When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

Steelpan still in danger


Pan in danger, sang Merchant in 1985. Today, 26 Panoramas later, it seems danger still exists.

Apparently panmen in Trinidad are fuming over being drowned out by the big music trucks in the recently concluded Carnival. Some steelbands were caught between trucks and one panman said the situation was so frustrating that some of the players went and jumped behind the trucks, since they couldn't be heard anyway.

Even in areas designated as steelband competition points the players couldn't be heard, so loud was the amplified music. Some will lament the indignity meted out to that country's national instrument but it comes as no surprise. Who can fight against thousands of watts of power? Certainly not a few people pushing pans.

Clearly something must be done, otherwise pan on the road, one of the most enjoyable aspects of Carnival, may soon be no more. This is another one for tough-talking and tough-acting Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston Gypsy Peters to take on.

Ironically, at the same time that technology is threatening pan on the road, it is also embracing pan. There is now an app called Real Steelpan available for the iphone and the ipad. It recreates the sound of the pan, very realistically. Soon Ziggy Walcott will be arranging on his ipad. Sweet!

click for full story

Views: 156

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

As the good moral fibres fall apart in every sector and level of society, so will everything else IN THE WORLD. People have lost a sense of respect for self thus, filtering to everyone and everything else. People dont care how they talk, walk, drive, drink, smell, dress, laugh, eat, work; what time they reach to school, work, church to pan practice; they dont care what time a competition/event begins or how they are treated or viewed as performers/artistes. Many dont even care what they say around food; how they treat money, thus, what do we expect?

They dont care about how their instruments/property, personal or otherwise, are treated/being taken care of -- sound, look, feel, touched. THEY JUST DONT CARE!!!!!!

People also dont seem to care whether or not they have the capacity to raise off-springs or children on a whole, properly, yet they just dive into unprotected sex.......DISRESPECT!.

I have had my share of playing on the road and feeling disrespected by either the spectators, revellers or the complained-of DJs, so as I was brought up to not condone disrespect, I simply ceased....hardened my heart, and stopped.

Playing pan on the road is an awesome experience, but all the bad behaviour they "blame it on the alcohol", some other external drug whether illicit, legal or else or, simply the occasion.

That mindset has to be perished!

Pan can be appreciated on the road or in any space but stringent measures must be taken starting with a strong dose of appropriate/spot on  EDUCATION.






"It has always been about the pannist NOT the pan."


absolutely disagree with this.


PHI and e-pan and all dem electronic pan-lookin ting deh may have their place as far as creativity and innovation and teaching tools.  BUT - the INSTRUMENT ITSELF, is the MAGNIFICENT INVENTION.

NOT the person playing it. 


it IS about the pan, the instrument itself - for is de PAN that gave rise to the pannist....  there would be no pannists without the pan coming into existence first.  There would not BE any people on this planet called 'pannist', 'panman' or 'panwoman' if the instrument itself was not invented FIRST.


it IS about the pan - cause the 'pannist' only came into being because a pan was first invented for a person to play.


innovation is well and good, but nothing can come CLOSE to the totally unique sound of an acoustic metal pan. Electronic synthesized sounds don't sound any better because of the "pannist" who's playing it. 

No matter how creative it is, or how good a tool it may be for arranging, teaching, or music notation - it's still artificial, synthesized sound.  When it comes to performance, the bumpy metal bowl produces the superior acoustic sound and tone every single time - and that is the WHOLE POINT. That sound and tone is unique in all the world - and that's what's magnificent about it --  not the pannist who is playing it.

No matter it could be the best panman that ever walked the earth - without the pan ITSELF, there IS no pannist.



and on a related note .... u know they havin a "so called" "carnival" next weekend in West Palm Beach, Florida, and on the flier there's NO PAN listed???   Not ONE steel band.  not even one solo panman or woman performing.


they got no bidness callin that "carnival".  that's just a nice festival with a concert. 



Love your views sista,sounding like a true pan person.
Outstanding, Catt!

Very well said!

It looks like some people think that the future of the pan is the PHI and E-pan


thanks guys.

and Cecil imho, they are only PART of the future of pan.... they will have a place as does all innovation - they will be an adjunct and addition to it -    but they will never 'displace' or 'replace' the real thing.....  


Well said.

"Electronic pan" instruments and the steelpan (pan) belong to 2 separate and quite distinct families of musical instruments. Electronic pan represents innovation in synthesised music. The steelpan is the first instrument in the history of mankind to produce multiple, chromatic notes from a single, fixed membrane of any material.

There is no contest, since the acoustic sound of a steelband provides a very unique and absorbing experience. Anyone who remembers the sound of pan music bouncing off Frederick St buildings on J'ouvert morning will attest to this!

Catt believe it or not West Palm beach carnival was started by pan people and it was disaster from the get go the steelbands spent their money to get there, and they got no money, I took a small side down there and my car and another member's car got damaged going to dey ting and I also sang calypso and just as we were about to sing they bus the mark on us "NO MONEY" we did not even get back gas money or passage, Pan has long lost its place in carnival, I will stop before a spend the rest of my life talking bout the demise and disrespect of pan and pan people


© 2019   Created by When Steel Talks.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service