August 13, 2016
I sometimes come across videos from the Hang Playing Hedge Monkeys and am utterly gobsmacked at the millions of views their YouTube videos seem to consistently garner. When watching the Hang Monkeys play, I cannot help but to think that these monkeys are not doing anything special in pan related, musical terms that would warrant such an absurd amount of attention.
As far as traditional steelpan videos, many of the best and brightest performances ever recorded often spend years on YouTube without even breaking 1000 views. This is truly sad, but getting emotional about it will not help matters. Instead, I tend to prefer to think critically about this phenomenon and ask, ''why?''.
Len ''Boogise'' Sharpe is arguably the best solo steelpan performer who has ever lived. The following virtuoso performance of his, which is a Lord Kitchener steelpan standard, has to date only received 421 views, despite being uploaded more than 3 years ago:
Earl Rodney, whose name also comes up quite often in the G.O.A.T. debate and who also happens to be someone whom I greatly respect and look up to as a pannist, barely scraped by the 1000 views milestone as of today. And this stunning display of steelpan soloist mastery has been on YouTube for more than 5 years:
The third and final video is from The Mighty Jamma, and features some brilliant, innovative solo techniques on the tenor pan. Jamma, who is a UK steelpan champion has yet to experience similar YouTube related success judging from the fact that the following performance of Lord Kitchener standards has only 1538 views at the time of posting:
I could keep on posting numerous steelpan videos like the three above, as there are many more gems like these! Hopefully the point should be very clear by now, however. The brightest pan performing lights of our time are very dim where the YouTube masses are concerned, i would also argue that this lack of Youtube recognition concerning the steelpan greats also translates into real life, away from cyberspace.
So again, I ask, ''why?''
To be discussed.
The last time I posted the Earl Rodney video on WST recently, it only had 700 odd views. It presently has approx. 1050 views as of today, so I know WST was responsible for that near 50% hike in views!
Keep supporting the real!
Meanwhile, brothers like Jamma are coming on WST thinking that this travesty of pan is due to lack of marketing or sponsors, but nothing could be further from the truth!
Rudy: I have been one of your biggest fans since you came on this forum and I have read all your postings and respect your writing style and intelligence. But if you do not know why that BOOGSIE video failed to mesmerize the rest of the world way it did you -- then I have to reassess your OBJECTIVITY when it comes to PAN MUSIC.
Okay Claude, please give us your take on the Boogie video.
As far as me being ''mesmerised'' by this particular video, objectively speaking, I posted this particular example not because i was ''mesmerised'', but because the fact that this video featuring one of the biggest names in pan in his prime, could only muster 400 odd views after 3 years of being on youtube.
I know your personal view is that Boogsie is an ''acrobat'' and not a pannist who is particularly to your liking, but be honest! No matter what you think of the man, surely this video of his deserves more than 400 odd views after 3 years online, especially considering the fact that the Hang Monkey fellas regularly get millions of views for doing things on a pan that a monkey can do!
Regardless of the bad form or technique, or whatever you think Boogsie is lacking, in the video above, more than 90% of pannists will never be able to play what Boogsie played in the video above!