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Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

I've got to get this off my chest , it has been bugging me for too long , and allyuh won't like it.
Somehow or other , pan people seem to have developed what can only be called a socialist mentality.
It is no accident that most of the progress in pan happened in an era when panmen were mostly hustlers , and there was little if any government financial support to depend on.
The same applies to the music.
Like it or not , no one has any obligation to listen to pan music , panorama music or pan tunes.
And please do not tell me we have an obligation to blindly "support we culture".
In case you all don't know it , entertainment is a competitive business , and like any form of entertainment including movies , you have to appeal to the public , and compete for the entertainment dollar.
That is the reason why so-called "pan tunes" get little airplay.It is all about business and you cannot force music down the public's throat if they do not want to hear it.
And since there is no real public demand for "pan tunes" , this cannot help but have a negative impact on steelbands and on the panorama itself.
In the past , except for rare occasions , panorama pieces were arrangements of popular tunes of the day.
So you knew the tune being played, and was better able to appreciate the work done by the arrangers.
Today , however it is different.
To really appreciate and understand a panorama arrangement , you're somehow expected to listen to the source material on your own .
This is totally unrealistic , except for the most diehard panorama fans.
IMHO , somehow or other , steelbands have to figure a way to return to playing popular music of the day for panorama , even if it means making special arrangements with the top young artists.
Hearing popular music in the pan-yards and on the panorama stage cannot help but be a boost for the art-form.

So I can certainly see why many would have a preference for familiar tunes of yesteryear .

Last year , I saw something very unusual for today.
People were actually singing along with All Stars on the drag at panorama.

If All Stars didn't show us something in 2017 , then nothing will.

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Miguel, I thought I was the only one getting discouraged...but times change and today Soca is the "in thing" it seems. For me, I achieved my goals in writing for Panorama, the only disappointment is that no band chose to arrange my songs except a band in England, but that's how it goes sometimes. 


i have been feeling that way for a few years but kept on writing 

songs because I really like creating something and seeing the end results..

then I slowly realized that I was only doing it for me because our radio stations

in Trini I felt was doing a terrible injustice in playing the music of the land ,,

our Music seem to have a moment which is between the end of Christmas 

and carnival and then it is all done.. Ash Wednesday the Music disappears..

so there is so much music wasted , not everyone gets to enjoy the pleasure of hearing your song on the radio . Either because they don’t know you or you not paying them..

I do not want to second guess, Glenroy. However, one of the things i gather from his piece, is the following; Back in my days ( i am 73 years young), and beyond,there was a popular calypso, which the steel bands played. And, almost any masqurader, could have told you, which band, played which calypso, very easily. Today, with bands having a tune made specially for their band, it's just to many different ( unpopular ) songs to remember. You might remember what your favorite band played; but generally, i don't think too many people would remember what most of the bands played.


Steelbands ALWAYS follow trends.  Is not just now

Winning Panorama bands from 1963 all the way to 1981....for 18 years (1973 was No Panorama)....played the popular songs of the day


Of those 18 Panorama victories, 13 were calypso's by Lord Kitchener.  Talk bout TREND


1972 - Starlift played Ray Holman's Pan on the Move.  The first Large Band to play an "own tune".  They followed it up the next year, 1973, with "Pan on the Run" again by Holman....depicting the literal fight down they received for daring to do so.

Ray Holman and Boogsie Sharpe entered Panorama with their bands solely playing their compositions.  A revolutionary action at the time.  Something that became the norm later on as other bands adopted that TREND.

1981 - All Stars further bucked the status quo by winning with Unknown Band by Blue Boy as he was known at the time.  Unknown Band was a relatively unknown tune.

1987 - Phase II Pan Groove became the first band to win a National Panorama Title by playing Len Boogsie Sharpe's This Feelin Nice.  The same 1988, Clive Bradley made the Mighty Trini into a star by choosing  to arrange "Sailing" for Pandemonium.  Until Bradley's treatment...the song was largely unheralded.

That furthered the TREND of own tunes by steelbands.....Musical Volcano by Robert Greenidge.

Savannah Party by Pelham Goddard

Fire Coming Down by Robert Greenidge etc etc etc

Andy Narrell's "Coffee Street" was a HUGE hit with pan cogniscenti in 

In between....Carlton "Zanda" Alexander was always trying "different" songs...not "traditional" pan tunes...but popular party songs:  

Deltones - What I want

Deltones - Horner Man 

Deltones - I'm Not Drunk

Then came 2016 and the break through with Despers and "Different Me"

The pan world saw a winner and everybody rush to emulate.

Just like in 63 with Pan AM

Just like in 87 with Phase II

Even in Pan in the 21st Century....a competition where bands were mandated to arrange any tune AS LONG AS IT WAS NOT DONE IN CALYPSO TEMPO. 

In 2005 when Bradley arranged "Ordinary People" using different moods and tempos and WON.....the pan world did the same ever since.

Almost every arrangement in that competition since 2005 features similar mood and tempo changes.

Despers in 2016 simply made what was old...seem "new" again.  All Stars and quite a few bands followed Despers.

Own tunes will be popular again one day.  We might not be around to see or hear them...or maybe it will happen sooner than we think.

Back in the 80's people got TIRED of hearing band after band play a Kitchener piece.  An own tune was REFRESHING AND DIFFERENT.

At the end of the day....popular tune...tune the people know.....own tune....it really doesn't matter.  What matters is what is done with the arrangement.  The public fickle....that is a constant.  



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