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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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We are in complete agreement Mr. Marcelle. I saw nothing insulting in your post. I have no problem with you vigorously defending your position. I'm sorry if you felt I was insulting you.

However, since you raised the bias perspective,  I would ask how come there are no white people defending the Trinidadians right to carry out their Panorama as they see fit and telling Andy to get lost? You see Mr. Marcelle your very existence proves we Trinidadians are not nearly as bias as others.


Unlike you Mr. Marcelle, I am complete prepared to change my position if an argument is made that is based on facts.

I love Andy and his music however, I would not let him arrange for my band at panorama with his current attitude of not wanting to win. Panorama is a competition not just a performance. I guess if he wanted to win, he would put out winning music and not just, what he likes. The judging criteria should not change just to allow his music. This is not innovation, Andy’s music in its present form will kill panorama if all bands played it.

Good post Martin, his type of music has it's place.

Many feel because of who Andy is and what he is doing  he is beyond critique, maybe he is, after all he is the highest paid panist on the planet, but when he comes to the Mecca to go up against the best in the world our rules stand, don't come and try to change things to suite your taste, panorama is ah BEAST and whoever try to tame it  do so at their own peril.

....and I thought panorama was already 'ded'.

What 6/8 time in a panorama tune?  Is this carnival music or what?  Even the noted and respected arrangers he mentioned won't do that @#$t.  I do see some tourist wine to that time.  Pretty soon our culture will thinking that jump-up means moving up and down like Riverdance.  Culture first.  Cliches define cultural traditions in our music.  Knowing how to be creative with cliches is what define the innovators


Come on guys in 1998 Bradley led from prelims and won with slower than that. 

But do you really believe he won on the Final Night of 1998?
Please listen to the Finals once more.

Mr Mohammed,

Panorama is unjudgeable  [just made up  that word] what I mean is that regardless who the judges are we will ALWAYS have complaints, so it is of utmost importance that you and others like you meet on a regularly and discuss the matters of the steelband, not many benefit if 1or 2 are successful, it is better when all succeed.

Great question Mr. Mohammed. I think you would agree that Panorama is also largely about Trinidad/Tobago culture. Interesting that there have been many serious discussions on 1998. It has been said by many that he took everyone in the Savannah to "church" via Nutones. No one was going to rule against them that night. Bradley may be the only person who ever got his semi finals performance to influence the judges in the finals - but such were the 'smarts' of Bradley. He dared the judges to risk getting hit by a lighting bolt.


Mr Marcelle,

Andy Narell aint no Clive Bradley.

Say it again...cause some people doh seem to understand that.....I am also tired of the same old rhetoric that Andy is the 'great' exposer of pan to the world. Yes he has but so have many others before him in a more meaningful way and to a wider audience. Musically he is good but then again there are better exponents of the artform. Also, how many times will the topic of Narell and his music (panorama and otherwise) crop up? By regurgitating this issue over and over (and I will pipe in everytime lol), we are doing a disservice to all of the other past/present great/good arrangers out there..let's hear about them some more...and let's not fool ourselves..nobody enters a competition to lose, so I am not buying his argument that he does not really care what the judges think..if that is the case, accept the results and not complain, put your tail between your legs and come again next year (maybe)..


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