When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

I remember walkin up laventille road, an hearing somebody coasting on a pan in many a houses and no matter how tired I was I would speed up and sometimes pass a house only to hear another pan up the hill, as you get closer to the center you can hear the strains of more than one pan now although I was outa gas I would start running, pure sweetness the higher you go the sweeter the sound, you cyar miss the radoes it was allways like entering the gates of heaven as you get to the center, heading to woodford square or the Hollows, on many a Sunday was like being reborn, J'Ourvert was like a wonder of the world,especially by the Trinity Cathedral the acoustics made the pans sound like harps of gold, when Renegades palyed the statue as they reached Independance square a man say "Look the jam so sweet the real statue move"

as I listen tune after tune on you tube I remember the days when Panorama was about sweetness, the tunes told a story you did not need a skit like some bands present today, the music was the skit, even the surviving arrangers from those days today seem to have abandoned the story line,listen to Pandemonium Sailing you can get sea sick, they did not have to bring out a birthday cake in Phase II birthday party because the music feed yuh , pan today is exciting nice jam but no drama, everything all on one level, no design, no clear cut pattern, it is like a piece of quilt just various pieces of music stashed together

there was a time when the worst ban in panorama would leave you with some line or lines that you will hum for the rest of your life, gone are the days when one could identify band by its flavour, the way they roll or flick their notes

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Comment by Gordon Hazlewood on October 25, 2010 at 9:43am
I think that in our quest to make pans 'sweet' sounding, we have lost sight of the fact that tonal variation can add to more creative musical arrangements. The pans of the 50's and early 60's had a more mellow tone. Yes there was less resonance and perhaps more overtones. But imagine a musical arrangement that recognizes and celebrates the difference in timbre. In an orchestra we have the sweet sound of the vibraphone playing alongside the non-resonant timbre of the violin. But how sweet does the orchestra sound with these instruments playing alongside each other. We know that we can make pan sweet-sounding. Can we now strive for tonal variation so as to give the arrangers more with which to work.
Comment by Sweet Eustace on September 15, 2010 at 2:56pm
pan is sweet in tone these days only now an then you will hear a band with boxy or watery pans or just plain goats,it is either in tune or not these days the secrets is out a while now, the music is exciting but there is no assult on the senses, no story , no variations just a continuous intense jam down, just like soca no story lines, no build up, no show stoppers from the get go just a firery rendition that comes to an abrupt end, andre compare the endings of those songs to birthday party, pan in your ras ,the jammer , rebecca you can hear when the band reaches the coda, and there was allways great anticipation over the ending by the audience as people will be waiting for the last note to whip up a frenzey even up to now when I listen to the older classics, I walk away and for the rest of the day lines are still dancing in my head, pan army is a nice one not too well executed though and I hear undertones of pan rising and I music but very little is staying in my head, my take is we need more sugar, and it is not the Arrangers to bring the tone out but the players, I tune my pans but when I am not in the right mood the tone is not where it needs to be, I on an every day basis is learning how to love up my notes, and is constantly seeking different ways to caress my instrument, the passion is gone, few players are trying their best to maximise this beautifull musical instrument there is too much focus on intensity and too little on execution, vexed as people might be Silver Stars is the only band making an Effort but the ingredients in terms of music is missing, even Desperadoes have lost their distinctive rolling and the carressing touch on the bases, there was a time if they were playing a song I did not know and without seeing them I knew it was them just by the way they rolled the leads and played the bases, bands were known at one time by their sweetness each one had their own flavor, now its hard to tell, everybody is brim bram bram bram.................jus hitting notes, with no real feelings behind just a set a gallery
Comment by Andre Williams on September 15, 2010 at 9:05am
When talk about sweetness in pan Phase II Pan Army, Magic Drum, Zanda Radica (Steel Xplosion) the pans today are at their sweetest tone The arrangers have to bring the tone out.

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