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The Pope and the Pan: Challenging Caribbean Inferiority and Cultural Prostitution

Trinidad & Tobago News

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - There was a picture recently of Pope Francis playing the Steelpan next to T&T president Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona who presented it to him as a gift. This picture was published by the media, several Steelpan websites and has made its way around various social media platforms. One website exclaimed: "Truly a great day for our nation and our national instrument! The pope is a Trini now!" Another Steelpan website expressed, "Steelpan is the sweetest!! Just ask the Pope."

....It was considered a crime to play drums, and engage in certain forms of African-Trinidadian spirituality and it was this colonial repression that gave energy to the creation of a new medium of self-expression. And it was so that the energy, passion and emotions of Shango rituals and Shango drummers, community bad johns and other elements were channeled into the creation and evolution of the Steelpan.

....the Pan cannot be separated from its history and I doubt that President Carmona's Steelpan gift to the pope was accompanied by an explanation, whether oral or written, that the Pan emerged as part of resistance to brutalities of empire and colonialism of which the Church (and Christian European Nations) was a CENTRAL part. If leaders think that bringing up this historical context is undiplomatic then the people, unfettered by such diplomatic straitjackets must remind them.
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I must say, this  article was well written and very informative,hats off to the writer who I would like to know 


Well said, Ras! Beautifully  expressed.

I just wish that T&T President Carmona had brought along a budding young steel panist to play a Calypso song for the pope, instead of just striking a few notes himself, and having the pope do the same. The pope could have fallen in love at first sight with pan.

The gift of a pan is a goodwill gesture, if when we present this gift we remind these people that their ancestors beat we tail rape we women and lock we up it takes the good out of the will.


You took the words right out of my mouth.


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