Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
The Pan Movement across the world has gone into orbit but our Panorama is still stuck in the mud. Please know that the reality is our instrument is no longer ours: the pan has taken on a life of its own and is roaming freely, taking root wherever it is appreciated. At this time, our only claim to it is that pan originated in Trinbago. Trinbago as the mecca of pan music is now becoming in jeopardy. If better music is being played elsewhere, there is where the focus and attention will be. The organizers of the Panorama are stifling the growth, creativity and development of pan music in Trinbago, especially at Panorama.
Panorama 2015 is now behind us and the decision of the judges is final, but almost everyone disagrees with their selections. What this tells us is that the judges have to go, that the judges do not have the capacity to assess and appreciate creativity and innovation in music, that the judges have become programmed to the extent that they seem to be working from some formula and that the judges are stuck in a rut.
Music that is creative and innovative confuses them and with a simple stroke of their pencil they dismiss anything that might be outside of their comfort zone. Where does this leave our Panorama musicians – our arrangers?
The judges have our arrangers in a state of confusion.
If we are stuck with these judges who are selected by Pan Trinbago, then understand that the ‘formula’ has to evolve, because the music is certainly not stuck in time. There are arrangers who are taking the music to another level. My question at this time is, are any of these judges musicians. A degree in music does not make you a musician and does not give you the ability to judge the music of musicians. The ability to teach scales to children does not qualify you to judge a Panorama competition. To the judges on the panel of Panorama 2015, I pose this question. “How many minutes of published music have you produced?“
So you award your points and there is a winner and nine losers and the state of confusion is perpetuated. At this 2015 Panorama the band that was announced as winner clearly did not have the best music, which happens all too often at Panorama. As a result we are no better off this year than we were before. Keen competition is what brings about improvement. An arranger knows when there is an arrangement that is better than his/hers and would strive to be better. But when the judges, with their left-brain formulas, award their points and a winner is announced who clearly did not deserve to win, then our Panorama is in jeopardy. This is a competition that is watched and scrutinized internationally by musicians. What are they to think. It remains popular but it is not growing. Most of our bands sound the same year after year and this is condoned and encouraged by the judges. The judges and therefore Pan Trinbago are contributing significantly to the demise of Pan in Trinidad and Tobago.
The system of judging and/or the judges have to go. There are six judges on the panel for the large band category of Panorama. My suggestion is that a maximum of two judges from Trinbago be on the panel and the remaining four be sought out internationally to eliminate any bias that the local judges might have. Only then will we be able to say that the competition was fairly judged and the best band on the night won.
No more than one-third of the judges on the panel should be from Trinbago and at least one of these should be from Tobago. The remaining judges could be sought from countries such as, but not restricted to, Jamaica, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Haiti, Martinique, Columbia, Argentina, Brazil, countries of the African Continent, India etc.
Please let us not take this lightly. Who we are as a people and our contribution to the world are at stake here. I appeal to the general public and specifically to the arrangers, captains and tuners of all steel-bands to take action now and get rid of this system of judging Panorama. I am suggesting a meeting be held as soon as possible. Please contact me through email- email@example.com