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Would pan be better off if it was a Jamaican invention?

Ace panist and arranger Duvone Stewart says


What do you think?

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Only if you assume there can be no substitute for Panorama at Carnival time, Cecil.

You think the steelbands will sit down and do nothing?

Without the demands of Panorama, I'm sure the steelbands will find many ways to showcase them selves on the best stage of them all, which is the Carnival itself.

The way it look to me without panorama a lot of bands would not exist, I agree that we have to get bands back on the road for carnival but it looks like the old panmen are battered and the young ones don't give ah shit.

I am in 100% agreement with this statement. 

how this discussion reach to panorama?

Because it all ties together, Mac.

One of the reasons that steelband music is seen as 'seasonal" is because it is married to the carnival via  its primary celebration , the Panorama .

Since the carnival is seen as seasonal, then steelbands become seasonal.

Jamaican culture is not seen as 'seasonal"

We cannot address the future of the steelband in Trinidad without addressing the elephant in the room that is panorama, for better or worse.

I hear you Glenroy...but BET Awards and Panorama are a joke compared to the strides that Panists are making in education and prformance world wide...and by that I mean people like Liam Teague, Mia Gormandy, Johnathan Scales, (though not a Trini) and so many others...panorama in no way promotes music education and literacy (although it could and should) ...and without proper know how in the first place, aspiring to BET and Grammy awards etc is wasting time and will remain a dream for most who see it as important...sorry to further change the direction of the discussion but that is my take on what is important...

Check out "Jamaicans at the Bet awards and The Trini responce" by Rubadri Victor.

As Cecil said earlier, Mac, we tend to use the expression "Pan' to cover a wide range, from the individual panist to small groups to large traditional steelbands.

Pan is doing fine, many panists are having successful careers and I'm happy for them. The instrument itself has become a world wide phenomenon.

My concern is about the growth and sustenance of the large traditional steelbands, particularly in Trinidad and Tobago.

This means figuring out the best ways of promoting that growth, including the efficient use of available funding and finding ways of generating more funds, so that bands and players benefit from their efforts.

This may mean upsetting the status quo, and maybe changing the way that some things are done today, and every aspect of steelband activity should be on the table.


This is the way that I see it. The steelband could never survive as long as there are DJs around, special routes for steelbands cannot work because it will take them away from the flow of the carnival.

The only way the steelband can survive is to be given a carnival day all by themselves to play their mas, thus giving them a opportunity to generate their own funds.

This is my version of  "upsetting the status quo and changing the way some things are done" Of the two carnival days Tuesday is better suited for the steelband for the simple reason that 40-50% of those that played in a mas band will play in a steelband the other day.

There have been a lot of negative feedback about this suggestion but I am yet to see someone come up with another one.

The people of T&T have a decision to make weather to help the steelband to rise again and be self-supporting or to continue to let the ones that milk the carnival cow do so at the expense of the steelband. 

Well said Glenroy.

One day we will reach the point where state funds are used to help steelbands. Used in an organised and productive way. As opera, ballet, fine arts, classic theatre and symphony music is funded in parts of Europe and the US.

We have not yet reached that level of appreciation (and maybe sophistication) where our viewing of our own artistic creation is concerned. But I expect us to reach there!

Good point Bigmac, But, all the same, don't be surprised if one day you see Liam Teague playing on a Grammy show!

I have been reading the comments here and am a bit disappointed that hardly anybody had anything revealing to say. First, one of the interesting things is that most of the persons who were complaining about Trinidadian attitudes to pan and calypso sound exactly like what many Jamaicans would say about their people's attitude to their music up to a few years ago,

When I came from Trinidad to Jamaica in the mid 1960s, I was amazed at how much middleclass Jamaicans 'disrespected' their own music. The Rocksteady performers of the day and then the Reggae performers who followed had to struggle to get any recognition. It was only after the impact of that iconic singer, Bob Marley that the music began being accepted at home -- only after international people began loving the music did many middleclass Jamaicans start even listening to it seriously. (Ole timers, dat soun familiar?) People like Johnny Nash and Eric Clapton began to make it more 'acceptable. Even today dancehall music is frowned upon by many for its 'rawness and crassness'. So the situation is not one of support.

The UWI at St Augistine started paying attention to steelpan and calypso long before Mona started paying attention to reggae.

The fact is, reggae grew up in the 60s, the period of protest and youth rebellion and as a true protest 'rebel' music it captured the imagination of the young of the world. And then it produced Bob Marley.

After that there was the growth of 'brand Jamaica' with everything Jamaican beginning to shine, what with the athletes and Usain Bolt, further popularising things Jamaican.

Reggae too is a sexy music, as well as still having a hint of the rebellious in it -- it is a more attractive music than calypso (it took me years to admit this) Calypso is the world's greatest celebratory music, but reggae is the best dance music.

But the problems of the promotion of pan an calypso are those of everything in the Caribbean, Jamaicans have recently learned to appreciate brand Jamaica, but they, like us, still don't know how to exploit their music FOR THEMSELVES. Reggae on Grammy was a resultof the power of the music forcing itself on the world, not of us in Jamaica marketing it for our own benefit. The major earners from reggae are often not us! Sound familiar? ! !


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