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Under all the ole talk does anyone have the groove version of Robbie's masterpiece arrangement of Hammertime this year 21013 to share. PLEASE SHARE this orgasmic experience......will be greatly appreciated.....much thanks.
Sid boy the blag cyar done, I just listen to a slow version of melody mas by cavaliers, I heard the steel on wheels video, the year it came out, I heard Pamberi, version only twice in the prelims and a few times final night, yet after all them decades from the time I listen to the tune, a lot of the arrangements came back to me,I miss the nostalgic nice lil runs not chromaitcs, the lil passages you used to hear not too long ago in panorama, that most people could remember and hum or mouth note for note without being members of the bands or even living near them, from the early 2000's go back, I could mouth parts, I know, the arrangements though they ok they have gotten too abstract
i say yuh dun de blag...
rubadiri victor has some important insights on the culture, and the tension between preservation and evolution; see his recent articles in the express.
nothing ever stays the same, and change is to be expected, even embraced. but no culture should embrace change to the extent of committing hara kiri. i like the culinary way you put it... not every good t'ing good for every t'ing... and the same applies to the rama.
even so, the judges have the power to guide change, by rewarding "good" change, and penalizing "bad" change. yes, judgements must be made, and cannot be avoided. so sensitivity and a deep understanding of culture is required to address the questions raised up.
speaking for myself, i would like to see the music hark back to its roots in the street, including possibly by bringing the engine room more up front in some arrangements, and in any case emphasizing the chip-chip cadence of road music. that's what i liked about harmonites this year, but the judges had other ideas, obviously.
can arrangers with the skill of boogsie, smooth, and others take us back to the street origins of the steelband, without appearing to abandon the musical sophistication that is now evident? in some ways calypsociation may be exploring that direction, but in a supper-club jazzy kind of way. it is certainly a direction that andy could go in, he has the ability. but would it work in the big yard?
- big sid
sid i ent complaining too much bout the rama, this year previous years they would put something strange out of the blue and it was more like salt in the coffee,pepper in the juice,molases in the curry,curry in the ice cream oh geed lol like they went by sylvia hunt this year, and somebody tell Andy even if he try to do breakfast at dinner, Trinis doh do bacon and eggs often and no grits or pancakes, is fry bake and saltfish or smoke herring, the indians do sadu roti and tomato choka, no grits no hash browns cornbeef and johnny or coconut bake,andy ought to know that he had some of that when we played in Exodus, and don't get tie up with Andy he know the trini twang, it would be interesting to hear him, in that vein
i think i see what u r talking about re the despers bass "lik" in boogsie's piece. i think i picked up the recycling u talked about also in invader's piece, from despers last year arrangement. i guess it is to be expected that arrangers, not necessarily consciously, will lift ideas from each other. for example, when smooth did the tassa ornamentals in curry tabanca, that was a hit. now many bands go out of their way to throw tassa into the mix, like black pepper into a salad. renegades did it this year. it was ... well... okay. not enough imo to add substantively to the arrangement, and barely enough to serve as spice. just barely, it fit the theme of shock attack. other arrangers seem to just randomly throw in some tassa, almost like a cook "trying a t'ing" with a spice they're not used to working with. like any good spice, it may be overdone, like too much bay leaf in a stew. same with the classical ending. everybody and his tantie doing it, sometimes for no good reason other than everybody knows it's a way to say "the end" with dramatic flair. i remember it working for boogsie as far back as '92 with "jam meh up", but it was integral to the piece and what it was trying to convey, namely a climax, in more than one sense of that term; see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8YfLm_BqV4. there is still a place for such endings. but often it's thrown in when the arranger has no better clue as to how to end. boogsie is never at such a loss. his problem is to be selective ...he has so many ideas...and usually he finds tasteful and thoughtful solutions. he is the master of musicality. as i write this, i'm listening now to exodus, and i'm reminded that pelham is a master of the middle parts of an arrangement, but his introductions and endings tend somewhat to the abrupt. this year with gold, he could recycle the olympic theme, which worked because it was on point, and saved him the trouble of crafting his own introduction. as i mentioned in a previous post, the panorama art form, in its tie-in with the PoS carnival, is now fully grown and mature. so we can expect recycling of riffs, liks, and other musical parts, lifted from here, there and everywhere. the trick for the creative arranger would be to rearrange the familiar into new arrangements that either appeal to musical intellect, or excite ecstatic response. the alternative is to stretch the boundaries of the genre, and in that way find new musical territory to explore. i welcome such stretching of boundaries for pan, but not for the carnival-related panorama. for example, i like a lot of what calypsociation is doing, such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-17VrOEKFXc. this has to represent a direction of creative ferment in paris and europe: supper-club steelband jazz... there is a lot there for someone like andy narell to explore in that boundary area between jazz and calypso, and between a carnival art and a concert hall art. in fact, within the boundaries of the panorama as carnival art, there is already tension between the original street art of ecstatic music, and the stage art which represents an abstraction of that street art that is still however tied to the street through "spirit of carnival" as a necessary element. what i would like arrangers to do is veer back toward the art's street roots. many of the bassline riffs and liks were developed to keep revellers ecstatically energized on the road, not to elicit intellectual appreciation. for example, see (rising stars, virgin islands, playing toco band) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaQYiZRFooo and the bassline riff that enters at about 4:56 and the little break-away at about 6:36. or see (all stars, woman on de bass) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pEf_gaIdwk which is to my mind the best example of a panorama tune played in the street art tradition... music to take the reveller for miles under a blazing hot sun yet feel no pain. that's the direction the art needs to recycle back to.
taking a rest off here, just got through American Idol, the all stars equivalent got the nod, into the top twenty, this girl dropped her drum sticks, was off key, but very entertaining and confident, that is a very important ingrediant, in any performance, once you on stage you better use it, people are non the wiser even the foremost experts, I know sometimes on my horrible performances people shock me and thought I was good, last story for now, I once had a bad day my voice was off had a bad time controlling my pitches and my voice a lil bit off, but after a standing ovation a very good guitarist tolld me that was one of the most incredidible performance he heard and was surprised when I steupsed at him,the phase's confidence, is what beat the field, the bass lik boogsie used is a tried and well beaten signature of desperadoes and the roll off at the end of long stacatto phrases, is typical desperadoes flavour, phase, been playing with the hill flavour for years and despers been sofening out on it, they getting back there, am listening to phase right now and as am concentrating on my typing I almost had to check to see if it was phase and despers,that is a hard sell to phase fans but I played a little bit with despers and am a die hard suppourter and in my phase II years we did not play them lik,
you did not have to disqualify "the last word" birdsong said their last words with their presentation, serving breakfast at the dinner table, will not be eaten, especially if its continential, with a fuul breakfast with steak and eggs country fried chicken, some people mighta put aside the eggs bacon and pancakes, and eaten the steak and chicken as a dinner,by the way year before last one of the radio stations recorded just the engine rooms of some of the bands I wonder if they did so this year I would like to hear it
i'm not going to hate you re skiffle, just disagree... to be clear, i would have disqualified skiffle's sapna, just as i would have disqualified birdsong's the last word ... on a genre violation. i know there is political pressure, multiplied by monetary inducements, to shift the boundaries. my call is to resist it. nuff said on dat.
i thought more or less the same as you about the percussionists. they can make or break a whole performance when they do their solo bits. not a job for a choke artist. the tiniest hesitation will throw things off. all these guys came through with flying colors...
as to the rest... useful insights and comments, keep them coming...
Am getting spontaneous now , All Stars ah beg parden, I gould relate to the melody a lil more after the sixth time, but am not canceling the repo man, allyuh loss mih when the jam line started right after the chorus down to the refrain and counter melodytoo many fanfares, though nice distanced for too long from the heme which was not as clearly stated as at the top, so don't spend the money,Sid you are going to hate mih but am moving up Skiffle right behind Despers, and in the mean time the stars will have to face up with renegades for the next spot, Silver stars ah know that big drum thing getting popular, that is a show by itself, but am having a hard time hearing the bases, it is making more accents than the bass, so Edwin your bass is being upstaged by the big drum, that puts you where you are and everybody nice, hats off to all engine room posse, every body gets a throphy, I am recomending a pay raise for all percussionist in panorama "leon Foster I know you will like this one, silver stars big drum man you to but you on probation and will have to do an exam for your raise, am into critical listening now, am going to sift through last year panorama now
i forgot one thing , I might either be goinng to the phase with a saw to cut off despers half, or a bag to take it away , if i keep on listenig, all stars the repo man is coming for the second prize so don't spend the money yet, before any body kill mih listen at least three times to the bands,with an honest ear forget who you listening to and digest it pound for pound
speaking of better Sid hammer time is playing on my memory bank now, amd as much as phase II used to be my number one band, i also love despers to death, Exodus usually have to move me first although I am wwell loved and appreciated as a one time member, I followed Skiffle from the days they were Hoytonians, and allways enjoy their performances (JUnia knows I will never put on a skiffle uniform but will attend when I can a performance whatever) All stars is All Stars (the band pan players love to hate) for me when they come good they come good, they allways exciting sometimes that is all they are, just like the other stars the silver ones,Fonclaire is another band I never will pay in but there was a time you could look for me in dey yard, on their bus, at their shows, what can i say, Renegades, they beg mih dare mih, love their disipline, but am a rebel, the best engine room in pan, if i get the right kinda money that is where i will like to play,they consistent, of course the formula haven't changed since 1992, (I see nothing wrong with that cause the music is allways fresh as a wink every time, somebody ask me once how you can pay in a band and like another that you don't play in, and I also played in bands and did not like the music, am a diehard suppourter of pan, kill mih ah go dead anyway, right now ah living, happy 50th birthday panorama
Sid I knew where you were comming from at the get go but when you are presented with music, the words are not heard so plese do not let the words get in the way,, some people let the music get in the way when they are presented with a performance, there was a time and still are times when singing with hands clasped was the highlight and got appreciation but the animated performer doing the exact piece will get the anchours, when i listen to music I ignore everything I learnt or was taught and let my simplistic ear absorb what is before and if it moves me it is goo to me if t don't it sucks,lighten up put your feet up,turn on listen look whatever and if you did not fall asleep then you are moved, forget the politics, who repeating old lines borrowing lines whatever,a lot of bands will sound better a lot of bands will sound worse
you speak well. the art form of steelband panorama music has matured, and the pioneering arrangers have matured with it. with age has come a certain mellowing. i get the sense that they respect each other, although they go hard at each other in competition. nothing wrong with that. it's like ali-frazier. who else can join their peer group? the rest of us can only talk about what they do and have done. only they know, really, what it's like.
nevertheless, the same general principles of all human endeavour, especially artistic endeavour, apply. artistic integrity has to be a central value and virtue. likewise, any criticism must come from a place of integrity and honesty. some criticism will be wide of the mark, some will be on point. it is for the arranger to sift the wheat from the chaff, choose what is good, and ignore what is not.
in t&t we tend reflexively to lean toward picongesque turns of expression. this will often come across as disrespect, even when that is not at all intended. so you're right, we have to be more circumspect as to tone and expression... especially in print, where other communication cues are absent.
be all that as it may, the creative outpouring that is panorama in this little place called t&t is such, that diamonds and pearls are cast aside without hardly a look back ... for many performances, the only recording is the receding memory of those who were witnesses. i can testify because, like thousands of other trinbagonians, i've had my own share of magical moments involving pan and steelband. i feel for all the great bands that have come close, but never won panorama, like invaders (2006), and fonclare (whatever year that was). i feel for the great performances that should have qualified for the finals, but didn't, like harmonites this year (imho). and i also wish there could be more done (e.g. touring opportunities, cultural exchange programmes, etc.) to project this art form and its immense creative outpouring of "more love" to the great wide world out there. i pray that pan trinbago have the vision and other pre-requisites to make this happen.
but we need to keep the competitive aspect, both to keep arrangers and performers on their toes, and also to allow for new blood to come in and prove their mettle against the best. otherwise creative laziness would set in, and a favored few would enjoy cozy privilege. imo.
@bigsid, I thoroughly enjoyed every band and look forward to updating my panorama music play list. Not one to question any arranger/band musical selection, I too was excited about the possibilities of Fantastic Friday being selected by All Stars or More Love. I submit that we can benefit greatly if there is collaboration and more pathways created for amicable sharing of musical ideas among arranges. It is disheartening that these great musical minds do not work with the best players across the board to present their music beyond the narrow panorama competition. Ironically, and that was part of the impetus that led to the creation of Phase 11. The esteemed Maya Angelou stated "... in every society, certain tones of voice are used to establish the quality of communication..." We seem to overlook some of the more relevant ones that are struggling for a listening ear.
I relish the day when "more love" is focused on the development of this music and less on the competition and the placings of the bands. If we are to sustain the inherent beauty of this musical creation, then we must devise ways to keep steel band - "carnival music" robust and serendipitously the people's creative spirits alive. Just a view through this lens.
lol... that might also explain why some of the most ardent fans of allstars are females. clearly they're devoted, but to what exactly? bounce and drive tah tah da da, bounce and drive.... lol!
i'm not sure that's a road i want to go down, but what can i say, i'm trini born and bred, and maybe there is a calypsonian in me wanting to get out...
another thing, re smooth... had he gone with shock attack, or fantastic friday, he could have done his bounce-and-drive thing to better effect, and might have succeeded with the hattrick. tune selection is key in this business, but regrettably mistakes are mostly recognized only in hindsight.
but boogsie too is a boss, no question. "more love" is one for the ages. in many ways it transcends panorama as an art form. this is stuff for the concert hall. it is richly textured. it is richly layered. every time i listen to it, i discover more stuff in it. but the complexity doesn't detract, because there is not a cluttered feel to it. it's just that there is more to discover if you listen closely enough.
not to toot my own horn, it seems he took my advice. i remember remarking after the preliminaries that it was "too sweet". now in the finals, i see he added a stop, followed by a change of tempo. from the sweet he went into a bright uptempo passage leading up to the conclusion... it was almost as though he switched from violins playing a rhapsody, to brass playing a n'orleans second line swing. that was masterful imo. then he cantered home to a simply stated conclusion. that was good too. i'm getting tired of the over-dramatic classical endings. that was great for "this one's for u bradley", but after every band started doing it, it has gotten stale.
one thing tho'... here we had a final in which it was hard to separate some of the bands. they're now all at or close to the top of the panorama game. yet when i check back and compare with the panorama of '87 (phase 2 won with 'dis feeling nice', followed by renegades and despers tied for second, both playing 'pan in a minor', followed by allstars playing 'curry tabanca') i cannot say that the art form per se has progressed. it is only that there is greater quality all down the line...
this carries both risk and opportunity. the risk is that anything that has plateaued can only deteriorate. the opportunity is that there is now a level of professionalism and accomplishment that can offer a life choice for many players, necessarily outside these shores. but within t&t the future does not appear to me to be bright. we've had our golden age of pan, and notwithstanding the bright young arrangers that have come up, i'm not seeing the same kind of creative ferment we had with the young giants like bradley, boogsie, jit, professor, ray, robbie, smooth, and others, who have now grown old in the art form. they've done so well that they haven't left very much more to do for the "second wave" of up-and-comers so far as i can see.
there's more i could say ... and still might ... on this last point, but this is too long as it is...
@big Sid, The power of music is incredibly transformative and enlightening. Just think the simple attempt to connect with a melody has led to "BaD" being discussed as a metaphor for one of the better experiences life has to offer. With "more love" as an introduction "BaD" could be a fitting follow-up to a valentine's day celebration. I know L-Smooth keen sense of humor allows him to appreciate your analogy. Lol
that's a lot u've given me to chew on.
re sapna, it may be an "honest message" but i find i have an allergic reaction to it all the same. the idea that laventille is twiddling its thumbs waiting to be musically rescued by dholak and dhantal is insulting, also farcical. in any case the lyrics and melody are puerile, quite unlike, say, "om shanti", or "jahaji bhai". "om shanti" embodied fusion in an honest way, there was no overt political message. jahaji also was honest, but imo seemed to place blame, however sweetly, on the wrong party. but be that as it may, an artist has a right to express things as he sees them. i have no problem with that. but imo sapna really moves the boundaries of the art form way too far, in any case is the proverbial "tata", and the final strike against it from where i sit is that it's not real art, it's political. i hear you when you say that it's honest, i respect your opinion, but i respectfully disagree. this government cannot be a good steward of our t&t culture if indo resentment (mostly misplaced and wrongful) infuses everything they do. unfortunately, maha sabha ideologues have say and sway over this government, and i expect that some of that sway is finding expression in pan and calypso through state and private money. for example, how do you justify bringing failed performers like sugar aloes into the (redesigned) dimanche gras?
as to whatever fate befell john craig, i am undeterred. man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God; see deuteronomy 8:3 and matthew 8:4. i choose to serve the most high over mammon every day of the week. the eat-ah-food types will get their just reward on that great and dreadful day when the Great Judge will judge. it is also written: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it" (luke 9:24). i go brave, and i have trust in the most high, come what may.
marabounta, i have a brother visiting down from canada, an allstars fan from long time, and he didn't get this "bounce and drive" thing either. i think i get it now, but it does take some explaining, unfortunately. allstars have been doing the bounce-and-drive for a long time ... it's there in woman on d bass, curry tabanca, show time, etc. i remember describing it once as a centre-forward dribbling down the football field, ready and able to move either to the left or to the right to beat the opponent, and able to strike and score with either foot. so there is a choppiness to the melodic development. this works well when the listener knows the melody, because the effect is to create and release tension. this is a key ingredient to ecstatic musical art. it operates like a pump. first compression (bounce) then relaxation (drive). if you think about it, the same cycle is involved in pleasing one's partner. obviously, allstars throws in a lot more besides a wham and a bam and a thank-you-maam. they're bouncing they're driving and for the most part they're staying firm in the saddle, as they build to a musical climax. but all of that works when the melody line is known and familiar. to make a song about an arranging formula, while using the formula, makes it a little too abstract, and most people will not "get it" in the beginning. that was clearly not a problem for curry tabanca or woman on d bass or showtime. be that as it may, smooth is a master, quite possibly of more than one art form, lol ...
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