, or just someone who is in the habit of criticizing, there is a fine line that should never be crossed. You definitely crossed it. Anybody can take criticism if it is aimed at improving a product or the person (i.e.: a professor at a college with a classroom of students or a coach instructing an athlete). However, you decided, I'm guessing mostly for sensationalism and to create an audience for your blog, to insult a proud people (Trinbagonians--- that is people from Trinidad and Tobago) in your disguise to lambast a musical genre. Jacob Edgar, or J. Edgar, you remind me of another infamous American with similar first two names who had nothing but hate in his heart toward countless people, organizations and individuals including the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King. I totally agree with Mr. Wilson when he says that after inviting someone to your home the first time and they insult you, why would anybody be so stupid as to invite you again? You're an opportunist at best and at worst, a downright racist. Since you brought up race in your so-called clarification, let me end by saying this: "I'd rather read the published words of Adolph Hitler than anything on your blog. I know what to expect from the former (a self-declared white supremacist) and it won't be disguised or disingenious like your critique! The only thing worse than the Chinese torture that you compared the steel pan would be to ever read your blog.
Jacob I respect your right to say what you want and if needs be I will defend that right. However I have been a member of Renegades since the 1980s and I have never witnessed anything in the order of what you said a Renegades rehearsal is like. I believe that you owe Renegades a public apology for what you said considering that your article has gone viral and has the potential to damage the international reputation of this much travelled band. For you to say that it was your overreactive imagination is not good enough. Freedom of speech comes with a REQUIREMENT TO BE RESPONSIBLE.
President Renegades Steel Orchestra
Well said, Mr. Marcano but I think you already know this article will have a negative impact on the reputation of Renegades as it will be the first encounter with Renegades for thousands and thousands of people who read Edgar's article. You know what they say about first impressions. Plus this article will be up on the internet for ever and accessible every time someone Google's Renegades. Edgar needs to publish a retraction.
By the way, why did you wait so long to respond?