Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
The large bikini Mas bands have abandoned the Savanah for the Socadrome. The greatest steel orchestras in the world are playing to an empty Grand Stands at 3:00 am in the morning. And the streets of Port of Spain as Mr. Rubadiri Victor showed are empty on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Maybe this is truly an opportunity for the steelband to go back on the road.
Just like the rest of Trinidad, no imagination, no leadership; crooks come and raid
the oil & gas lick their lips and take off for a few years, while we cant get water, blood
nor medicine. All the ingredients for a Third World 'failed state'. Lots of lawyers but no
laws, lots of intellectuals but no common sense.
It started with government taking away control of the people's institution from the' people". At first we were happy, because the government's CDC (now NCC), poured money and organisation into it, and we got bigger prize money and plenty jobs and contracts, and positions of authority. We never noticed the creeping heavy hand of authoritarian policies and practices as we relinquished our rights, gave up our spirit and abandoned the real reasons why we created, made, played, watched, enjoyed and appreciated 'de mas', until now that we have, prescribed routes, we can't buy a bake and shark or a sweet drink, or a beer; no vendors and spectators on the route, hundred dollars entry tickets to the stands, no Minshall, Mc Williams, nor Sally to look forward to; only a set ah beads and feathers, one tune whole day, so 'de people' stay home. But don't worry folks we are creating a carnival culture industry for export.
Fix it?.Providing we could agree on what's wrong, the solution is like the story that asked the question 'who will bell the cat?
agreed. but the truth that needs to be recognized is: we're no longer the innocents we once were. the images we've seen in recent years on the front pages of our dailies are far more startling and arresting than any robber or jab jab we could meet on carnival day. roman emperors and barbarians cannot excite as they used to, neither can dragons and bats, much as they may dance and back back. our eyes see things differently, having witnessed an outrageousness in our society every day that goes beyond the outrageous on carnival day. it will take a new level of creativity and artistry to raise the level of excitement, more than the mud of j'ouvert, now tired, more than abstract mas with meaningless design. along with new images, we need something to stem the flow of horror that decorates the stage of our lives, day in, day out. meanwhile audiences for the big show will continue to dwindle, and not be impressed, not by beasts, not by b&b...
Carnival has been dying for years. It is unsustainable without government financial inducements. The band leaders became profit oriented, and while nothing is wrong with the ideal, with less and less people being involved in the preparation and the presentation so that a few can make lots of money, the audience was lost. Without the audience it is a lost cause.
The pan cannot play these jump and wine music that the younger generation want so pan is only for panorama. The younger generation has limited financial resources so they prefer to go to a show/fete.
The pan can play everything, whatever your taste, we are off course here, starting at the roots, prayer, love, respect of self and others, the young and old working together for the common good. There's a lot to learn from Rio school Mummers parade clubs, time, pace, Marshalls, complete costumes, I believe it can work, it's a year thing with everyone involved
There's an opportunity to email the NCC (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your thoughts, suggestions for improvement, etc. Today is the last day. I'm going to do this and challenge more WST members to do the same. Carnival is 'our thing' and we can't afford to lose it! Let's hope that the NCC can gather a group of reasonable thinking people who have decision-making capabilities and could come up with a plan to salvage what is already lost. It's not brain surgery!! I was one of the visitors who sat in the stands on Carnival Tuesday and was appalled that no more mas bands appeared after 5:30p..I couldn't believe my eyes!!
Several bands that crossed the stage had chosen to not compete!! What's up with that? And of course those large bands that went only to the Socadrome!! Why did we create an option like that in the first place? We've got to get this fixed!! And that thing about partying on the 'greens' during PANORAMA?? Disgraceful!! Move it to another night!! Off my soapbox now and on to the NCC!!
My Brother Glen. We are from the same Era of our Steel band History which means that We Witnessed or Participated in Different stages of its Evolution. We have different views about how we can incorporate the Past and the Present. We have to first Recognize that times have Changed before we try to re-incarnate the Past. Steel bands of the Past never had much Challenge on the Roads, infact they were the Road Warriors and ruled the Roads. This Era that we now Live is Ruled by ''Big Trucks filled with Loud Boxes and High decibels emanating from them, also we are up against DJ's and Loud Life Bands which drowns out the Sounds of Steel Bands Percussion. Another thing. The Young People today has not and would not appreciate what Pans on the Roads means. Their Love for Pan ends with Panorama. They don't have that Love for Pans as we had in Our Day. We want to Bring back the Old times days of Pan on the Streets Yet a whole lot of People are against the Traditional Bands Playing at Panorama, at least they are trying to keep it alive. Truly I believe Steel bands on the Road as We once new it is a thing of the Past which is Slowly Dying. We were Young, Now We are Old, this is How it is. Trying to Bring Back the Glory Days when Steel bands used to rules the Streets @ Carnival is very Noble but Far-fetched.. Everything is evolving. Sometimes for Better others for Worse. Most times we have to go with the Times. e.g. Rotary Phones vs Cell Phones. ''Peace & Love My Bro''. lol.
For some some uncanny reason, someone is hell bent on not only killing our Carnival, but burying it. I've made several suggestions to dozens of key Stakeholders over the years, but it all fell on deaf ears. I think we could have countless discussions without bearing fruit.
They keep placing square pegs in wrong holes, and until they can install individuals with qualifying background and impeccable integrity into office it would only get worse. For example the New Chair of NCC, Head Honcho of Pantrinbago, and most of all, All Carnival Bandleaders must agree to function under one Body (not three as is the current scenario, there's greater strength in numbers). History will show that when Miami and Broward Carnivals in Florida existed, proved a failure. Now it appears like the Trinidad Mas Money People are getting their way, after millions of dollars are spent every year for infrastructure at the Queen's Park Savannah (supposed to be the Mecca of our Carnival), it's only occupied for the Panorama Competition (such a waste of money). No one is willing to pay to see unruly bikini wearing women, and nothing creative to appreciate. Gone are the days when families would come to the Savannah for Carnival, but parents are reluctant to expose their children to that environment.
Like I said before, I've made countless suggestions to key Stakeholders over the years but was swept aside, and until they appear to be truly serious about developing our Carnival, I'll just sit back and watch them keep falling on their faces.
With regard to the development of Panorama and Pan in Carnival, I could write volumes of suggestions, but again it will all go to naught.