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Trinidad and Tobago should have some kind of record for calypsonians

This is the year 2011.  In this day and age of computers.. There aught to be in our library records of all our musicians  - calypsonians, and steelbands---- and name the many known steelband men and there are many. Where are all the committees and Associations . they should be  writing all these records in some kind of book  that the public can lookup  or even purchase.. Come on  all you important people. get moving.

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Thats correct,as one of U.K first Gospel Steelband,we are finding it very difficult to link up with any Gospel Steelbands/Singers.. even though we have a web page.... www.calvaryessence.co.uk
I have compiled my own shortlist of gospel bands, which I can give you.
To that I have three things to say. (1) Such archiving is being done, slowly but more and more. UWI has over a hundred interviews with panmen and women. Chalkdust has published "From the Horse's Mouth", which is stories about calypsonians, Ray Funk's Kaiso Newsletter has the same online, Pan Trinbago had published many of my pan pioneers stories online and in book form (If Yuh Iron Good You Is King). UTT has professionally recorded every Panorama tune for the past four years, from preliminaries up to finals. (2) The issue is there should be a single repository where it all could be easily accessed. I'm working on that with other interested people, so it will all be online, including the photos, audio and video recordings. (3) Any project that large isn't for "important people" but for everyone. My own Digital Pan Archive, which has been nominated by UNESCO for its Memory of the World Register, has been successful because HUNDREDS of people contributed. So it's not "Come on all you important people, get moving." Rather, it should be: "How can I help?"

Hi Kim,its so good to know its all under control,could you please contact me, my email address is :





What is also needed is a list of "current" calypso vocalists and gospelypso vocalists and a list of gospel bands located in each country.

The Prize Money must have Increased..............I have noticed that there are about 55 Pan Tunes posted on this website.

Since the inception of this website its the most Pan Tunes ever.Why 2011?.They could haved "saved" some tunes for

2012 and beyond.A lot of the calypsoes have plenty tempo and social commentary.I will be in Trinidad soon to check out

the scene,before and after Carnival 2K11.

Wayne, I think one reason is because there are more composers writing for Panorama than ever before...but then again, some composers sometimes write more than one tune...but I think it's a good thing for pan and for calypso music in general.

If the calypsonians and steelbands have associations/organizations/committees, or bodies of people with offices somewhere, surely someone can organize this.  There must be records stashed in boxes out of sight.  We could dust them off and start the process of entering them into the system.  There are reasons why things are backwards:  no one has the time, no one is interested, laziness, and the old attitude.  ***Cindy***

 Yes 2011 is almost 50 years after we achieved political independence and there are no publicly available records of our creative involvement, participation, progression and achievements in any of our indigenous and other art forms. The neglect of our creation of pan and its development into steelbands in only one of these; I can tell of others but let's stick to the art form that WST represents.

     It is my opinion that "...ought to be", and "...should be" are partly what brought us here in the first, second and third places. Record keeping begins with being responsible by valuing and making records of actions as they happen; most of us who can, don't write and as a result our history is not being written by us. Also, let us face it, we are not writers, we talk, we love to talk: we have been and are still an oral people, that has been our tradition but this must change, as you said "...this is the age of computers. The question is - Can we use the attributes of this digital tool to help us resolve some of these issues? I think with commitment, determination and the willingness to change we can.

    Firstly, stop saying 'nough respect; let us instead honestly respecting ourselves and others, let us respect who we are and what we do. Then let us agree NOW to begin recording digitally what we know and what we can find from wherever about pan and steelband. Remember, we have only a small window of opportunity to do this before existing paper documents in the tropics start to deteriorate and our remaining pan pioneers pass on to the great pan yard in the sky. Time is truly of the essence here.

     Secondly, let us try to lay down some guidelines to alter the future by recording the processes at their very beginnings. Let us start by referring to "pan men and women" as musicians; the term pannist is a copout because regardless of gender or instrument, musicians are properly who they are. Proudly call them musicians. Stop calling new recruits in the panyard "Bob Boy", "Small Man", "Two Left", "Girlie", "Pam-pa-lam" and the countless other nick-names insensitively applied to newcomers. Respect them; call them by their real names. Think of how proud they will feel; think of how their self-esteem and their playing would go up. Then write down their proper names, addresses, and parents, next-of-kin or guardians, the date they first came in, the instrument they are learning, who is responsible for teaching them and their progress notes in a permanent panyard journal. I am not saying that the "Captain" has to do this; I am saying if you want records you have to make them so that they are available. Start keeping records at the pan yard level and move on up the chain.

    You think this is too much? No it is not. We are just playing catch-up: if this was done from the beginning we would know today - Who did what, where, when and with whom. I think I understand a little about my fellow Trinbagonians and will predict that if a couple big bands started implementing this kind of idea; every band would start copying it just because the big bands were doing it.  Extending this idea to include every steelband appearance, competition, music festival, panorama, Carnival and overseas tour will properly begin to provide records of the history of pan's continued progress and development.

    I am a visual artist, a painter who believes in things Trinidadian and Tobagonian; I only recently joined WST but I wish to contribute to raising the level of discourse on our national musical creation. There is much to air and discuss on this and other national subjects and issues; there are also many citizens with useful contributions to offer and since many ideas provide choices, I hope this submission generates some intelligent written responses that address aspects of the problems and issues, for the records.

    Lavway! Lavway! Let's hear the strength of your voice and convictions through your responses. 

    Audley Sue Wing, Trinbagonian Visual Artist



Audley, nice post...documentation is key...however, I wouldn't call the term 'pannist' a copout, rather I would say a pannist is a musician, in much the same way as a pianist or saxophonist. It lets the reader or listener know what instrument they play...if I tell you that I'm a musician, it doesn't tell you much, but if I tell you that I'm a guitarist you know right away what type of musician I am.



Thanks GP. Good point, well taken.

However there is so much work to be done on almost every level. I want to hear our pannists respond with pride "I am a musician, I play double tenor pans" or whatever and equate themselves with counterparts in NY, London or Berlin Symphony Orchestras as musicians at ease and equal among other fellow musicians. Is this wanting too much?

    By the way just saying "I am a pannist" means little or nothing to someone who has no idea what a pan, in our sense, is. I would bet you that they would know what a piano is or a saxophone or a guitar. As I said, there is much work to be done. Do continue to keep the dialogue going.

    Audley Sue Wing, Trinbagonian Visual Artist



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