When Steel Talks was recently contacted by a well-known steelpan music academic who expressed some concern over certain tunes which have been listed in the 2011 Pan Tunes lineup.
The heading "Panorama Tunes for 2011" simply means the composer of the tune sent us written confirmation, with the submission of their music work(s), that they wanted their tune to be considered by steel orchestras for the global panorama seasons of said year.
What do you think?
Please, let me trow in my two cents worth in this tra la la. I'm no Steel pan music academic, just a plain old road bump, who grew-up in and around Calypso and Steel pan. I fully endorse your position at When Steel Talks, relating to what is or is not a Pan Tune. All music was written for vocalist or Instruments. Be it Steel Pan, Brass, Strings, Wind or whatever.
In Trinbago, most of our writers and singers target the national festival called Carnival. The biggest shows coming out of the Carnival is the Steel band show called Panorama. So, off cause most writers and singers target the Panorama Bands, hoping that their tune get a play. In this highly competitive business, is the best vehicle through which they may get some recognition. There is nothing like, and never will be a Pan Tune. Remember, Pan is an Instrument on like no other, and it could play anything.
Keep-up the good work at When Steel Talks.
Michael L Joseph
As a person who has been involved in writing lyrics for "Pan Tunes" since 1972, I have always maintained that "pan could play anything". I also suggest that what the composers have done is to pen songs with pan in mind. That means that we do not have to use the word "pan" and the theme does not have to be about pan. Kitchener is a good example. Songs like "The Wrecker", Bee's Melody", "Mas in Madison" etc were just good tunes for the pan. What makes for a good Panorama selection is an interesting melodic line, chord structure and an original theme that offers the arranger something to develop his arrangement. A song like "Sailing" fits this bill but says nothing about pan. I think it is unfortunate that these songs have been labelled as "Pan Tunes" making the Deejays cast them aside as being not fit for a fete, despite the fact that they have the petrons wailing on Panorama Day. Maybe if Benjai had put "Trini" on my compilation and it had been branded as a Pan Tune (9 bands are playing it), it would never have made the fetes.
Alvin C. Daniell
I have always maintained that the the 'pan tune' is an anomaly caused by an unfortunate and untimely combination of circumstances that gave birth to this pseudo-genre of local music.
Recall that around the late 90s, a few things happened simultaneously:
Thank God, Benjai's music this years represents the beginning of a swing back to melody as the base of carnival music instead of just rhythm. Long before this whole pan tune anomaly began, we had Smooth doing fantastic and lasting arrangements of songs like 'Rebecca', 'Doh Back Back', 'Suck Meh Soucouyant', and 'Curry Tabanca' and Bradley doing 'Sailing' and 'She want me to Sing' and Boogsie with 'Nani Wine' most of which were crowd pleasers, but shunned by the judges (who influence the direction of panorama music), so it is more or less true that pan can 'play anything'.
It will be interesting, especially since the last 2 panorama winners were heavy crowd favourites, how the judging will go this year, and whether we will see more soca music in panorama in years to come or whether it will continue to be an arranger's competition. I for one, hope that we can close this 'pan tune' era and return to playing 'good calypsoes' where panorama is concerned.
Excellent analysis DJ. I think you hit the nail on the head.
The only thing I would add is that, the inability of the composers of the tunes the bands have been playing in recent years to get air play, has contributed immensely to the to this so call category called the "pan tune." However, through the efforts of WST and internet - I think this period of isolation is coming to an end.
This year, more people will come to the panorama knowing the tunes the bands are playing than we've seen in recent years.
I totally agree with these comments, they need to do away with the so called "Pan Tunes" and go back to the tunes like Rebecca and Unknown Band etc. Those were the days of great composers (i.e. Super Blue etc.) and great music.
I totally agree with some of the comments how come some of these composers dont write more than one song because if you listen to some of the tunes and the lyrs some of them dont mesh its good to try your luck but you have to do your home work.peace