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Panorama Fiasco on a Global Stage Caught on my Blackberry

Panorama on the Net 2009

In the last few weeks, hundreds of thousands of pan historians, fans and players hooked into the When Steel Talks online network and site seeking to gain and/or share information on the panorama happenings, and become associates and friends with others of like minds. Our WST amalgamation of PanOnTheNet.com, bolstered by our presence on emerging technologies like Facebook, Ning and Twitter - to name a few - heated up our ‘lines’ into unprecedented numbers.

We at When Steel Talks are particularly pleased with the unprecedented lineup of prestigious educators, historians, management, arrangers and players who have become members of our recently-formed WST forum. You represent some of the greatest minds and talent in the global steelpan community. You hail from every corner of the planet. We are honored with your presence. Moreover, we look forward to your contributions in making this a community that will propel the steelpan music genre and art form to new levels. Your accessibility, exchanging of ideas, and interaction with the youth, are priceless.

The selfless interaction that we have seen between players and arrangers globally has been very encouraging. The ability for a budding pan player in Europe, Africa or Japan to exchange concepts and tips with a noted educator, arranger or player in the Caribbean or any place in the world, is awesome. The fact that you have availed yourselves to such an undertaking is impressive and we at When Steel Talks applaud your commitment and efforts.

Here, the steelpan music community has an opportunity to take the steelpan music experience and culture to a new plateau, globally speaking. The opportunity is there to bring fresh perspectives to new and existing challenges.


Panorama Fiasco on a Global Stage Caught on my Blackberry

The flip side of the attention to all the great pan availability on the internet and mobi devices, is that when something stinks, it is a global stinker and moreover, it is instantaneous. Is there anyone who has not heard or seen what went down at the finals of the large band panorama, in relation to the removal of able pan men, women and youth - from the Trinidad and Tobago flagship steel orchestras/organizations - at this competition??!! Even if we didn’t want to know, we at WST are getting an earful!!

To all the pan folks who were - just before they took the stage, and in one case, on stage - so unbelievably dismissed and robbed of performing in this year’s panorama, we feel you and share your agony, anger and aggravation. If all eight of these, the greatest steelbands on the planet gathered in final competition, had said “size is not an issue” among themselves (and is in fact rumored to have been the case) - pray tell: just who made it an issue - live and in vivid color on my Blackberry screen, and that of countless others - as well as for those listening in to the radio stations online? Clearly, no one thought of how this was playing out on the international stage...

Ah - Panorama is no longer a ‘local event’, it is now “unleashed” on the internet. Trinidad and Tobago are you listening? Mr. Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago are you listening?

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I am an avid steel panist. I have never been on the savanah stage playing in a band, but would have burned the midnight oil with those who toiled ensuring that a 'hardhead' got it right,--The music I mean. You see I was forbidden to touch least of all play the pan. You see my mother lost one of her chrished cousins to the steel band wars of the early 1950's and she vowed a vow that none of her progeny would play, least of all touch a pan. So my brother, my sister and I, were bannished from it, or so she thought.
I knew what it was to get 'Pan Fever'. I could remember listen to Pandemonium the Belmont Port of Spain band practising with Clive Bradly rehearsing 'Sailing' by the 'Mighty Trini'.I was struck by the dedication of a homeless waif, who after the practise was done, wouild stay until the wee hours of the morning, runing over the intricate movements over and over again in the darkness, because everyone had long gone. I got 'Pan Fever'.
I remember hauling 'Carib Tokyo' on stage, because they were my 'underdog' band, I love underdogs. this is a band that I thoudght could have--only if they were as dicipline as Despers or Renegades or Invaders only if.
The interesting thing is that my sister ensured that herself, her daughter and son got immersed in the movement because, she had now the authority to decide her children's future. She have been fortunate to travel through the Cribbean and the United states as arranger and Pan player. The irony of this story is that at my mothers funeral three years ago, the steel pan was the instrument that serenaded her funeral. This was a first for the band a first for the church,a first for the
community. This experience cemented the madness the love. I am now producing a series of Steel Pan workshops for the Lancaster Public Library in Pensylvania USA for the Summer. The eargerness with which this has been recieved, rained 'Pan fever' all over again. For Summer of 2009, 'Steel' would burn in the hollowed confines of one of the oldest libraries in the United States.thats' what 'Pan Fever' is all about.
This is a moving story - thank you for sharing it. Pan is a great gift for which we in other countries must continue to thank the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Many people here have had prejudice and hardship due to their involvement in pan, as well as racist prejudice which still does happen in Britain.
Great story
This is a real success story that shows persistence does pay off in the end.
Panorama Fiasco

I think it was much more decisive in the bad old days when bands and their respective badjohns would clash on the streets through disagreements
Thank god we have "progressed" since then. all the fighting is done within Pan Trinbago, which I remind you, comprises of "representatives" from all bands I'm led to believe.

So now we have the situation that the self destruction is done from within.

I find it ironic that with so many women panist in each band they have not taken the governing body by the scruff of the neck and given it a good shaking and draged it kicking and screeming in to the 21st centuary.

We all know that women are much better at organising and negotiating.
Men never seem to know when to hold their hands up and say sorry I'm wrong.

If I were an active member of any of the main bands I would be concentrating on getting as much independent sponsership and funding (internationally) as possible and going all out to form a breakaway organisation which would be for the commercial benefit of its participants. The one thing that appears to be lacking in the current Pan Trinbago.

I for one would say that steelbands are not given the financial backing from their sponsors they desrve.

They should not be going from one year's panorama to the next. There should be a lot more done in terms of opportunity to travel the world, record albums and generally appear in public.

When last did Phase II record an album for instance? Since their last release there should have been at least a double CD with 20 tracks minimum. And while we're on the subject of Phase II, what happened to the gift of a full set of Genisis pans? On a visit to the yard this year and during Panorama I saw only 1 set of Tenor Basses.
Magic Drum was made for "G" pans. They would have won!

Back on the subject matter in hand though, Pan Trinbago's new rules should have been voted down or Panorama threatened with a boycott by those bands that did not want any limits to size.

If laws are not made for a purpose or cannot be shown to be of benefit then they should not be made.

If we all wrong in our presumtions then it's time for the governing body Pan Trinbago to issue an "honest" statement.

Randi Curvan


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