When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

by Dr. Kenyon Williams

Reprinted at the request of Dr. Williams


Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - In the spring of 2012, Andy was invited by the band to come down and play in their June benefit concert at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), which raises funds for both the Academy and for music scholarships for Academy graduates. After working with the students and performing in the benefit, Dennis Phillip asked Andy if he would be interested in serving as the band’s arranger for Panorama 2013. “I jumped at it!” Narell recalls.


But the vision of the board was much more than just bringing a new arranger to the panyard. “One of the reasons we talked to Andy was because of his network [of pan players],” states Dennis. “That wasn’t an accident, it was a strategy.”


birdsong invited Andy to bring international pan players with him. “They told me to go ahead, tell everybody, and not just tell everybody, but try to bring the Paris band,” said Andy. For over ten years, Narell has been working with a band of 25 to 30 players, which are a part of the Calypsociation School of Steelpan in Paris. Using this core group as his test vehicle, Andy began to write the music for birdsong’s Panorama composition in August and then began to teach it to the members of the band. Almost everyone who learned the piece wanted to come, and 22 soon made the commitment to travel to Trinidad.

read full article

Views: 1452

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I'm not feeling this Brenda. There parts of this article that are offensive. Can you imagine if great accomplished arrangers like Babu from Antigua or Peck from Grenada or Ivan Smith of St. Lucia had led a contingent and had done the exact same thing with the same attitude with Bridsong what Trinidad would be saying. Or God forbid if some great Nigerian musician was leading the birdsong exchange program /encounter.

Brenda if Andy had done well at the Panorama this article would have been one paragraph. We came. We saw. We conquered.


We seem to be bombarded with articles about Andy Narell these days  this have me wondering if there is some sort of  hidden agenda here.

I am aware this post is about "the birdsong experience" but the lead player is Mr Narell. It is without a doubt he could only add to the good work that is already being done by the birdsong organization.

Although this post is informative, I personally will take offense  to the areas where foreigners try to tell Trini how to arrange his panorama tune, because they don't know what is the "spirit of carnival" they doh know what is "wey-lay, wey-lay or rah-T-ray" they don't know what is carnival fever, all these are emotions that go into a panorama song, so when someone travel to T&T for 2 months before panorama  start talking about change it ticks me off.

As for Mr Narell panorama music, the results will always be the same if he chooses to go with music that has a more Latin flavor, he has to come with a Trini vibe.

For the record I have great respect for Andy, I love his music and is thankful for all that he is doing for PAN.

Cecil why do you have to keep apologizing for liking Andy's music?


Bugs, Would you believe that my wife work-out with Andy Narell [The Passage] CD every day? I feel compel to let people know that I like Andy's music, It's just in certain areas I find he tries to teach us a thing or two, all that is good  if we didn't know it, perfect example is when he told players how to hit the pan .

Personally I find that there is a lot of talking down from Andy these days. This is just my opinion.

Hello People, First off, give ourselves a hand clap for the open minded way in which we have accepted non Trinidadians into our Culture, which no one seem to notice. Up to the present we still have Trinidad born musicians with good skills on any level of music (Classical and Calypso) that started from scratch and today are not yet recognized without prejudice.  I am fine with that because that is how we are with our own people. But I just don't get or maybe they don't get it that this Music is an African based music which took many years of determination  to keep intact and to preserve for future generations. This is not about an arrangement of a particular Panorama song. This is a much larger picture about music that we have made our own and has molded developed and shaped throughout different periods of our development as a people. This music is Trinidad's creation for Trinidadian that's presented to the world in our format as we choose. Music is influenced by the way it is accepted by the ear not by dictating in critical terms how it should and should not be played. P.S Try getting invited to Spain enter a Flamingo contest  and tell the Spanish people how to present their music. Just ridiculous. Some people need to leave their egos at home and  get some manners when dealing with foreign Cultures and stop being just plain rude. A.Joseph

Ms. Lusk, that is the critical point about Andy Narell's attitudes and opinions, to which I was trying to aver. Your parallel is spot on, in my opinion. I do not feel that the correct way to "embrace" a culture, is by attempting to redefine it. I am still confused, as to what Mr. Andy Narell thinks is so fundamentally-wrong with the way we have been approaching arranging for Panorama. Also, I hope that he understands why some people may think of it as being a slap in our faces. And again, it simply reminds me of Christopher Columbus' "discovering" of the "New World". I am not sure if Mr. Narell sees these parallels, but the position of dominance is what offends me personally, whether his motives are well-intended or ill-intended. And, THAT, only God knows, so I guess, we'll just have to trust him. Or question him, and face the fallout. Oh well...


I disagree with you, Ghost. I think that artists at the talent level of Boogsie, Greenidge  Bradley and Narell stamp their personality on their music.

That includes their life experience, background etc

So, if Panorama had to become an international genre, there will have to be room for others with different ideas and life experiences to contribute.

IMHO the only criteria for Panorama music should be the calypso tempo and rhythm.

Like I keep saying, Panorama music is not Carnival music. It is Classical Music for Pan

And as I also say, lets separate panorama from Carnival, and free up the arrangers to take the music where they will.

Unless we wish to keep the Panorama local., and not allow for outside influences

That's a different story.

I will add Pelham Goddard and Professor - Panorama music is be-young Carnival with the Internet and PBS channels - I foresee in the near future the music selling commercially as a DVD & CD

Glenroy, I wonder why do people shake their head, fold their arms or kick back and listen whenever Ray Holman or Andy Narell music is being performed?


T D Jakes  have nothing on you, yuh PREACH....

If we wish for continued growth of the Panorama music genre, we have to stop thinking in terms of only Trinidadian arrangers arranging in a Trinidadian style as the only authentic style in that genre.

We seem to be confused about this, Cecil.

If panorama has to become universal, we have to allow for arrangers of different backgrounds to add their experiences and influences to the genre.

I don't know why Cecil would expect an arranger to subdue his personality and arrange within certain parameters, to sound Trinidadian.

In other words, to try to arrange with a fake Trinidadian accent

Andy Narell is not Bradley.

He comes to panorama with his own history and background and arranges from that perspective.

If one day we should have say a Japanese panorama arranger, I would hope he would add something different to the Panorama experience and not try to be Bradley, Boogsie , Smooth or Jit.

I expect no less from Narell.

I remember once hearing Byron Lee saying that he had great difficulty mastering the phrasing of Trinidadian music.

Yet, Byron Lee's calypso arrangements had a profound influence on the sound of Trinidad's music in the sixties and seventies even as he mastered the phrasing that had he found so difficult.

Heard of David (Happy)Williams? He is one of the finest Jazz Bassists in Jazz today. He is Trinidad born son of the great icon John (Buddy) Williams, has been playing for 25 to 30 years on the jazz scene (with Cedar Walton, Ornette Coleman, Benny Golson, Elvin Jones, Bobby Hutcherson, Freddy Hubbard just to name a few) and has developed into a hell of a musician over the years.  He has yet to change the face of jazz and I am sure that is not one of his goals. When you understand where a culture stands and where it's heading, you just need to follow, in the same way that it got to where it is presently. To do that you must become part of the culture, not the antitheses of the culture.  Ansel Joseph


© 2020   Created by When Steel Talks.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service