Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
In a letter to When Steel Talks -
After again witnessing an almost complete domination by the DJ trucks, veteran and champion arranger for Trinidad and Tobago's Exodus Steel Orchestra asked this question , "Where is the Pan in Carnival?"
Pelham said, in a recent interview he asked the President of Pan Trinbago to immediately create a separate route for the steelbands so they would not have to compete with the loudness of the DJs. Pelham fears that unless something is done very soon, Pan will be phased out of carnival completely in Trinidad and Tobago carnival.
This is not a a matter of nostalgia, or wishful thinking, Noah and others. Some of us have an historical perspective on the steel-band, its role in our culture and its rightful place in our signature festival, the Carnival.
I know many, especially the youth who think panorama is the be all and end all of the steelband.
In a way, I don't blame them, since that may be all they have experienced, but the steelband is and can be much more.
One still describes the Trinidad Carnival with the expression 'steelband and calypso", but today that expression is meaningless.
We can and should do something about that, but it would take action and initiative by all the parties with stakes in the carnival and the culture.
That would include the Government, the Carnival Development Committee ( or whatever they currently call themselves), The Bandleaders, PanTrinbago, the media and all interested parties who recognize the importance and potential of a better integration of the steel-bands into the Carnival celebrations. .
A neo-classical pan festival that needs and additional attraction- the Greens- to encourage support and attendance from Carnival revelers just doesn't do it.
And BTW, I love that "neo classical pan festival", but over the decades its music has become less relevant to the Carnival, which is why I have maintained that the festival should be moved to a different time of year.
The only unique feature of Trinidad Carnival is THE PAN......
We can't compete with Brazil for bikini, or nice costumes or floats.......they will kill we with these.
But to have percussion producing sweet melody as only a PAN could....We Carnival is the only one......
When Pan gone, TRINIDAD Carnival is BOO, when compared to almost every one else......
Raphael O'Neal, you tell them.
It would be nice if Pelham could ask the membership of XO this question and also for suggestions on how to fix it.
Steelbands have always depended on others to speak for them and look where they are now, the time has come for them to chart their own destiny.
On the drag Finals night I heard Skiffle play a beautiful bomb tune "All the way"
Maybe some other bands could follow their lead and learn another tune to play on the drag like old times.