When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

by Dr. Jeannine Remy
Little Women in Pan

Global - The steelpan music of Trinidad and Tobago has certainly come a long way in the past 50 years from 21 participating bands in 1963 preliminaries to 156 bands (totals for single, small, medium, and large) participating in the 2013 preliminaries. This number increases with the addition of the junior panorama (age 21 and under), which totaled 45 bands (primary, secondary, and non-school) at prelims. With a grand total of 201 bands this season, this type of growth proves that the steelpan movement is alive and well in Trinidad and Tobago.

Part of the growth in the number of panists over the years is due to the fact that many have steelband programs in their schools. This will continue as the Pan in the Classroom Unit, through the Ministry of Education, continues to place Pan teachers and instruments in schools which currently do not have such programs. As the youngsters age and want to continue playing pan, they find themselves in the non-schools category of junior panorama, which also encompasses youngsters who do not have pan in their school.
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I read the entire article by Jeannine Remy.  Sad.  I cannot BELIEVE she is still on this "foreign judges" tip.  And for that, I am re-posting my response when she advised to do just this back in 2011  http://www.panonthenet.com/tnt/2011/news/oped/panorama-observe-3-17..., and it came up in a topic related to Pelham Goddard and judges here http://whensteeltalks.ning.com/forum/topics/pelham-goddard-thoughts-on.

This was my response.  I see also that another "bright" fool is right up her alley and on this same tip with 'lack of smart judges' http://whensteeltalks.ning.com/forum/topics/lack-of-smart-judges.  Well, oh for some brilliant, intelligent, musical and confident Trinbagonian minds!


I am speaking as a Trinidadian, Noah:  hear this - what is ridiculous, in your eyes, is of no consequence. 


There is no "we" about this.  You are not Trinidadian or Tobagonian, some of my panman liming partners and friends are real familiar with you, you are always here in Trini for Panorama, it doh seem like you miss a year.   My wife even reminded me that she sees you sometimes on the float playing up on Renegades rhythm section.  


As a foreigner yourself you are extremely out of line to find it ridiculous if some Trinbagonians as my self see the value of making full use of more than superbly qualified Trinbagonian musicians to do the job of judging our panorama.  Pray, tell me, why should jobs Trinbagonians or Caribbean nationals can do be outsourced further afield? Pelham has listed people like Leston Paul, and there are also the likes of Carl Beaver Anderson, Roy Cape and more who are musicians par excellence and rank up there with the best.  Unfortunately, the majority of us Trinbagonians, and actually more Trinidadians  than Tobagonians really have this very, very, very nasty habit of preferring many things foreign. Even when we have the very resources here we still look to foreign, which is considered “better” to do what we can fully do our selves. 

We’re still colonial here in TnT, and when Madame Judge Remy says that “we” (which “we” is she talking about?  She is a qualified musical expert and has been here a while and experienced with our panorama and steelpan but she is not Trinidadian); anyway she says that “we” have foreign judges for our music festivals.  Assuming she’s talking especially about our festival which we have every two years, and of which the competition classes (though not all in past years), were originally modeled on a european/western civilization and even classical concept, so the baggage of bringing in foreigners (english judges) to judge were part of the course.  Also on the foreign tip, people used to say and it’s still true: every time America catches a cold, Trinidad sneezes.


Your point about the people who have no TT or WI heritage whatsoever - living outside of TT and who understand panorama etc. etc, is exactly what is wrong with this issue.   With all due respect to them and their competence, and that includes andy narell, there is enough stuff for them to be involved with steelband people and stuff in America. 


So, let me see - pay for living accommodation of a very high standard, along with foreign professional fees for said judges, because no foreign musician, educator or judge, is going to fly down to Trinidad for the panorama season for the peanuts they might be paying to the local judges, of course.  No thanks. Our taxpayer dollars, mine included (since PanTrinbago is government funded) are not about to be paid out unjustifiably in this case, to more foreigners.  We already have two unnecessary canadians who are "foreigners" heading our Police force here in Trinidad who were forced down our throats by this government.


We Trinis as a people always, always, fall over ourselves in our eagerness to get the "foreign" stamp in anything and in this case bringing foreigners here to "judge" Panorama would be just another case. Why?  Because if a foreigner comes and says it's ok and gives it a stamp of approval, we Trinis "really reach" in our minds.  And as a last resort even before we get to americans, if things were really an issue, there are several qualified Caribbean musicians, not americans, who are over-qualified, just as some Trinbagonians, who can get the job done.


Hear me clearly:  with all respect to foreigners, if we Trinis do not have the resources of knowledge locally, say for example, to build a large satellite, or in case of competition, to judge a Sumo wrestling competition for example, then of course, we should contract whoever can get the job done, and that would mean foreigners then so be it.


However if we per chance have that technical expertise to take care of issues, then we as Trinidadians and Tobagonians should be the ones to take care of business assuming we can move the corrupt officials at every level of business and in every aspect of Trinbagonian life - out of the way.

There are enough qualified people, with proven bodies of work as musicians, but who don't toe PanTrinbago's bullshit line, and not into payola, "favouritism" and that stuff, who can judge panorama.  But will things ever change? I cannot say that I really see hope there.


You think this "is insulting"??  I'll tell you what is insulting, and an indictment, that so many Trinbagonians agree with you, and have no respect and confidence in themselves as a people, qualified and comparable with any other.

50 Years of Panorama yet no one pays tribute or recognizes the only man who arranged in the first Panorama in 1963 and also in 2013.

Ray congratulations and maybe why they don't recognize you is that your music is too far ahead and out of sight.


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