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Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

In Response To Andy Narell His Music & Steelband Panorama

Narrell's discussions on pan are always interesting. (See Andy Narell His Music & Steelband Panorama)

For example, when he says "we have done, perhaps 1% of what we can with the steelband", and I respond "WHAT"? I then remind myself that, unlike Narell who first heard the steelband as an organic, developed, thing, with clever arrangers and a range of instruments, My steelband experience began when a band had  a few pan roun de neck, a few tenors, a couple seconds and guitars (I think they had started to come in) and a 3 note bass  and  dudup and iron.

I lived through the excitement of the early geniuses who made this thing into real music.

I was on Frederick street when de fellers came down playing 'Back Bay Shuffle',  I remember the excitement when some  pans started being wheeled and, as a boy pushing them. and later on experiencing the euphoria of actually playing them.

I saw the phenomenon grow, where men, unschooled in musical theory, made music that astounded the world.

I remember Dr Northcote,English music festival judge, speaking highly of the instrument but suggesting that they 'stay away from orchestral classical music as being a bit out of their range and smiled as the men completely ignored him and other naysayers and then exulted when Nortcote come back 4 years later and marvelled at the panmens mastery of the genre.

I heard all stars drop their first bomb, I listened to Starlift playing Ray Holman, a teenage schoolboy's arrangements, full of musical ideas and subtlety..

So I forgive Narrell and his 1%! He simply does not know how great this so-called '1%' is!

I know we will continue to grow this amazing musical form/instrument/ concept. We will continue to ignore the advice of musicians who come from outside and tell us what we must do with our thing. Dah is how Trinis is.

I appreciate and understand Narell's understanding that the steelband is really like no other musical orchestra. especially when playing calypso. I have never seen any orchestra play in which the members so 'catch de spirit' and become part of the music itself!

What I am impatient with, is his refusal to understand the essence of panorama.

Panorama has its genesis in pan on the road at carnival time. I know he missed the heyday of pan on the road, when these amazing entities called steelbands would travel through the streets of POS, thrilling themselves and the revellers with their music. He cannot understand the relationship between a carnival steelband and the masqueraders/revellers/ crowd/audience, having not witnessed this phenomenon. So he cannot grasp the elements of  arrangement which Trinis insist must be in a 'panorama tune'.

Maybe, if he had been in the streets on those days or after panorama began, been in the North Stand in early days, he might have had an inkling.

However, I agree that it would be nice for us to have a kind of 'pan ramajay' sponsored by corporate bodies, where large bands also entered and  in which steelbandsmen could compete on a different level, where pure musicianship and experimentation, would be the only criteria.

But he is , as my mother would have said, 'fars an out a place' to want to change panorama, which is one of the last remaining elements of the golden era of pan because it keeps the link between pan and the man on the street -- who created it ; which preserves something that one day we can return to and develop and so save the carnival itself!

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Change panorama? Dat, my friend, is inevitable. Pan was "rong de neck", then on wheels, now on trucks. Change? Inevitable.

We have a role

To sell steelpan to de whole wide world 

For lyrics see more at:http://www.panonthenet.com/tnt/2016/tunes/nostalgia.htm#sthash.DHBR...

De instruments change, de mode of transportation change, de arrangements change, etc etc but one ting ehn change yet -- de relationship between de steelban an de reveller. Dat is symbiotic, pan is in we heart an we is in de soul a pan. Dat cyaan change.

If dat change, a part a pan go dead. An a part a we go dead too!

I totally agree with you Noel. That relationship between pan and Carnival or mas, was born out of the streets. If that connection is severed, as it is very close to being severed right now, we will truly have lost an essential part of who and what we are as Trinis.

Noel, the relationship is somewhat strained now. The people are further removed from the instruments. There is something about holding on to a rack and chipping, there is something about being thisclose to the panman. As it is now, there is segregation of sorts. They are high up on trucks. It is not the same as it used to be. Pan lovers will be pan lovers regardless.



I would like for all interested panist and modern arrangers to listen to The original Trinidad Steelband album,with leader ( winston jones) world's most toured Steelband in the 60s. Would be nice for Andy Narrell,even Ray Holman to listen to, with Cecil Forde ( Coye ) on lead pan, and see where the signature of the west and beyond came from.

Wonderful! Well said, Noel! Let us join hands;hold on to our Pan culture from its birth and direct it through cultural changes incrementally. We still love the old creation -- pan rong de neck- to whatever we, Trinis, have developed and are developing here. PANORAMA is in the blood of hundreds of us--I can think of nothing else this last week. and today, Wow!  I am extremely proud of it year after year after year!

Amen - I enjoy Andy Narell's music very very much but have to definitely agree with Noel's view.  Andy yuh 'farse bai'  LOL   Keep playing but leave we Trini's alone or try to understand panorama music, pan, and how we feel it in the depths of our bones and soul.  Noel you hit the nail on the head.

I listened to a recording of Birdsongs offering for 2016 and it reminded me of Las Lap music. Similar to the Harps going west on Tragarete road. Definitely not vibrant enough for our Rama.


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