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An exclusive WST interview with Panorama arranger, recording and performing artist 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.
Read full interview
Very well argued, Si... I agree with the central theory that the continued subjugation to "the wining formula" is the ongoing bane of Panorama music, and that it compromises the musical richness of Panorama music and thus the potential to go beyond musical theatrics ("gimmicks"). I am no big fan of Narrell's Panorama style, but I do concurr with him (and with Lester Simon) that it is this subjugation to convention that severely stifles creativity. And I frequently point to Clive Bradley's In My House, or Picture on My Wall, among others, as examples of of how it is possible to push the musical envelope so to speak and yet produce a winning tune full of jam and wine. If you want to stick to convention,them copy good convention, one that is both proven and musically exquisite.
I fully concurr with the inherent dificulties entailed in arranging for steelband based on a full orchestral score (in which instruments have the advantage of having different and easily distinguishable tones), but that is precisely the challenge to the pan rranger: to utilise creative rhythms and harmonies to achieve the desired effect (interpretation ?)
And Rueben: musicality (a la Bradley) does not turn Pamorama into Festival ... in fact it retains those very "fundamental, unique and defining qualities" (as Si said) which reinforce the essential character of Panorama. I too would probably prefer to play even panroun-de-neck with dudup and steel rather than artificial or forced pseudomusicality, and I have done both. So please don't get it twisted ... a winning Panorama tune shoud be highly musical, just as with any other genre.
I'm glad you mentioned Bradley, now that's a man who could use chromatics and leave people swearing he never. Its not about just the music, but how you apply it.
I will take the liberty of answering on Andy's behalf. If we loved and understood music as Andy does, we would understand how music sounds when arranged sensibly.
Andy does not have to win Panorama or even compete in it. He can earn a lot more money by continuing to be an ambassador of our beautiful instrument.
"If we loved and understood music as Andy does, we would understand how music sounds when arranged sensibly."..... I don't know who "WE" you are referring too.....but I have been around and heard many musicians,composer,players who have earned world wide recognition and awards and acclaim than any one on the Panorama circuit has.....and I am sure there are many others who has likewise experience.....so please speak for yourself,if you have never heard a Bradley,Smooth,Boogsie,Holman,Rodney,Griffith etc.
Naurice let him go do that then.
The fact that he comes back shows he needs it either for promotional purposes or as he states in this interview he really wants to be invited to the party.
Also don't be so disrespectful, you're acting like people are stupid. All of us love music.
His problem is the style of arrangement, forget about his petty points about chromatic utilisation because Mozart, Gershwin and others used them for dramatic purposes.
Read your comment aloud to yourself and tell us how you sound.
Naurice, quiet as it's kept, he does earn more money than any arranger or pan player in T&T, however he comes back to the Mecca. Why?.With all the music he knows something is missing, and as they say,"Those who can't do, teach, or try to teach".His crowning glory would be a Panorama win, but it takes a certain Je ne c'est qua to achieve that.
I believe that it is high time that Pan Trinbago takes a serious look at Panorama, and forget about Andy Narell for a minute.
Ultimately, Panorama will destroy the Steelband if something is not done soon and sensibly. I just want to put this out there for one to ponder - I don't need any responses, but DO WE HONESTLY BELIEVE THAT ANY BAND IN T & T HAS 120 PLAYERS?. In other words, if all Panorama contests were to take place simultaneously in different parts of the country - including Tobago, would ALL OF THE ORCHESTRAS HAVE A FULL COMPLIMENT?
Everyone knows the answer, so what are we trying to prove. Therein lies one of the fundamental problems in what Panorama has become.
Panorama and carnival are inextricably tied together, like Siamese twins. You cannot enter the carnival arena and leave alive if you do not understand and repect this. Mr. Narell, and all the others who think like him, can pretend that it is not so, and people will continue to give them the polite clap at the end of their performance and reserve the bawling and screaming for those bands that earn it.
BRAVO, DJ. So excellently put.
Yes , DJ , I completely agree with you .
But I hope you realize that panorama is much more then that .
Panorama affords an arranger a unique opportunity to express his musical vision using a full , panorama size steelband .
It is like presenting a blank canvas to an artist .
That can present an irresistible attracton to an arranger , regardless of monetary or titular awards .
Well said Glenroy R Jospeh.
Indeed, the real pan man war is not between steelbands at all. These are relatively small battles or skirmishes that are won or lost with the ruling of the judges on Panorama night, or semifinal night.