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The Big Five - Legendary Steelbands - Are they that good?

Global: The Trinidad and Tobago large band Panorama category is the most prestigious (rightfully so), respected, and accomplished steel orchestra assemblage in all the world. Their panorama music masterpieces are nothing short of remarkable; moreover these music creations can rival any music works from any genre, and any time period. Indeed, and as legendary jazz drummer Max Roach told When Steel Talks after experiencing the event first-hand - “Panorama belongs on a world stage.”

This year, 2013, marks 50 years of music excellence generated from the phenomenon known as “Panorama.” Contributing in no small part to its success, is what has now become known as the “Big Five.”  These five steel orchestras have demonstrated a success rate and musical dominance over the event which only bolster the folklore and historic tales associated with these fabled organizations.

So are they that good? Is it myth, perception or reality? The ‘Big Five’ are Exodus, Trinidad All Stars, Phase II, Renegades and Desperadoes.

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Glenroy - WST has no issues with anything you have said. Our focus "today" is on Panorama. The significance and greatness of the others you mentioned cannot be and will not be eclipsed or written out of history - at least not on When Steel Talks.

Thank you, Pan Times.

I try to be as clear as possible in anything that I write, and I know that you also try to do the same.

That's why the omission of  the word "Panorama" as in "Legendary PANORAMA Steelbands"  from the title of your post must have been an oversight  :)

Yes , Casper Durant , as far as I'm concerned ,Tripoli Steel Orchestra definitely deserves to be called "Legendary".

Yes, Glenroy ... I hear you.  But you can't leave out Despers, having given us Melda [1966] and Margie[69?]


What are u talking about pan aroma If so u may be right, other than that u are wrong.

Thanks Pan Times. No problem!

While I greatly appreciate this article for recognizing the Big Five and I believe that we are getting closer to the music world recognizing pan music as a serious catergory around the world, I find that I must vent a little.  It has been a difficult road to travel for most of the people involved in the pan movement in T&T.  Hard work, long hours, not enough financing and denigration by other members of society became of a way of life for the pioneers of pan.  I find it shameful that Panorama's 50th anniversary has been completely overlooked in terms of a global celebration.  One would have thought that Pantrinbago would have produced an event worthy of the accomplishments of all steelbands in T&T to honour the 50th anniversary of Panorama.  The Big Five, all the other steelbands' players, all the innovative arrangers, drill masters, tuners, inventors, song writers and others involved  who have worked so hard over the last fifty years should have been recognized as organizations and citizens who have done a great deal to put Trinidad & Tobago on the world stage when it comes to the development and progress of the ONLY instrument invented in the twentieth century.  Why is it that we hold noone accountable for this gross over sight?  If the government subsidizes funding for Pantrinbago why wasn't the ministry associated with culture paying attention and ensuring that Pantrinbago organized a huge event ?  Maybe Pantrinbago needs some guidance in how to not just honour our pan community but to take advantage of a marketing opportunity bar none for Trinidad and Tobago.  Do they have any idea how much people would have been willing to spend to witness an event such as this?  Pantribago missed an opportunity to garner serious revenue.  Tourists and musicians who visited our country, several of whom are seriously knowledgeable and well versed in our pan culture, were expecting something huge and got nothing. One can just imagine what it feels like for us born and bred panjumbies.  The Steelband community and most of us panjumbies live purely for Panorama.  It's the be-all and end-all of pan.  However, in my land of bacchanal life goes on but maybe, just maybe, Pantrinbago could as yet pull-off something to recognize the 50th anniversary of our beloved Panorama and the contributions of all involved.

Well put.

Some moments stay with you and I remember leaving for J'ouvert and hearing the sweet sound of Guiness Cav. filling the air. As the winner I believed they had to play in POS.

Several yrs. ago my cafeteria at a top 10 company had a Caribbean team for lunch. Was I happy to hear the steelband music but was shocked when I saw a white guy playing Mr. Walker from music sheet accompanied by couple other instruments.  After the show I asked him where he learned to play the pan. He said, Ellie Mannette, it was an elective course at a university. Now that is legendary.

Pan Times, or (WST) can you please post the interview with Max Roach stating that "Panorama belongs on a world stage". ( or send to my email     sal_wils@hotmail.com    

This is important information that I would like to have for a research project that is due in two weeks



No problem

Max Roach Remembered http://ning.it/13FACD1

Thanks Pan Times

much appreciated, we do need more people of the calibre of Max Roach speaking out so positively for the Pan ...Much Appreciated Max... R.I.P.



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