Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
THEY TIEF WE
Well that is usually the cry when your band loses the Panorama finals, the big steelpan festival during Trinidad and Tobago carnival. Especially if the band was favoured to win or at least give a good account of themselves.
Phase II Pangroove is regarded as one of the big three or big five, that dominate the competitions every year.
This time a lot of people felt that Phase II did not bring it.
The judges placed the mighty Phase in seventh place during the semi-finals of the competition, prompting arranger Len “Boogsie” Sharpe to change the entire arrangement in the short time between the semis and the finals.
The new version of the music was a complex arrangement of the song with the band going through extremely complicated and challenging passages, drawing on different genres of music, including some very sweet jazz riffs and an extended ending that kept the listener wondering if and when the song would end. The new direction, although admired by the faithful following, brought questions to many as to whether or not the music was appropriate for the Panorama competition.
For one thing the music might have been 'over the heads' of the judges or maybe just too far off centre.
Everybody acknowledges that there is a Panorama formula and it changes from time to time. Andy Narell, the US born and based pan composer, would not compromise his style to fit the Panorama mould when he took the band Birdsong to the finals and look what they did to him. Although the composition and performance were solid, the band did not place, ostensibly because the arrangement was too slow and did not fit into the expectations of the Panorama judges.
Boogsie may have gone too far out in left field, but the long ending was not doing him any favours. To accommodate it, the tune had to be played very fast since there is a strict time limit and in the finals it was played much too fast, falling quite short of the allotted time, so it seemed that the long ending was added to make up time, when in fact it took too much time and spoiled the music by forcing the band to play too fast.
There was just too much stuff going on in there for the judges to catch at that speed. They eventually placed the band in sixth position, drawing a loud response from the crowd that had given their performance a rousing round of applause during the competition. Even the television announcers had Phase II in at least second position.
All Stars, the eventual winner, got the nod because they had popular support of hundreds of their fans accompanying the band, not because the arrangement was so much better, if it even was better, but having a very popular song means that the work is already half done and the judges ruled accordingly.
For Phase II, changing the music completely in the week that it took did not help of course, since a lot of the music was being composed in the last hours before the competition and not every pan player can keep up that kind of effort, no matter how willing they are, but that was not the big problem, as no obvious mistakes were made during the performance.
In fact, the word performance should not have been used to describe one of the main criteria for judging the bands. It should properly be termed execution, since performance conjures up the image of a spectacle rather than a solid execution of the music. So a band that performs well, meaning jumping around, dressing snazzily, adding visual distractions or smoke and mirrors, could well be given more points than a band that simply executed the music well. Moreover, there should be consideration given to degree of difficulty as is done in other competitions, both sporting and musical.
If the judges considered only the musical aspects of the composition, nothing was a good as Boogsie's music and the Phase II execution, but obviously it is not strictly a musical competition. Popular support counts.
In any case maybe it's time the Panorama format was revised
Haha...This is sooo monotonous every year hearing this or that about the judging or criteria everytime someone's band doesn't win, but, if the band wins and keeps on winning, everything is great...Dammit, get over it like the rest of bands do and come better the next year or stay da hell out of the competition. There are bands that have never ever bin'even close to the winners circle (top 3) but they come each year with a fighting spirit n hope in their hearts. So, if your band's arrangement/performance didn't cut it this time, congratulate the winners and move on because that's what the loosers do when your band comes out victorious.
Finally a rational response to the irrational reactions after panorama.
People forget Phase II has been a top band of the past decade, winning multiple times and generally placing high. They drop this year and suddenly the judging is a problem...
Excellent response to that phase II supporter
I understand you love your band but, I would like you to show/tell us what about the arrangement in The Hammer is the same as this year's Full Extreme...and pls, don't use the over-beaten cliche of talking about chromatics, every band in the panorama uses it, including yours...so tell us, what is the same about the too arrangements?!
I keep hearing Curry Tabanca from people. But if they were really studying the music they would see the greatest similarity is to Soca Warriors, in mood and vibe. At any rate, for actual identical recycled music I'm still waiting for someone to give me an exact example of Smooth "doing the same arrangement". I've listened to Full Extreme over a dozen times now and Curry Tabanca hundreds of times and nothing stands out, and I have an ear for those kinds of things. So perhaps it's just an arranger continuing to use his signature sound which all long-established arrangers do--yes, even Sharpe.
And no, I'm not an All Stars person but as a fan of all of the bands and music overall I try to take an objective view and it's disingenuous for people to seriously pick apart the judges and winning tune on a musical level, while making musically uninformed and unsubstantiated claims themselves such as "it's just Curry Tabanca again". No, it's just Smooth again.
Congrats to All Stars and we should all be thankful that an arranger who first won almost four decades ago is still with us and quite in the game. All other bands (mine included) pick up the pieces and come again harder next year.
See, there you go again saying "the songs sound the same" but you "can't pinpoint it exactly" which is it? if you dare to make such a claim, you should know exactly what you're talking about or are you just parroting what none supporters of the band say. Don't mix up what you seem to not understand as an arranger's style as to playing the same thing every year, if so then all arrangers are guilty of what you're accusing one band of, if you truely understand music as a whole you will understand that every arranger or composer has a signature style that one can easily identify, be it the classics of Chopin, Bethoven and others of that period or Miles Davis, James Brown or Barry White or Lord Kithener, Blakie,Shadow or Bunji Garlin...So brother, learn/know the difference of playing the same thing and having a particular style of playing something....Oh and by the way, I never said anything about you saying another band should have won, if you read my reply again you will see i'm dealing with your claim about All Stars playing the same thing since the Hammer...which is a nonsense phrase often used by you ad others when your band don't win, and is stuck just like you are right now unable to prove what you're claiming.
That was the right position for Phase II. First of all, they had a poor song. You cannot win all. You win some, you lose some. Last year, All Stars were not good. This year they were the best. That's the way it goes in life.
Interesting analysis Wayne