Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
Panorama 2019; would players be paid? Changing of the guards as old arrangers struggle; Dr. Mia Gormandy exceptional voice for commentary.
By Aquil Arrindell
Dr. Mia Gormandy stood out as the most delightful aspect of the Panorama for me. She is beautiful, with a platinum voice and bubbly personality. Quite knowledgeable about the music and the personalities that created it. She, together with veteran Alvin Daniel, took us through the bands’ performances on TTT during the large band segment. Of course that being said, in no way trivializes the good work of all the other commentators. Vanessa Headly and Franka Headly, Nubia Williams, Sue-Ann Bengochea and the rest of the WACK 90.1 FM family. I also enjoyed the commentators from i95 FM. John Benoit and another gentleman who really gave a layman’s touch to the complexities of Panorama.
At the beginning of the season, a statement was made by our president Beverly Ramsey Moore, that no money would be paid to players for the work they had already done in 2018 and none would be paid for 2019 and 2020. Because of her utterances, players began staying away from the pan yards. This even lead to quite a number of bands not being able to make it to Panorama. In the middle of the season, after consultation with the members of Pan Trinbago, our president reversed her decision. Pan Trinbago will pay the 2018 players stipend in the future, and once 2019’s Panorama is successful, players would be compensated. Now that the Panorama is over and reports are that the venue was full to capacity on both nights of semis and finals, would the players, the ones who are the performers of the show, be paid at least equal to the nuts man? Mrs Moore is a person who keeps her word. I am expecting that she would pay the players. So we all wait with bated breath.
Coverage and Pay Per Views
I would like to thank the media for the coverage, especially for the Junior Panorama which commanded one of the biggest crowds at the Queens Park Savannah for 2019. I am especially thankful for the coverage of Junior Panorama because there was none the last year which was a bit disheartening to the youths that took part. However, more is needed as single and smalls bands were not adequately covered and they too are important components of the developmental process in the steel bands organizational construct. I am particularly pleased by the quality streaming that WACK 90.1 FM provided. The work of Kenny Philips and his team shows that Pay Per View is a serious money making aspect that can be exploited which could in turn benefit the performers who make the show the success that it is. Thanks for being a champion of the culture Mr. Phillips.
Pan Trinbago’s Performance
The final night competition was too long. After the first two bands played in the large band category, I called it a night. Woke up next morning and took in the rest. However, the semi-finals were flawless. The matter with Exodus to me was a waste of the organization’s time and money but, it peaked the interest level of the public which ultimately led to the reportedly maxed out attendance. As they say in show biz, there is nothing like bad publicity. To the president and the executive president, good work. I know that after this year’s experience, next year will be ironed out thoroughly. Champs in concert is this Saturday, so best of luck with that.
As I discussed with my fellow arrangers, a consensus was reached that a lot of the bands and arrangers are being zoned in a particular bracket, and it matters not your band’s performance, the arranger and band will stay within there bracket. Of course there are the one or two that slip through the cracks, but generally arrangers and bands feel that they are being prejudged without even playing a note. Even the arrangers who are presently winning the competitions, speak of the long period of time it happened to them before “their time” for lack of a better expression. As usual the finals were mostly judged on point this year which was no exception. Congrats to the judges. However, the stages to determine the finals bands can be revisited. One band I thought had a flawless, well executed preliminary performance was Siparia Deltones and after hearing other bands in the semi-final round, I was even more surprised as some bands performances were not as good as Deltones. Another arranger and band that I have followed for years and I realize only now they are getting some justice is Arddin Herbert and the band Invaders. It looks like they just had to wait it out until they paid there dues which really should not be the reality we exist in. I know based on discussions with judges that the process is not easy and they do their best with the tools given to them. I also know that judging art without prejudice is almost impossible. For example, there are judges who are classically trained, and others gravitate towards the study of jazz and improvisation, and they are both judging Zander’s kaiso-jazz style. See my point? So, dialogue is needed to explore options that can improve the system we have.
Duvone and the success of panorama.
Current popular songs are presumed to be the major cause of the swelling crowds at the Panorama this year. The Panorama also shows that it has the ability to fill the Queens Park Savannah as the other interest groups cannot. The North Park is inadequate to properly accommodate our growing audience and discussions on fixing this inadequacy should start from now. The bands performances are moving away from only being audio, as visual aesthetics are becoming a major feature in the show. Plays and skits are creeping into the performances which is something that has always been very permanent in the Junior Panorama. I am hearing through the bands performances that most of the older arrangers are struggling to paint their pictures. The music is moving past them and they don’t know how to get themselves at that current place. However, there are one or two of the veteran arrangers showing their resilience. Too many samples for my taste, especially when the music has no relevance to the message and the genres don’t sit comfortably with the syncopation on the calypso rhythm.
Duvone Stuart is one of those pan stars I keep talking about. He is not only a pannist but also a pan personality. We need more like him to continue to keep the mecca a mecca. Congrats to all bands but special congrats go out to Duvone and the Renegades famalay lay lay lay lay.
Telling it as it is.