Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
Well, ah old school PANORAMA player and PAN lover who was around from 1963 and played from 1966 (and is still active in today's pan world) called me up to tell me that he have a BIG PROBLEM with what is being offered today as PANORAMA MUSIC. So the first thing I do is tell the man that I really doh know nothing about PAN MUSIC even though I does be keeping the Ole talk alive on the forum. But that eh stop the man from telling his gripes with the PANORAMA TODAY.
He say that he could LIST many PANORAMA TUNES starting with the FOUR by Earl Rodney for Harmonites, Beverly Griffith and Bradley for Desperadoes, Jit for Renegades, Ray Holman for Starlift and so forth and so on … and when he compare those songs to what he heard in THIS PANORAMA he keep saying that PANORAMA has taken a RETROGRADE STEP. But he had to remember that there was no more LORD KITCHENER or MIGHTY SPARROW and proper CALYPSOS to give the arrangers a challenge.
Well I listening to the man (today) and I thinking that merrytonestothebone and Dr. deLight (two PAN EXPERTS) done tell me that this was the GREATEST PANORAMA in the history of PAN -- and I don't think dem two men THAT YOUNG!!!
The man continue to say that all the arrangers have to work with today is two chord and three chord MELODYLESS TUNES and how Duvone was as creative as could be with what he had to work with and that put over by the entire band was very good and so was SKIFFLE. But what he had a real problem with was when the same panel of judges have you in front by 2 points in a prelim and by 4 in the semis -- they cannot justify placing you SECOND in the FINAL PERFORMANCE unless you messed up somewhere like Desperadoes at the start or during the rendition.
He said that inside players are saying (front row players for Desperadoes) that Zanda miffed the count with the first two single beats in order but doubled on the third (causing some players to start as if it was FOUR ( tap tap tap-tap) then added another stroke (tap tap tap-tap tap). Causing other players to start on "FIVE".
(That was chaos right there because one listener on the chat I was on caught it immediately and said: "Like dey pulling a bus" and we all laughed.)
So the man going on and on explaining that PANORAMA has gone in a direction that he doh like and if this is the new direction then half of the arrangers who played last SATURDAY NIGHT should just TAKE AH BOW and ride into the sunset. (Well, I had already pointed at EXODUS on the forum; but he expanded the list.) However, he insisted that ZANDA knows how to work with today's music.
But some of the other OLD ARRANGERS swearing that they are not going down this NEW ROAD!!! However, yuh know that an ARRANGER is a PRIVATE CONTRACTOR and when they see that big $100,000 cherry check dangling in front of their faces they will CHANGE THEIR TUNE who cares if they WIN. They know that they have no chance of winning in the modern game (making it to the FINALS is the best they could do) but THE FAT PAY CHECK is an automatic win for them.
(I am sure that a few people heard KENNY PHILLIPS say on the broadcast that the bands should start EXTENDING CHORDS; that they are TOO STUCK on TRIADS. So if the man who call me right and is only two and three chords in the songs and then the arrangers not skilled enough to move beyond TRIADS -- I say we just JAM THE CALYPSO and forget about all this SYMPHONIC approach to MY CALYPSO!!!)
Yeah yeah...one day I might learn not to expect too much...Please listen to the suggested recordings when you have a chance...
I am so misunderstood on this forum!!! I am not here to win any argument!!! I am here to advocate for TRINIDADIANS in TRINIDAD making quality GLOBAL PAN MUSIC. How many times have I asked: WHERE IS THE MUSIC? And not one person has ever presented ONE PIECE OF PAN MUSIC that has an OUNCE OF GLOBAL APPEAL ... and is years now I have stood alone on the other bank of the river trying to wake up THE LOCALS.
And Aquil Arrindell (who I thought was my friend) throwing out that "ignorance is bliss line" on me. But as the ghetto boy said in the BIGGIE SMALL MOVIE: I know musicians who know musicians (paraphrased) ... so I could always go to HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED musicians and say: What do you think about this?
But I do know how merrytonestothebone feels and I could empathize with him because I don't think that there is ANYBODY in the world who knows more about CALYPSO LYRICS than I do -- so it gets frustrating to even try to discuss that subject with anybody. It eh even have ah forum for that so allyuh lucky to have a platform to GET FRUSTRATED on -- that is kinda funny.
Anyway, the man who made that phone call to me that triggered this posting is probably the most knowledgeable man in Trinidad when it comes to PAN and PANORAMA. So I eh jumping ship ... I say: THE MAN RIGHT!!!
Yeah Claude take WIN...Duvonne and Renegades did too...There's always next year...
Mr. Claude the think happening. Some bretheren for UWI. the video international standard.
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Gentlemen , a point needs to be made.
The other day i visited with a Trini friend who also lives in an area where there are few Trinidadians and little influence of Trini ( and steelband ) culture.
We both agreed that it was almost impossible to introduce our (non Caribbean) friends to the steelband via panorama music , because they would be polite , but it was clear they did not understand or appreciate the music.
To them it was just noise , though most are familiar with and more appreciative of the sound of the single tenor pan.
Gentlemen , everything I post is from the perspective of someone who would like to see greater exposure for the steelband , out of the province of the Caribbean diaspora , and hard core international pan fans.
I happen to think that the panorama format as it exists today may not necessarily be the best way of widening the exposure of the steelband worldwide.
In a way one can make a comparison to jazz.
As popular as traditional jazz was to fans of the genre , its appeal was still rather limited , so jazz transitioned to jazz fusion which included elements of rock ,r&b , Latin and even calypso to widen it's appeal.
That was what made names like Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock household names.
To be brutally frank , I could never understand your Coltrane , Charlie Parker , Theolonious Monks etc. , but I loved fusion.
Remember , we are speaking of widening the appeal of an instrumental art-form at a time when instrumental music is not particularly popular , so if we are serious we have a lot of work and self examination ahead, and that includes being critical , whether we like it or not.
Glenroy, points well taken but "your Coltrane" I have a vinyl and CD collection of Miles and Coltrane.
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ODW , I hear you , but the point I was making was that as great as those men were as artists , as a casual music fan that style of jazz never appealed to me , especially as a youth.
i would read all these reviews telling me how great the music was , but somehow I couldn't hear or appreciate it , until people like Creed Taylor started producing more commercial jazz in the 70s featuring people like Grover Washington , George Benson , Ron Carter , Eric Gale etc.
With pan , some of the commentators on this forum remind me of those jazz critics.
Because they understand and appreciate panorama music , they think everyone with ears would , or should.
Unfortunately , that is not the case.
And btw , I played in steelbands and music bands in T&T purely as an amateur , so my outlook on music is from the viewpoint of the listener and consumer ,not from any technical expertise in music.
I always enjoy the perspective from people with a strong , technical viewpoint on the structure of the music, because I learn from them.
But I can only base my comments on what my ears tell me , and how the music makes me feel.
Glenroy I'm afraid you have taken the discussion way out if context now. The fact remains that it is folly to believe that calypsoes of yesteryear were better suited to Panorama than modern tunes. I used the Coltrane example to show that even with a minimal chord palate a ton load of melodic and harmonic ideas are possible. Case in point Bradley's arrangements of "Horn" and "Whap Cocyea" for Despersare a few years ago. Both tunes had beautiful melodic lines on top of very minimal chord structures...the result?...Bradley magic. Again it is a pity that this discussion board doesn't cater to sharing information on "music", but say what? At the end of the day, fact is fact...opinion is opinion...
Glenroy, I have never met a foreigner that has experience the spectacle and musical excellence of a 120 player large conventional orchestra live for the first time and thought it was noise. Most of them get very religious as they utter phrases like "oh my god" and the likes. Not unsimilar like folks that have experience a large black marching from a major black college for the first time.
I do agree with that critical self examination is the key. And after watching the movie Black Panther a few days ago, I am not sure that widening the exposure of the instrument or the music is the goal. Holding on to your truths and perfecting the art-form might be a better calling. Getting rid of the idiots and gangstas at Pan Trinbago would be far more reaching and beneficial to every aspect of the instrument and its music.
What can a professor with a Phd in percussion studies tell the Iron man who he - the professor - studied to get his Phd?
Glenroy: You should print out that passage and mail it to me so that I could stick it on the headboard of my bed and read it every night.
But how come NOBODY eh say NOTHING about the MIFFED COUNT. I thought that was one of the most intriguing aspects of what meh pardner tell me in such specific detail.
Ah remember one year SILVER STARS screwed the count after we had such HIGH HOPES for the PANORAMA PERFORMANCE!
I've read all the comments and think all the contributors have valid points despite having different perspectives but my take is that we all still have a passion for live music in particular that of the steelpan ..
The truth is live music is no longer appreciated as before so the audiences have diminished and that's not just for pan, some of the best musicians national and international are sequencing and sampling everything and playing along with it, the singers are singing over theirs and other peoples pre-recorded vocals, so it's bigger than just the pan, more so considering it's not a conventional instrument ,from a third world country with an unusual sound.
It is and will be for a very long time an up hill battle but forums like this can help in recognizing possible avenues to improve what is already in place because behind all the arguments and opinions there lies one thing, the love for the art form!!!
QUESTION : Do you all think Andy Narell will be successful if he used a full steel orchestra instead of all the top class musicians that he features in his recordings and live performances?
BTW , Claude it was a bad count, they had one last year too and had to sloww down to control the music, so you're spot on .