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Revisited - Requiem for Jouvert Pan by Dalton Narine

Jouvert pan has been gone, what - how long?

Bertie Marshall - Innovator, Band leader

Since 2003, when Starlift danced past a bonafide Bomb competition in tribute to Highlanders’ guru and acclaimed innovator Bertie Marshall - the contest held within stoning distance from Pan Trinbago, closer to Sacred Heart Girls' Roman Catholic School. So a sardine crowd packed Park Street.

It may’ve been a sacrilegious move by Starlift. Still and all, no wonder the Woodbrook band bypassed a Bomb contest that required steel orchestras to reprise jazzy but colourful Highlanders arrangements.

It’s safe to say that Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II hadn’t dared to dream of an adaptation on pan featuring “It’s a Grand Night For Singing” (from the movie “State Fair”) and "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ " (from “Oklahoma!”). Granted, the few millennial revellers may have found the sound “foreign,” but, by and large, quite a few at least sang the first line, and everybody la-la’ed the melodies.

The ‘Lift had sought an opportunity to blow apart the audience with the Bomb, and bold-faced so, they backed it up with style, briskly tearing through Park Street. To hell with the competition. We’ll take the crowd. The bombs, packaged like a double at Globe, or Royal, Pyramid, for sure, you got both songs in a one-two combination, Starlift making a raid for truth, what with newcomers gallivanting to the high music and simple lyrics: “Oh what a beautiful mornin’, Oh what a beautiful day, I’ve got a beautiful feelin’, Everything's going my way.”

Soon, the band reached the bridge.

The bridge served as the “hook,” dolled up as change key. So people get on, making a lot of antics and getting away with it.

I mean, the bridge hooked the crowd with a catchy combination of melody and rhythm. It would never leave the listener's head, because it took you straight to The Bomb, Part II: “It’s a grand night for singing, the moon is flying high, and somewhere a bird who is bound he'll be heard, is throwing his heart at the sky!”

Such lines may not have reached John Public that way, but fellas from the pit crew at the movies rolled the lyrics off their tongue like “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

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So nice to hear people talk about j'ouvert with the steelband.

" Pan cannot be reduced to Panorama, it is bigger than that" I just love that line. WHO IS LISTENING IN THE MECCA?


I will go a bit further and say that pan has been reduced to two arrangers.Even if they play Mary has a lil lamb,rest assured they in the top three.No ifs but or maybe.

         That is also the reality. ( Its sad )!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Arranger's are known for their name,but by their music sir.

I Dont Understand With My Minute Pea Brain Why On God Good Earth that People Demonize Panorama. I am Going to Say This One More Time. Who Have Eyes Let The See - Who Have Ears Let the Hear, Without PANORAMA Pan Would Be Dead. You All Better Hold on to it and Stop Talking Spit.

Yes, without Panorama Pan would be Dead in Trinidad & Tobago but it will be alive abroad, that's because we need the right people to Organize it,

Val you are saying "without Panorama pan would be dead" people agree with you, thank GOD for Panorama, but what is also being said is "Pan cannot be reduced to Panorama alone, it bigger than that"

Bede Boy. All I Hear is TALK - TALK - TALK.

Dalton- thanks for this beautiful ,lyrical 'almost -like-being-there' piece of writing.

It reads like music. Made my day! Bless you!

I agree , Lillian. As usual , Dalton's prose is beautiful , and his points are well taken.

And , Dalton knows of which he speaks.

Sorry , Val , but his words are not just "TALK - TALK - TALK."

That's an insult.

Glenroy, happy to see you back. Thanks for the response. You know as well as I do that it just wasn't a Port of Spain event. That the malaise metastasized nationwide. Jouvert ended up as a neighborhood small 'do, in part because the DJs disrespected the ritual of pan's syrupy melodies, as thousands of revelers slow-jammed up and about city streets. Bertie Marshall had the right vibes resonating in his ear: "If the audience can't hear you, then it's your (the musicians') fault. And he amplified the sound, using every penny he earned to effect change. Nobody was interested back then but Bertie and Highlanders. Not even Dr. Williams and  succeeding governments. Think about it: There were far more crowds and great music on Jouvert than Panorama. More pan on Monday mas' , too, than Panorama. You feel me?  Dalton Narine


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