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Has pan out grown trinidad & tobago?

has it really outgrown us?

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Comment by S. F. Thomas on September 7, 2010 at 6:29pm

Kyah kyah kyah! Now you have to go and bring bumsee into the thing! LOL! Why is it, in T'dad, just say bumsee, and somebody is guaranteed to laugh.

Anyway, point well taken.

It gives me an idea re the difficulty a lot of (American) university bands seem to have with Trini syncopation. The musical expression is an extension of the lingo. If you don't get (or even try to get) the syncopation in the lingo, it's hard to get the syncopation in the music. If you separate the music from the panyard, and relocate it in the conservatory, you've cut off the whole linguistic milieu that the music derives from. So something ends up being missing from the music. I don't know if that's a good theory or not, I'm not a musicologist, nor a sociologist.

Here is another one. "Ah only watch de pampalam/Ah didn't touch de pampalam". You remember the calypso ... about Jimmy Swaggart. You can build a great little musical riff around that chorus , but only if you "get" the Trini lingo. I think. Maybe I'm wrong.

- Big Sid

PS. See your bumsee, raise you a pampalam.
Comment by Sweet Eustace on September 7, 2010 at 5:32pm
thanks sid for understanding, we are not the only ones who think we are it, of cousre we do not have network telivision to spread we nonensense, so the world is safe from our dragon and robber talk, however there are sensitive people reading this board and if u understand what i mean leave it alone and don't start them up, when we had Pan proffesionals company in Trini, often we had to teach even trinis the lingo to get the instructions to sink in, if you playing a double iron the best way is to play "kip-a-lani-kip-a-lani" if you need a safe mode to play a du dup iis "yuh boomse stink yuh bumsee stink" and if you in a slow grove "yuh bumsee not stink" da is we, mouth pan helped to inovate pan, some body come up with a lave way and the tuner made a pan to play it like "oh what a faithfull dog " etc
Comment by S. F. Thomas on September 7, 2010 at 5:15pm

On your other point, I agree with you about tone and expression in the lingo. Some things definitely cannot be translated. Syncopation is not only a musical idea, it applies also to language. I don't mean any kind of stuttering, I mean the irony, the indirection, the misdirection. A cussword used as a term of endearment. O.n. used as a term of endearment. I understand those subtleties, that's why time and place are so important in deciding use of language.

- Big Sid
Comment by S. F. Thomas on September 7, 2010 at 5:05pm
Sweet Eustace:

Don't worry, I don't think anybody vex with you.

But the way you describe this o.n. term, everybody is going to want to be one! You credit o.n. with the creation of steelband! ... not with being the problem that might bring it down, as I understood you earlier.

That's why I like to reduce things to the real realities, and not get sidetracked by terms that have only subjective meaning. If there is an objective meaning to that term that really carries the discussion forward, I'd like to hear it. Otherwise it's just o.n. ole talk. That's good too in the right place and at the right time.

Anyway, with no apologies -- I can say that too -- as you describe it, an o.n. is just what I would call an Israelite sufferah, with all that's good, also bad, about that reality. We've been a stiff-necked and rebellious people for a long time (Deuteronomy 31:27). Moses had his hands full. And as I said in a previous post, there remain any number of Miriam's among us wanting to be Moses, and only causing confusion.

But that goes with the territory. Every steelband leader, in fact every leader of men will have experienced it. But I don't think pan is in any serious long-term danger on that account. If not, what would be your ideas as to what could be done about it? ... chirping sound....

-- Big Sid
Comment by Sweet Eustace on September 7, 2010 at 7:13am
ON a point of order before I get Dr slashingered i am writing colloquailly for a reason, pan was born out of what is portrayed on this page as a "Shout" most of those children are born Americans even if some of them are called "anchor babies" but they were born with the Trini lingo, and to the non trinis people like Andy Narell even though he was born to American parents who were of European dissent, he learnt the lingo way of life, that's why he plays as good as he does, the trini way is what make pan so unique not just the tone but the expression
Comment by Sweet Eustace on September 7, 2010 at 6:58am
I think I will have to call Marcus Welby Md or Dr Kildare, better yet Dr Paul, if i did not believe in wickedness i believe in it now, all of a sudden people getting sensitive bout the word Nigger, the story of pan sums the whole thing up, this is an old wound and this sore have no plaster for it, how long you live in Trinbago boss we doh live so, to the best of my knowledge the term "old Nigger" is a coloquial term used only by Trinis, its just like "red neck" and "nappy head" and ol nigger is not a racist concept but a type of unbecoming behaviour, the term came from slavery I believe the ol nigger was a stubborn die hard Kunta Kinte type of man who refused to learn or was to seasoned to be conditioned to fit in the norms, in now times is just a person who goes against the flow either through ingorance or arrogance, but wants to lead things, commonly since trinidad racial divide was people of African decent and indian decent, the was in refrence to more people of african desent,a white ol nigger today is a wigger,
Tone down sid you know how people overly sensitive bout these issues, next thing they will Dr Slasinger me, on this board, the last time I spoke to Jit he refered to him self as a "coolie boy" in a nice freindly way, I would prefer a white man to greet me as "whats up my nigger" in a friendly tone and treat me as aregular customer in his store than for him to call me sir follow me alert security ask me to leave if i only look at him strange and next thing the security is trying to handle me and the police walking in to treat me like a common criminal.
serious pan lovers will venture to Trinidad log unto Trini pages and will hear the term and know what we mean, English is spoken in most places as a coloquail language
please let us close this pandora's box, just take the term as friendly after all it was the ol nigger in we that invented Pan, we stubborn and wer so set in we ways that the war was not going to mash up the carnival so we headed for the dry river no way man would leave the city to go up in the bush to look for bamboo when it break or else was whip in yuh tail from the curfew police, if it wasn't for the ol nigger mentality it never would have been,am tryin to shorten this, and reading over your comments they got you sid ol nigger is we lave way, its just a manner of speaking, if I used to take anything as offence and I do not, I would be more offended being call African American or black, I am neither, and i would rather be called a person which I am, personally i do not subscribe to division of any sort, the racial divide worse even though I know racism was once a good thing and people made it ugly with their derogotory slurs and inuendoes
ah gettin lenghty now I have nothing against the ol nigger nuff praises to "him" it still here, The late great Rudolph Charles, had to pan ( meaning moving back and forth ) between being an ol nigger, a diplomat, scientist etc in order to build and run the greatest steelband on earth, if Ray had a lil more ol nigger in him he might have won more panoramas than Jit, who at times needed to resort to the ol nigerism to get the product, that is why I buy Popwell blind this year, one year he was too high fulotoon and the lil boy leh go a jam and buss he throat, some times yuh have to pelt a big stone leh go a cuss to get attention in this business but not all time, and the first time I saw the "hammer' drop on a man back he fall like a coconut and the general sterched out his hands and asked him if he ok picked him up and told him don't let this happen again
Comment by S. F. Thomas on September 6, 2010 at 4:59pm
Sweet Eustace:

I don't like the "old nigger" reference. That is a racist concept, ultimately empty, because there is no real reality to what it strains to denote. It denotes nothing objective. It projects only the state of mind of the speaker and what he seeks to condemn. It was projected onto us, we don't need to accept it, and propagate it further.

So what is the real reality you are trying to convey? Seriously. I took you to mean people that mash things up if they can't have their own way. Is that the real reality you're referring to? Anybody who has lived long enough will have encountered such people, and may even recognize themselves in that description. But is it something that is unique to black people? I don't think so. In my experience black people are the sweetest and most polite. Just consider this blog. We had huge and heated disagreements, and hardly a cussword. Glen lost his temper and said, "Dam!". Somebody else said "oh gorm"... how sweet. That's about it. Trust me, I've been on other blogs, and at the slightest disagreement, the language goes very Yankee (should I say o.n.?) in a heartbeat. Even before there is disagreement. I'm not saying panmen don't cuss. I'm saying there is an essential decency that far outweighs the negatives. You can hear it in the music, even when the lyrics are about "battle zone", "army", "musical vengeance", "dus in deh face", etc. And come to think of it, to get *one* band of over 100 members, unpaid, to cooperate for long periods of time with each other as needed to produce symphony-class music, let alone the dozens in T'dad and elsewhere, is the best evidence of a reality that disproves some general o.n, mentality abroad in the movement. Yes, there are once-great bands that break up, or go into decline. Southern Marines is one. I'm wondering if Pamberi is another. Harmonites. Etc. etc. Is the problem some generalized o.n. mentality? I don't think so. Every man is righteous in his own sight, even when they commit heinous crime. So disagreements will always creep into any cooperative human endeavor, ego will get the better of some, bad mind others, grudge-keeping, envy, jealousy, back-biting, etc. That is everywhere. Don't make that a black-people thing.

You are much closer to pan than I am, so if you say there is a problem rooted in the o.n. phenomenon, I will listen. But get to the real reality, whatever it is.

Oh, and congrats to Sonatas! I haven't heard their performance yet, but since I'm still humming Bandolero, I have to assume it was great. And definitely, I can understand that high performance in any discipline doesn't come by accident. It requires people to put their mind and energy to it, and always to be "real". That was to me one of the positives of the pan movement -- self-esteem came from hard work and accomplishment, not from somebody lying to you and telling you how great you are. If you can't learn the runs, better some o.n (heh!) break your sticks and send you home. Bitter truth over sweet lies. But that's not the kind of o.n. you're referring to, right?

Gotta run. No time to even re-read, so excuse the rant if that's what it comes across as.

-- Big Sid
Comment by Sweet Eustace on September 6, 2010 at 9:14am
Thanks for the Cuban link big Sid it got me going and I unearthed a lot of nice videos,correction i did not say pan is headed for the La basse, my reference was steelbands, not pan sides,and what I said was the "old Nigger" mentailty will do that to pan and look around it has already done that many times, the last I saw of "jewel 22" was a bunch of pans on Duncan Street on the side walk waiting to be taken to the la basse, some of Solo harmonites pans ended up in Arima from there to the Labasse, don't talk about new york, my cousin quit playing because he said it was getting too painfull to see year after year pans being crushed in the garbage trucks.

where is pan headed is more than a sixty four thousand dollar question, pan will flourish the question is how? there will be a lot of Pan sides the pan jumbies will keep pan going but will it get better or will it devalue good question, just as it was lookin like it would be sinking into oblivion, Silver Stars struck a note a good note, not a classic nor any assult on the senses, but a well worth the while performance, I know some people will start to cuss now but keeping it real it is sad that you have to wait for J' ourvert in New York to here sweet pan, sorry folks for bursting your bubbles but besides Sonatas who else makes an effort to carry sweet pan to the Museum, in case you looking for pan argument even though I haven't heard one line of anybody's contribution I was able to predict the results long before the doors open, heres why, Popwell is the only arranger who takes the pain to oversee that his offering is presented in its best state, he is meticulous and fine tunes the band, giving Birch insentive to put out his best effort to fine tune the pans , they have a team of serious watch dogs making sure that the "old nigger" mentality is kept at bay or out,they represent, no "never see come see" and all them chupidness goes on there what ever baccanal happens there it is controlled, it is not just about the music but the entire efforts, Sonatas have to get caught with their pants down to be beaten the year Adlib won they did not have a show stopper and Adlib did, so they beat them, one year they opened the show and got butterflies.the same thing applies to Silver Stars what is seen is the results of a good production not just music a steel band is an orchestra and needs to be treated as such but often they act today like Pan sides which is a totality different thing
Comment by S. F. Thomas on September 3, 2010 at 6:10pm
Sweet Eustace:
Interesting observations, very insightful. When you think about it, pan is a miracle. To get sweet sound from a vibrating surface is a lot harder than getting sweet sound from a vibrating string. Even where and how you strike the note, and with what, can affect how it sounds. So the pan maker's job is not easy, but I can see where the rookie pan-maker can take it for granted once he has achieved some success with the easier challenges. So you're right, there are a lot of groups out there on youtube playing pans they have no idea are simply poorly made, and sound terrible. Then of course keeping a pan in tune is a problem in itself. (I guess for Boogsie it's not a problem, wink). Here is a group from Cuba:
These guys are great players (definitely not challenged by syncopation) but the pans! Ellie Mannette pans they're not.

About where pan is headed (labasse) I don't agree although you are right there are a lot of people that bring too much ego to the party and mash things up. Strong ego can be a good thing, but only if there is vision and direction to match. Everybody can't be Moses, but there are many Miriams that try (sorry, Glen, you may not know that story).

I definitely agree that we are still the ones with the greatest capability to take the art and craft of pan forward.

-- Big Sid
Comment by Sweet Eustace on September 3, 2010 at 4:14pm
big sid the universities run to the packaging of the wannabee pan tuners and self appointed pan experts out here and the pan goes backwards instead of forward, the wannabee pan tuners chase the pan dollars as soon as they make a decent seconds which any prospecting tuner can produce even in his or her rookie years, soon they start on tenors, from E or F upwards again any serious pan builder can get a decent tone up to thehigh A, above and below that chaos but few people venture in those ranges and fail to realise that there is a mismatch in tones , they run away with the idea and the institutions love to deal with the lingo and their peers suppourt them,the self appointed experts some hold jobs in the universities etc and people in general do not realise that the world is full of "educated fools" (and I make no apology for this) people trust the status quo, our people are stupid and ignorant quick to make snyde remarks about their peers, (especially when they don't know cow from bullfoot) boasting bout it too, especially when they had in a few, we are still the only ones with the capabilities to take it forward, but the old nigger mentality will choke pan, float it down the dry river on a rainy day till it settle somewhere in sea lots by the la basse, and I make no apology

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