Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
Time to Re-dedicate Ourselves...
Yet another Steelband Month has rolled around. Today I want to beg steelband lovers everywhere to support the Pan like never before. Support Pan Trinbago and other promoters’ Pan events; not only this month but throughout the year.
If you ask me why the Pan Buzz likes Steelband Month; it is because it offers us the opportunity to rock back and take stock of our attitude towards the Pan and the Panman. You see me? I am not going to beat the dead horse called ‘respect;’ but what I’ll do is call on Pan people to look in the mirror and rededicate ourselves to Pan development... and defence. The Pan has not truly been liberated; there is still a struggle on, but only in Trinidad and Tobago; and not the wider world, that is increasingly looking to Pan and its financial benefits.
We in Trinbago are bumping our gums and behaving like beh behs (imbeciles); sometimes I feel we don’t know better. There is a constant battle with Panmen and deejays at events, and those who feel the Pan is still - and forever will be - a noisy instrument.
Apparently Pan is not a priority with Minister of Culture (forget the “multiculturalism”) Winston “Gypsy” Peters. Here you have a minister of culture at a public function on the eve of Emancipation, calling for “respect the calypsonians.” A Minister of Culture should not be calling for respect for one section of culture of which he is a member. Calypsonians have separated themselves into two camps; those who sing for their political supper, and those who have stayed true to the artform. Why didn’t Peters call for respect for the Panman also? No. He waged a stupid war against panmen earlier this year over some petty change stipend. He is not aware that Pan and calypso are brothers and sisters? Both were born out of struggle and had to fight every inch of the way for acceptance by society. Doesn’t he know their similar histories?
However, Pan Trinbago must be congratulated on this significant milestone... Steelband Month 2011.
START WITH TERRY AND PEPE... JOINTLY
Two concerns have been plaguing my mind, and I wish Pan Trinbago could address them. Firstly I wish to suggest to Keith “Bald Head” Diaz and his crew that at the awards ceremony they launch the International Panman Of The Year Award. This is necessary to rope in our foreign brothers (not only local) as Pan is a world thing. Awarding local contributors is great, but we need to widen the scope. We have to start thinking differently.
I think two individuals who should be honoured are Terrence Noel and the evergreen Pepe Francis (pictured above). Both men have done much to establish Pan in England, and their efforts cannot be delinked. With the wide international spy network of Pan Buzz, I can always give Pan Trinbago a name or two deserving of honour. And don’t doubt me there are many. Pepe’s and Terry’s contributions have been so effective, that Pan, despite its struggles, is now accepted as part of British culture.
BADJOHN DAY -PART OF PAN’S HISTORY
Narrow-minded panmen have attacked Pan Trinbago’s President Keith “Bald Head” Diaz over Bad John Day - that one day when the old gringos of Pan travel down memory lane, retracing their battles in defence of Pan...or turf. These stories, although filled with gore, cannot be ignored. They are a part of steelband history whether we like it or not. They are stories of iron bolts, cutlasses, bell-bottomed pants, two-toned shoes, white-handle razors and men with names that could make Captain America cringe. Names like BOLD FACE, ONE MAN, CUT-OUTA, WHITETY KINKAID, PINK EYE, LITTLE AXE, GOLD TEETH, BARONG and others. Right now I gettin’ frighten just writing dem fellas names. Ah trembling. Did you know that Pan Buzz escaped being chopped up like beef when Tokyo attacked Casablanca at the corner of Frederick and Duke Streets in Port-of-Spain? There I was in the front row, merrily playing my double tenor when bottle splintered on the rack. I didn't wait, I was off to the races... leaving a trail of brown manure.
Condolences to the families of Aldwyn “Chow Lee” Chow Lin on, and the wonderful Pan researcher Gideon Maxime. I have never met both men formally, but I know of their tremendous contributions. Chow Lee was associated with the early Silver Stars and could be ranked as one of the ‘Chinee’ in Pan, as well as the Chan brothers and my old pal Hady Lee of Dixieland. Gideon, on the other hand, distinguished himself as a meticulous researcher, and knowledgeable commentator on Panorama. I will miss his commentaries.
Guys, rest in Peace.
Until next week, wherever you are in Pan’s Diaspora, keep loving up The Pan.