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Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music


When I joined Trinidad All Stars in 1973 almost all of the members were employed, some were welders they welded the pan racks some were painters they painted the pans others were employed as Docks workers; mechanics,police officers,Porters,taxi Drivers,tailors,Customs Brokers, Selling snow cones and many more fields of employment. After Carnival or Stage side practice over at whatever hour we rush home to get some sleep and report to work next morning,NBA,,BASEBALL,FOOTBALL PLAYERS, REGGA ARTISTS,SINGERS,CLASSICAL SINGERS AND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS,Do this for a living. They eat sleep and dream their careers while the pan men and women play pan for the love of it but make a living employed in another field of employment..Is it that members having another means of living holding back the advancement of the Steel Bands.

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We don't appreciate what we do in our own country so we don't have anything to live off.

Pan has NEVER had a better UPWARD TRAJECTORY in TRINIDAD than it has today!!!!

I would challenge that , Claude.

I would say from about 1955 to about say mid 70s- around 1975 or so, pan it T&T was on a steady upward trajectory.

Don't get carried away ,now .

Some of us have been in town too long , as Chalkie would say.

Their will be no upward trajectory as long as the steelband is preoccupied with panorama.

How about this for some comic relief, Pan On The Greens, Party On The Greens or Pan Splash whatever you may call it, is the new/better upward trajectory, the only problem is, the members are not seeing that MONEY.  My advice to you Earl is keep your day job.

odw, that's called the "PIMPING" of steelband.

Cecil: I copyright the term "PIMPING THE PAN" -- you CANNOT use it without my permission.

odw, when executives stop buying and driving expensive cars and building large mansions, only then will there be enough for pan people to make a decent living, ent?!

Glenroy: You have to look at the BROAD PARTICIPATION!!!

Glenroy: You have over 200 bands participating in PANORAMA when you add up the JUNIOR STEELBANDS and the SENIOR STEELBANDS. You have all kinda PAN PROJECTS going on at UWI. All kinda pan in school and modification of the PAN YARD configuration. You have all kinda people researching pan all over Trinidad. You have more sponsorship money pouring into pan than ever before (ah real big sponsorship announcement going and get release soon); not to mention all the Johnnie come latelies and big pimping who are jumping into the PAN RING adding to the flames. And on top of that you have this GUILT ISSUE where people don't feel that they did enough when they should have been helping so they are now moving in from every angle trying to get their name attached to the movement. VERY BROAD PARTICIPATION.

Claude , most if not all of the innovations of the modern steelband happened in the period mentioned , from about 1955 to about 1975.

That was the period when we moved from pan round neck to those large chariots of today.

That was the period of invention and creation - double tenors , cellos , multiple basses , tenor basses etc.

That was also an era when there was more community identification with the local steelband , so there was participation, especially by the neighborhood youth.

I know most younger pan people only see the steelband as it relates to panorama.Well , that was the period when panorama was created.

That was the period when steelbands like Tripoli toured , and made appearances on major TV shows in the US and elsewhere.

In those days , it seems like every carnival steelbands were bigger , had something new , and sounded sweeter than before.

In those days , people like Bertie was even experimenting with amplification. remember the Bertphone?.

This was the era when the best and most creative pan pioneers , particularly the tuners were active, in their prime , and at their best. 

And a lot of this progress was made with little assistance or acknowledgement of the creators by the powers that be ,whether they be sponsors , or government.

Most of what you mention are part of a natural evolution , not necessarily about innovation.

So yes , That was the period when there was the most growth , an era filled with optimism , and hope for the future.

I am not in complete agreement with this position.  With 200 bands in the competition, that should translate to at least 10,000 players in the competition.  I doubt that we can find as much as 6,000 truly uniquely identified players.  In addition I also believe that we would find fewer than 50 of these bands actually have a functioning stage side that can perform throughout the year.  Events like Pan in the country side or pan on the avenue, see the same bands year after year.  I am sure that we have well over 500 schools in Trinidad, and I have to wonder how many of them, 54 years later, have a steelband in school, whether they take part in competition or not.  I agree that there is much more activity in the industry than there was 20 years ago, and even on this point I have to wonder how much of this is a reaction to what has been happening outside of Trinidad.  More money is being pumped into pan but, but more non pan players profit from these injections.  A player would spend weeks, with long hours each day, to get 1,000.00.  A vendor will come on the night panorama alone and make that same 1,000.00.  I agree more is happening, but I have to question the direction, or lack thereof, that this is going.  The ones who are benefiting are those who have a personal drive or vision and willing to seek out opportunities.  Some are bursting wholes in walls to make a doorway for themselves while others are fortunate enough to find the doorway that someone else broke.


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