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Has Panorama music lost it's ability to make people dance and be happy?

Has Panorama music lost it's ability to make people dance and be happy?

WST member BigMac recently posted:

Panorama I have said before somewhere at this forum has lost it’s musicality. Back in the Genesis of Panorama, (in Trinidad that is) the finals were held on Carnival Sunday night and suppose because of that tunes Panorama tunes had a natural “jump”. Steelbands were going into Jouvert morning after the finals, so you had to be able to jump up to a Panorama tune. Most of you reading this may not even know that once upon a time, at Prelims, bands played chipping off-stage after being judged. Those were the halcyon days before the D.J. took over the show. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when from about the mid-80’s the finals moved to Carnival Saturday. With that the jump-up-and-get on bad in Panorama ceased and has since been replaced by a decent sit-down-and-applaud show. The only jumping now takes place in the North Stand, where the patrons don’t even listen to Pan anymore. To make matters worse sadly, arrangers, probably because they are so much more musically educated than their peers thirty-odd years ago tend to want to play everything they know in one piece ,,, don’t leave back anything for next year’s Panorama. Add to that the influences of the revered Brados, Boogsie and Holman and now the bacchanal start. Is music in yuh rookoongkutuntung, whether you like it or not. click for full post

What do you think?

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Mr. PHI, they sound good, but they don't sound better than a normal band. This not a panorama orchestra. In fact I'm getting less.  The PHI is simply a MIDI controller for pan players.  As a producer who has been in the business for very long time, I'm not sure why I would want a pan player on a MIDI trigger instead of an accomplished keyboard player.  Unless, the pan players name is Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe it doesn't work for me.  Don't get me wrong, I think the PHI is necessary to expand the usefulness of a few select extremely talented pan players.  And I am for anything that will hire pan players.  However if all were doing is triggering MIDI sound modules, I'll take the keyboard player. It's ten fingers verus two hands.



Panorama music was never intended to be dance music. Panorama is a competition created for the listening pleasure of the fans and to be judged for its musical content be it tone, melodic lines and rythmn. We dance to its rythmic beat because of the the carnival atmosphere that is present. In the old days when steelbands performed at dances, most of the tunes that were played at carnival time were mainly just an introduction, verse and chorus, and maybe a back ground solo or change key. The Panorama tunes in those days were for six [6] minutes which was later changed to ten [10] minutes until its present format of eight [8] minutes. Panorama music will always be for the ear not for the feet. 'Who want to dance could dance.'

Hello, I respectfully have to disagree. Panorama was initiated to help reduce the incidence of violence between steelbands in the early 60s. In its first years, it was actually called the 'Best Road March Steelband Competition' and not Panorama*. This title clearly demonstrates the relationship between pan and the road. Pan was, is, and always will be primarily a dance instrument. The development of 'sit down' panorama music evolved, but does not convey the true essence of pan. Just my humble opinion.


*Source - History of Steelband Panorama of Trinidad & Tobago 1963-1990 by Gideon Maxime (deceased)

This has been happening a long time. The boundary between Calpyso and Classical has been blurred. Melodies lost in over- arrangement. Simplicity and sweet pan has taken a back seat. ' We doh know de tune anymore'. We are caught up in classical criteria. If like me, you come to trinidad 1 week before carnival, it becomes very hard work to understand whats going on. How many people know when a motif is used? Is that important? I don't think so. Sweet pan and sweet music to the ordinary ear is what counts.

The problem is the composers and the producers not taking their time and revisit a melody before they produce it

i heard crazy and defosto songs on this network today and it seems as though they get lazy,so its nothing much an arranger can do with a melody that is predictive before they sing a line you know it.now as long as there is rhythm one should be able to dance and the the melody should direct you to listen and enjoy,don't blame arrangers, composera and producers do your work go get some books and learn to play an instrument stop dinging the same melodies over and over or when they come by me i will show  them where they are doing wrong

I disagree with Mr. Goddard - he is missing the point. It is the arrangers who has the concept and choice of pan music and therefore responsible and accountable for panorama being in this vulnerable state. There is a narcissistic and selfish behaviour towards the pan, where the arranger becomes god-like, at the expense of any other variables, for example, arrangement, arrangement, and over- arrangement before melody. This leads to confusion. We are not interested in how much music the arranger knows. We just want to hear,simple,effective and powerful music. Our lives has become complicated enough, and music should be understandable and in harmony with the ear.Get back to basics!!

I hope it's not too late to respond to the responses to my original post. At risk of turning the discussion into an academic discourse I want to explain the reason for my statement. First off though, it's unfortunate that WST sold the argument as "Panorama music has lost it's ability to make people dance and be happy". Anyone will find any music pleasing to their ears and thus respond accordingly. My point went much deeper than that. My entire argument could be summed up in two words I used in the final paragraph. Those words are..."heavy and uninteresting". Most Panorama arrangements from about the mid 80's can be summed up in those two words. The laws of simple cummunication has not changed over the centuries. If you want to be understood, speak clearly. It's ok to be loud or speak quickly, but for heaven's sake, be clear and definite in your statement. Probably because of the competition for big money.Probably because of knowledge of modern trends in arranging and orchestrating. Probably because arrangers feel that that is what the judges want. Panorama music, from most bands nowadays is no longer clear, definite in statement and to this writer, not a very enjoyable experience.
Modern Panorama music is simply too much. Too many voices in steel orchestras say the same thing at the same time, thus a cacaphony of noise. When tenors run, while cellos run at the same time basses ramajay and the ridim kicking brass, it's only the players in the band and their die-hard supporters who really enjoy the music. The poor judges have to make sense of what is happening and award points accordingly. Then, when bands don't get the expected result?...DEY TEEF WE! is the cry. The hallmark of a good Panorama arrangement is time and space. By that I mean, when to make a certain statement and how much of it you allot to the entire arrangement. Bradley's 1999 "In my House" for Desperadoes would defend everthing I have said here thus far. I can still remember a close All Stars friend vexing with me after I advised him that every other band that year was fighting for 2nd place. Poor fella, he just didn't understand. Bradley and indeed most older arrangers had it down to a science. When to thief we head with sweetness and just how much to administer so as to not overdo. Boogsie, maybe through his long association with Bradley understands it too. He is one of the few arrangers who is very careful not to overdo.
Bugs, the above should immediately speak to why as you correctly observed "there hasn't been any panorama arrangement, regadless of which band you support, in the last ten years that has emerged as a classic or definging piece for any panorama performing orchestra in Trinidad." Simply put, if you can't undetstand what I say, you won't remember it. You'll remember that I said something, but that's about it.
You will get no argument from us BigMac.  Just out of curiosity.  Which "In My House" do you like best - the one by Pantonic or the one by Desperadoes?
What kinda hard question is that?...lol...I am more familiar with the Despers version though...but it's the Brados so the word "better" does not apply....afterall he won with both arrangements too...
You're are a true diplomat BigMac.

"Modern Panorama music is simply too much. Too many voices in steel orchestras say the same thing at the same time, thus a cacaphony of noise. When tenors run, while cellos run at the same time basses ramajay and the ridim kicking brass, it's only the players in the band and their die-hard supporters who really enjoy the music.  The hallmark of a good Panorama arrangement is time and space. By that I mean, when to make a certain statement and how much of it you allot to the entire arrangement."


Those are extremely SUBJECTIVE STATEMENTS that you state as a matter of fact.  It weakens your argument IMO.


For you modern panorama music might be too much and that's entirely your perogative.  Someone else could say just as matter of factly that your taste in panorama music lacks sophistication.  And it would be just as judgemental as your statements.


At the end of the day MUSIC is a subjective thing.  We won't all like the same thing.  For me, it is precisely that which makes Panorama so interesting.  It's a matter of personal taste.  And there's no wrong or right taste. 

dere we go again . . Panorama discussion / arguments . . well ah jumpin in . . head first . . Panorama is ah Competion . ah Musical competition [ dat needs tuh be seriously re-examined as to its positive - negative effects on de Pan  /  Players an de Community as ah whole ]. People does "Dance" wen dey no de tunes . . .ie. after dey hear de Band . s  play ah few times . if dey doe no de tune . . den dey 'lissen carefully an "move causchusly . . till ah xcitin run tickle dey earbells an raise dey blood pressure . .  de ones who "dancin up ah storm fuh every ban . . doe las de nite  . . soon dey sprawl out an de ground . . in ah pool ah dey vomit . . . generally yuh does move [ dance ]  wen de tempo rite , an de riddum tite  or is yuh favorite ban playin . .  . all de time yuh lissenin carefully . . or as bes yuh could accordin tuh wey yuh is . . we does leave de real dancin . . prancin . . or de sofisticated chippin , fuh de road . . so look dey fuh de 'bad-behaviour" Panorama nite we does generally hol it dong till de ban finish . . den we does show we appresheashun . . wey does run from [1] [if is we favorite]we jump up, raise we voices HIGH, makin as much noise as we could,  huggin ,high-fivin an carryin on an ting . . fuh as long as we could bear it . . or[2] if is not "we ban" - den we clap . .smile an show som luv .  or [3] if dey din play good . . or is ah ban we jes doe like . . . we Boo . . loud . . or keep quiet an wait fuh de nex ban . . Buh Big Mac . . . som tings change . . while  som remain de same . . buh dat is fuh de nex discusshun . . . till den . . keep de lyrics runnin


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