When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

July 30 - The “Pan Buzz” to date

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I.


Steelbands must commit to Music Festival

Every time the Steelband music festival comes around I am filled with trepidation. Now - you might ask how a fearless man like Pan Buzz could be filled with fear. It has to do with the poor turn-out and the lack of commitment of government agencies - The Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism, the Tourism Development Company and hypocritical panmen, who prefer to smoke a “10-piece” (weed) than support the festival. And that’s not all; the big bands, by their very selfish attitude, have contributed significantly to the demise of the Festival.

Two big bands that could make the festival a thing of beauty, WITCO Desperadoes and Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars - both past winners - have been ducking the Festival for flimsy reasons. My spies tell me the prize money is not attractive as the National Panorama’s, hence the reason panmen are reluctant to participate. Then there is the question of indiscipline in some bands, because some panmen and their cliques run the bands, not the executives - and who don’t like what I am saying it’s their damn business. Everybody knows the Pan Buzz tells it like it is. I don’t owe anybody, only the bank. Sagicor Exodus and TCL Skiffle Bunch have been consistent; I say hooray to them. Bptt Renegades, Caribbean Airlines Invaders and Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove, like lame racehorses, have been in-and-out performers. There are 7,000 panmen, and you want to tell me the 2008 Festival buss; and these same panmen quick to wash their Listerine mouths on Pan Trinbago.

How do they want the festival to grow when their bands don’t participate? The big bands, too, should know that their presence will make the sponsorship work easier, and Keith “Bald Head” Diaz and his team don’t have to fart like an old engine to get help. They [big bands] have a responsibility to making the show grow, and not staying on the sidelines. They have got to look at the bigger picture and commit to the Festival. The last time Despers participated in the Festival was 1992 when the band won.

Let’s face it; the 2008 Festival was pathetic; it was more like a funeral, than a celebration. One deceitful panman blamed the high price of admission, although it was a quality show. When I started to fart on him, he had to run for cover. These same panmen buy their weed et al, attend shows by Jamaican acts, but don’t find the price high. Anyway, August is Pan month; and October is Festival month. And both must be stoutly supported. As the weeks progress, Pan Buzz will update you on things Festival, and go down memory lane with great festival moments in Pan. Don’t miss it.


Use the works of Pan song composers

Everybody knows that the Pan Buzz does run he mouth like a river; but what they don’t say is that the Buzz offers solutions and ideas too. They quick to say I negative and vulgar, but they can’t touch me when it comes to defending The Pan. They too wotless!  However, I have one for Pan Trinbago and the upcoming Festival. I say let’s give Pan song composers their just desserts, or due if you prefer. Let’s choose the Test Piece from the brimming archives of songs that celebrate the Pan... Pan songs. We have a body of work sitting there gathering dust. Every year there are over 50 songs to add to the library. Now my Maths ain’t good, the only thing I could count is sheep. From Lord Kitchener in 1936 to Holman in 1972, the floodgates have been opened. I will like to propose six songs from which one could be chosen as the Test Piece, and adapted in the classical mode. Readers may want to submit their selections too.

Here goes:

Pan Trinbago, let’s forever give our composers pride of place, alongside the great masters Bach, Beethoven and others. There will always be room in our Festival, because Pan and the classics form a great relationship. As usual bands could play their tune-of-choice, and a classical piece. The Pan Is Beautiful XII series will be held in several categories: ensemble, soloist, single pans bands and conventional. Get cracking, Pan Trinbago.



MORE questions on the G-Pan /PHI controversy

It is with a very sad and heavy heart I return to the G-Pan and the Percussive Harmonic Instrument (PHI). Now I said it once, I will say it again, Pan Buzz intends to ask questions about the controversy until I fall sick. As I always say the Pan Buzz will not let go this topic until all parties come clean; they have to bathe in the river of truth. We are talking about TT 35 million smackers here, so don’t expect me to walk away. I am going to beat this topic like a drum, and I am in for the long haul.

I say Professor Brian Copeland must account. I am not accusing him of anything, so why is it so difficult for him to account? His integrity is on the line. The University of the West Indies (UWI) must state its role in this affair. If they playing bad, I am going to make this a social media campaign. I am warning all parties. Pan People around the world will have to intervene. This is taxpayers’ money we are talking about, Professor Sankat. I am not taking that. Calling Mr. Keith Maynard; say something. I want answers. I want answers. I won’t rest, this involves my grandchildren money. You know what 35 million could do in terms of Pan development?


As far as I am concerned and I said it on several occasions; the G-Pan is a work in progress. I have already pointed out that made-to-order drums are available in Europe. We should have a Pan lab humming 24/7. Young inventors could walk off the street and pursue their ideas, explore their ideas. Last week I named two inventors who have something to offer. Professor Copeland must say something and not ‘wish’ this controversy away. This is not a fairy tale; this is a serious matter.

UWI has stated its concern to monitor the controversy; this must not be allowed to fester like a sore foot. Professor Copeland: you have to say something. You can’t hide under a lawyer’s desk. I not taking that, I want answers:

  • What is the unspent balance?  How much of the TT $35 million has been spent?  Where are the bills?

  • Who is administering the fund (Payments)?

  • UWI must explain its role in this sorry episode

  • Who is responsible for the OVERSIGHT of these two projects? Was this a ‘bran tub’ exercise where disbursements were concerned?

  • When can taxpayers expect a financial statement?

  • Why were UWI students deceived into thinking it was a contribution, when it was in fact a commercial enterprise?

  • How many G-Pans were sold? Why weren’t UWI students given a stipend for their creative energies? Why are they playing dumb, are they sworn to secrecy?

  • Are they afraid of victimisation?

  • What legal avenues are open to them to challenge for a share of the PHI pie?

  • Have they signed over their creative rights?

  • Is it true that the PHI pans are now being sold for TT $15,000?  If true, how many pans have been sold?

  • Who owns Panadigm, and how is it legally constituted?

  • Name the jurisdictions the Pans are registered, and in whose name(s)?


These are some of the questions I need answered. Is UWI’s Sankat playing dumb? Is Professor Copeland playing dumber?

Please be guided accordingly

The Pan Buzz is a lover of democracy, but when it gets crazy, it is a different story. I have been reading some of the comments relating to the Pan Buzz and am filled with wonder. Some people are coming up with their own ideas that Professor Brian Copeland tief this or tief that.

All the Pan Buzz is saying is: why should accountability be a problem concerning the TT 35 million smackers? The Pan Buzz could ask questions...can’t he? The longer several questions remain unanswered, the lack of transparency - the longer the cloud will hover over the G-Pan and the air of suspicion, malfeasance, (nice word, eh?); deceit also. For far too long we haven’t held our peers responsible, but lived in awe of their academia...not Pan Buzz.  UWI just cannot say it is monitoring the controversy and go hone. UWI must answer questions too. Commentators please be guided accordingly.



Wherever you are in Pan’s Diaspora, don’t forget to keep loving up The Pan.

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Comment by jerome ebenezer clarke on August 4, 2011 at 6:21pm

My comment is in simple black and white,,,,THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE....??????????.

Comment by DJ on August 1, 2011 at 7:49pm

I have a different point of view for your consideration.

If more Steelbands are to progress as business entities, and if more pannists are to become musicians and not just a pan players, more bands must turn away from subjective competitions that frustrate more than elevate. Panorama remains a necessary evil, but kudos to All Stars and Desperadoes for staying away from the Music Festival. These bands along with Renegades, Phase 11 and Exodus have established a standard of excellence that does not require them to prove anything in competition to anybody, certainly not to their fans.


More bands need to follow the lead of Trinidad All Stars and host concerts like the biennial Classical Jewels series, the last of which was in November 2010. This way, pan excellence is showcased, pannists and bands earn a just reward for their hard work, fans are thrilled, and no judges are allowed to sour proceedings with questionable judgements. Pan is always the winner when bands take their destiny into their own hands.


Pan Trinbago's role must be to facilitate the development of bands as business entities and pannists as musicians and move away from competitions which have outlived their original purpose to keep pannists out of violent behaviour.

Comment by victor quail on August 1, 2011 at 10:24am
I like Mr. De Sousa's comment, bands must enter the music festival to qualify for entry in the Panorama. This is  somewhat punituve, but, it might just work. Pan Buzz I like your selection for the test piece and I know the the list is endless. No mention was made concerning foreign bands.  Should they be included in the festival.???
Comment by 911 on July 31, 2011 at 1:58pm
Now my take on the music festival is,Pan trinbago should pass a rule that inorder for a band to enter the Panorama for carnival,all steelband  in T&T have to enter the music festival,In order to enter the Panorama,If You don't enter, your band will not beable to enter panorama.And I mean all steelband.

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