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Trinidad and Tobago Newsday 

-  Joan Rampersad

She dropped the ball on pan in Carifesta’

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts.

Pan Trinbago is most upset with Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, as well as the producer and promoter of the Island Beats concert that will bring the curtain down on Carifesta XIV on August 24.

The show, at the Queen’s Park Savannah, will feature international stars Shaggy, Kassav, Calypso Rose, Machel Montano and other local acts.

But Pan Trinbago feels it is sad that pan will not be represented at the concert, except for the playing of the national anthem.

A fiery Dane Gulston, Pan Trinbago’s external relations officer, blasted the minister for her response.

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Pan Trinbago did not think it necessary to inform, consult or include the general membership of the pan fraternity when the idea of a world steel pan day was hastily hurled at them. They may have embraced the initiative unconditionally just after a few days notice, deliberately leaving out PAN, and excluding panmen from their launch. It was on the news after the fact.


Shouldn't Panmen be blasting Pan Trinbago for leaving them out of The Launch of world steelpan day, just as Pan Trinbago is throwing a tantrum because the Carifesta people left them out of their program?

Russell:  You would think pan people would be more incensed about missing out on World Steelpan Day which is more relevant to their efforts than making noise about Carifest (Dane, please note).

Madam, I believe that world steelpan day is not about Panmen, just as christmas day is not about Jesus Christ, or mothers day is about Ma.

The fact that a ™ and © material is put to the forefront, displayed and marketed more aggressively than Panmen (their raison d'etre) at the launch of world steelpan day, is evidence of the fact that world steelpan day may be designed to be nothing more than a valentine's day when merchandisers profits spike, without any express regard for romance or intimate relationships.

Mr Providence,I understand all of that, seminars, conferences and official launches are all empty barrels making much noise. I have attended more than my fair share in my time and I find Official Speeches and Funeral Sermons equally annoying. However, my first point was : how can Carifesta be hosted in Trinidad without pan as a major feature? My second point was: you own the bragging rights, use them. Consistently, effectively and with passion. The same way you play your National Instrument.

I am quite intrigued by your commentary, Lilian. But when you have been beaten down and exploited all your life and LIVED on HANDOUTS -- it is really hard to MARKET YOUR SELF in the BOLD MANNER that you are PROJECTING!!!

One day, when I get in the mood, I will tell you a story about an event that NIKE had in MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA in the NINETIES -- to celebrate their SPONSORED ATHLETES. The OUR BOYS STEELBAND (a section of the band) played at that event  where the HIGHEST NIKE EXECUTIVES and their HIGHEST PAID ATHLETES all mingled, drank and danced  to the SOUNDS OF STEELBAND MUSIC!!!

As SMART as you are -- I am sure that you could figure out the story before I even TELL IT!!!

Claude:I hope , that you are not going to tell me that the band played for free, for " exposure". Eh?

Russell:  I hear you

WTF !! ?Steelband is the one most important thing representing Trinidad worldwide. How is it even possible to not use it in Carifesta? In the middle of Steelband Month, World Pan Day and all. SMH.

But then, the posted video, with comment, is a case in point. This is not 'a steelband' (anonymous entity) performing, it is a Renegade Stage Side. It has a name. Speak it!

Now, I only became aware of this video a couple of years ago, although Renegade Yard is where my soul lives ( my body does join it seasonally since 1982).  When, and if,  this particular event was mentioned at all, it was quite casually as:  "we play in Paris". No 'gallerying' about the importance of the occasion.   I now use this video in my Caribbean Cultural Studies class, as an example of the success and appreciation of Pan internationally. The students watch it in awe, as do I.  Every time.

Humility is a virtue, but not always a useful one,  success should be proclaimed, far, wide and loud. Step up, shout, beat your chest and hit the high notes! Nobody else is going to do it for you.


Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra Responds

Why are people surprised?

No government (past or present) has done anything for pan.

If you think they are going to start now, then you ought to have your head examined.

As a pan player, I have learnt that you have to depend on yourself.

And there goes..............PAN.  Suffering ostracization, suffering exploitation and all Trini could do is talk, talk, talk, talk, talk from the panyard to the panyard.

Talk cheap. Time tuh stop talkin pass long long time.

Pan players have tuh "pass dat stage" in de role ah "ostracized, sufferer and exploited". 

Pan players have tuh do like dem other musician all over de world:

Get ah lawyer tuh make ah standard contract fuh yuh.

When anybody want pan music dey have tuh sign de contract dat state de followin :

De DATE, de TIME (from when tuh when), HOW MUCH players CONTRACTED tuh play, an WHEN an HOW de players go be paid (cash/money transfer etc..).

If dey cyar agree tuh yuh terms, leh dem find ah DeeJay...

"Whatever happen, doh go an kiss dem officials, dem ministers, or de govenrment, wey de sun doh shine"

-Trinidadian Proverb (ah tink!) 


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