Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
I’m not pointing any fingers nor am I taking sides; I just think that a serious conversation has to be had among stakeholders about the type of competition we want the panorama to be. Is it about music? Is it about jam? I have no beef with whichever way it’s decided, I'm just saying that we need to agree on what takes precedence over what so that everybody, including the judges and the man in the street, could be on the same page. Otherwise (at least me) will continue to be confused (make that flabbergasted) by the results each year. In the golden era of panorama the score sheet clearly alluded to the fact that it was a musical competition; there was a category called, 'spirit of carnival’ for which 5 points was awarded. Arrangers like Bradley could have decided then to sacrifice 2 or 3 points in that category and go after the points for the music with which he mesmerized the world. Spirit of carnival was incorporated into the arrangement category in recent years and from all indications now take precedence over all else. Let me say again, I have no problem with that; I'm quite aware that the only constant in life is change itself. All I'm saying is, if the thing has evolved, (like our soca music), then lets scrap the current score sheet and use instead one similar to that used to judge the power soca monarch. Then every arranger would know that he could ride a rhythm and win and not have to buss he brains with re-harmonization and all the other fancy terms stated on the score sheet. We could also create a new classification to cater for the several rhythm sections in the land - who knows, maybe Laventille rhythm section would win panorama in time to come.
The true meaning and spirit of what pan was and should be about died many years ago. What we are witnessing now is its prolong wake in the existence of Panorama. Culture can never be judged. No amount of designed and redesigned score sheets, seminars for judges and arrangers, classification of bands into small, medium and large etc. can take what is the soul of our being and assign points to it and say this is the winner. Its an illusion to believe we can score our culture. But how can we realise this when we are all caught up in the euphoria of the 'greatest pan festival on earth'. It is out of control; we are out of control and we dont even realize it because we are all part of the process on the road to cultural suicide. It is not coincidental that we face many challenges today as a nation - crime, unemployment, social decay etc - parallel with the decay in the essence of our cultural forms. This thing call Panorama is just one of many aspects of our human creation deigned to soothe our quest for enjoyment and happiness, but is it really doing that. Instead we have digressed and are suffering the consequences. If we are to begin save our culture, Panorama has to be euthanized. The million dollar question is, who is going to bell this cat?
well spoken you hit the nail on the head year after year several bands play jam and lots of runs in there tunes if you dont belive me play back tunes that bands play from 1990 to present and you would see what i am talking about is what band could out run the other band or who could beat the pans instead of playing the pans it is good to see lots of youths playing its good for pan movement but some bands have to teach them right way in there playing there some bands that have youths playing you could see the diffrance how they handle ther playing because they are getting good teaching.have a bless day
I would add that musicality is definitely NOT the main criterion these days ... I concurr fully with those who lament the constant repetitive "jam" or other corny variations that add little to the data base of truly memorable pieces.
Why don't they teach the best of the old guys in class, with all the pan in schools/
Unfortunately I would have to say it's not about the music. If it were, the bands that keep recycling this jamming style with faster and longer chromatic runs every year would not be winning or making it to the finals. I listened to the All Stars preliminary and thought this is not music, in fact it was like an assault on the ears. It was run after run in every section, you could not sit back and identify verse and chorus or a theme. There was no way to get a sense of the song and at some point it just becomes impossible to even absorb anymore of what they are playing. It sounded like noise more than music. The piece never had a chance to breathe, you couldn't appreciate the parts being played in various sections. When I commented on this in the chat room someone pointed out that All Stars were the only band that had the crowd on their feet during semis and therefore they deserved to be where they were in the standings. That made me wonder if only the bands who are jamming, playing as fast as they can and doing chromatic run after run qualify as good music in panorama to many people. Is slower music that people can sit enjoy and reflect on no longer music that warrants consideration?
My father played in Invaders from the sixties and onwards, I started playing pan standing on a box learning scales on a tenor from my "uncle" Birdie Mannette at the age of four. I hold both music and education degrees, arrange for two bands, have performed with a symphony orchestra, and play all the pans. I grew up on arrangers like Ray Holman and Bradley, listening to bands like Starlift, Invaders, Despers and the sweet music of bomb competitions. So I'm sorry but chromatic runs and chaos will never be more musical in my mind than harmonies, good melody, complex chords, and the sweetness that comes from a well arranged piece. Faster does not equal better, sometimes the best thing you can do with music is allow it to breathe. Space can be just as important to a piece as filling it with a million moving parts, each section should be respected and heard. It seems that he most musical pieces and arrangements are the ones which consistently come in low or last for panorama. That to me is a terrible shame.
Trinibaby, I have been saying the same thing for years. The fast food noise being offered up as music today is a far cry from the sweet pan of yesteryear. I wish I kept my comments from the old MSN group.
Why did Starlift place last playing "we just can't go on like this" in Skinner park? I'm not saying they should have won but...
Most of the crap that's played today is being excuse by saying that's what the judges want to hear.
The judges hear (when they are awake) whatever is played. it's their simple minds that can't appreciate good music.
I think it is a symptom of the times when everything is dragged down to the lowest level for fear of being too high brow. We must keep it simple for the masses so they can appreciate. What an insult! But why should we be surprised. These people were brought up on Joe Cuttridge ( for the younger ones he wrote our school books which included Dan Is The Man in The Van) Remember those little red readers?
Maybe not in my life time but one day the music of Bradley, Holman, Griffiths and Williams would be recognised and imitated. Boogsie's Jazzy riffs and jams which play an important part of his arrangements are still based on complex chord structures. You never know, one day there may even be a groovy panorama contest where jams and runs only carry a point each, the rest is based on pure music.
We can but hope!
trinbaby9, after your comment, there's really nothing else to be said.
So what year did the "beautiful music" come to an end? And why are thousands and thousands of people piling into the savannah to hear this "noise"?
Easy answer Claude,it's a big savannah party food drinks etc. 95% of the people in the savannah don't know what is going on musically. When you talk with them, any popular tune is the best tune,apart from verse and chorus their minds are oblivious to what else is taking place.
Well said trinibaby9, well said indeed.
One of the best comments.. Amen to your thoughts Trinibaby.. very very well said
I quite agree with everything you say Trinibaby,
Agreed, very well said