by Dalton Narine - A When Steel Talks Exclusive
I wasn’t at all mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the performances by Renegades, Desperadoes and Phase II in the Panorama Large Band semi-final. I believed it would happen and expected the results from the git-go — the moment I heard (and fully grasped) Voice’s rich counterculture message, a song out of step with the prevailing social norm but at peace with the Gades, Despers and their supporters.
I wondered why Massy Trinidad All Stars (TAS) neglected to form the third side of an equilateral triangle located plumb in the heart of history; of the teething steel band’s fight for rights to jam on the road, even dominance and the strong hold of machismo; where complete mayhem broke out time and again on respective turfs in the surrounding communities: the original Hell Yard dry river digs and Renegades’ and Desperadoes’ pan yards.
OK, that was then, but we haven’t evolved. Instead, we’ve devolved into an unpleasant life of madness across the nation. It’s why the song evokes the power of love from the heart, as well as the power of darkness in the land.
A few TAS friends take issue with my rant. They think a lightning flash has blinded me and corked my ears. They should mind their business and concentrate on getting Skiffle off their backs, let alone leapfrogging Phase II, Despers and Renegades.