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Pulling no Punches - Andy Narell, Arranger for birdsong Steel Orchestra, Speaks on the 2014 Panorama Season

An exclusive WST interview with Panorama arranger, recording and performing artist Andy Narell

 

Andy Narell“...You ask if I want to win Panorama.  In its present form, I would have to say it doesn’t interest me at all.  I would however like to be able to play my music at the finals, and have always considered that a privilege  worth striving for.  Every year I’ve participated I’ve tried my best to get my band there, and it’s very disappointing to not be invited to the party...”  Andy Narell

Global -  Panorama arranger for birdsong Steel Orchestra Andy Narell  shares his thoughts and speaks candidly about the recently-concluded 2014 Trinidad and Tobago National Panorama in an exclusive interview with When Steel Talks.  The annual Trinidad & Tobago Panorama is the world’s premiere tuned percussion competition.

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Mr Marcell,

Jump high or low the reality is if Andy ever show up with the same type of music the out come will be the same, you know it and I know it and the judges won't have anything to do with it.

So what do we do? Because we may be speaking about Andy today, but it may be someone else tomorrow. Has I get older I have found myself willing to listen to people and maintain an open mind to new things, I credit my son with that and what I have learned is that our pan and it's music, in particular panorama music, is being suppressed, the tenor pan today has thirty-two notes because someone was daring enough apply change, change for the betterment, so we are to wait for someone who is a Trinidadian to implement change before we accept it, the same change a foreigner tried five years earlier.

Look it's as Ainsworth said in his post, we do to make that product which is Panorama a more marketable product worldwide, because the world is watching, we want the world media market fighting for the rights to telecast the panorama, hopefully so it can bring more funds to lead back to the pan players.

Mr Marcelle,

It is with sadness I say these words but I think panorama is a hard sell on the international scene.Do you think a person in Holland will appreciate Duvone In D Minor? I don't think so but they will certainly like  Andys' We Kinda Music, my point is that panorama is local thing, what it means to us might not be the same to others. Andys music on the other hand has more of a world beat that can be appreciated anywhere, this brings us back to panorama, it's the wrong stage for his music. As for the BOX it's just two bands that's stuck in there.

 Mr. Hinkson, I appreciate what you are saying, but again I am also looking at the survival of the art form and  reward to pan players.

We suffer from the inability to market our products and should take a page out of the world's book. Pan and Panorama  is currently world wide, it is no longer local, so why not package the show so the world can view and appreciate it more. Also some thing has to be implemented, so they who practice two to three months, six to seven days a week walk away proper financial rewards and not just bragging rights for the winners and for the losers a feeling of wait till next year.

Cecil, I disagree.  I doubt that Panorama music will be redefined globally by Narell.  I think people of the world can appreciate a Trinbago sound when it comes to what they enjoy about a Panorama entry.  I think innovation will be embraced as long as the spirit of the music remains intact.  For now, I think there is a gap in what he delivers and that spirit.  But I don't think it will change people's expectations of Panorama... it may influence their perception and appreciation of steelpan music more generically or globally though. That could be a good thing.  But my suspicion is that arrangers that really bring the spirit of Trinbago in their Panorama entries (even if in NYC or Toronto Panorama... maybe even Notting Hill, though I'm less familiar with recordings from those) will continue to dominate and differentiate what Panorama music is about.

 

 

Corey,

All I ment was it is easier  for someone in foreign to like We Kinda Music as oppose to All Stars Excitement.

So Panorama needs to be changed from it's fierce competitive state to a more tamed, musical production that is more appeasing/palatable to an international market. And if we don't allow this change as to accept Andy Narrell's "kind of music" we will remain in "musical bondage" (BTW sounds like a good pan song). Don't believe the hype! Andy's musical offering  wasn't good enough to make finals this year neither was Keith Salcedo's, Michael Toby's or Seion Gomez'. I do think that panorama needs an injection to appreciate the infiltration of new and fresh innovative ideas but Andy's music in it's "present form" is not the answer (to me anyway). Panorama is a mon-star it came out of the bad-john era hence the rough and tough jam and wine music, if an arranger is coming with sweetness they better have a stinger of some kind to take out their opponent after the seduction. Music is Music but panorama has boundaries.   

You know something folks, leave it as is, don't change a thing. I sign off on this discussion. Respect to all.

PANORAMA MUSIC: A ten-minute steelband arrangement of the melody of a calypso, which is originally about ninety seconds to two minutes long. These arrangements when fully exploited are varied, interesting and challenging. The structure of a typical arrangement includes an introduction, statement of the melody, thematic, harmonic and melodic developments, changes of key, changes of rhythm, modulations, improvisations and a finale.

Source: 2003 Simeon L. Sandiford

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO STANDARD GLOSSARY OF TERMS RELATED TO THE STEEL PAN 2003

 

As much as I respect, Andy as a musician, I believe he has overstepped the mark here, and his arrogance and self-promotion has become evident! And, as I am a real, true-true lover of "We Panorama", I'm asking Andy to leave we ting alone, instead of "dissing" it! Go yuh way!

But, I'm bussing my brains, and I hope people on this Forum can help me to define what Panorama is! What gives it that "Je ne sais quoi" indefinable factor, that makes all of us Trinis, (and, others) like it so much!.....Although Andy's music was really harmonically tasty, and well structured in a Jazzy format, he knows that something was missing! I remember Boogsie being booed, in '85, coming off the stage, and people shouting " dat ent soca!" But, the following year came "Pan Rising", in my mind, one of the best Panorama arrangememts, ever!

So. what is it that gives "Panorama that excitement, and Wow factor?? Help mih out pleeze!

Panorama is a  reflection of what a true TRINI is. Exciting, full of Fire, Plenty Movement, Fetish, Flavour, Charisma, Dont Care ah Damn Attitude, Music that goes On and On without End, the Same Every Year and yet it is Different Every Year.

Pan and Panorama really describes what Trinbagonian truly is. This is why Narell, although his music is good and I like it, he and his music really don't fit none of the above in a Carnival Season that is Truly TRINBAGONIAN. Check out the meaning of our National Flag!

Nice one Bertel! I like yuh Panorama definition! Hot like Pepperseed! And, Cary, I agree that chromatic runs are acceptable, if not used in excess! They are a musical statement, but, unfortunately, overused by some bands, and, critics use that to put down Panorama!

I would like Andy to embrace, and respect our Panorama, and try and put some of the "Trini Excitement" into his arrangements, instead of deliberately trying to change the format!

Anyway, Cary, congrats to you, and your family, breds, for where you guys going! Keep up the great work! Blessings

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