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The Question is:Has panorama music gotten too abstract?

back in the day, if i listen to a panorama tune a few times, i could jump on a pan and play some of the licks, from memory, I know I am getting old, but I still have that ability, I was given a rough track by a jazz band once and my first take was perfect, that was the final take and we only did a second one just for so, I jumped in a panyard and started playing a piece of their panorama tune in Brooklyn, if I go to you tube and listen to calypsoes and panorama tunes I never hear from back in the 90's go back, next day I could mout some of the arrangement, but  panorama tunes now, there is a notable lack of "assault on the senses" as Dalton Narine used to describe it, there is little or no show stoppers, and a total lack of climax to the music, the way bands disconnected from the theme of the pieces it was no surprise that phase II won they stuck to the theme,boogsie tried a show stopper but it was too brief,  and the parts were still a little abstract, I wonder if the 8 minute limit, is making arrangers not give extra play to their sweet parts, that helps to make you want to sing the lines, I know its not just me because I observe that young people who were not born yet humming and mouthing older panorama pieces when it is played, but silent when a recent tune is played,so my question is has Panorama music gotten too abstract? 

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Comment by S. F. Thomas on March 3, 2013 at 12:41pm

oh, and yes, let all and sundry from wherever in the world come and join us and make it a world steelband festival...

- big sid

Comment by S. F. Thomas on March 3, 2013 at 12:38pm

one approach to a steelband music festival say around aug/sep would be to follow the model of the new orleans jazz festival; see http://lineup.nojazzfest.com/; and also the lafayette music festival; see http://www.lafayettetravel.com/play/festivalsevents/festival-acadiens.

one big location such as the savannah. with possibly satellite sites in e.g. tobago. many acts over multiple days. the festival could stretch over as long as two-four weeks. some headline acts. many smaller acts. multiple stages. private spin-offs in clubs in st. james, woodbrook, salybia, etc. lots happening simultaneously. tents and pavilions. lots of food vendors, also arts and crafts. tuners can have exhibits and sell their wares, take orders.

patrons can work out their own programs, can wander around. pay to get in the venue, possibly pay at individual pavilions also. for the artist participants, it could be like attending a trade exhibition... you come to expose your wares, make contacts, and share ideas. some are big enough draws to demand an appearance fee. others play for "free", or settle for a share of gate/pavilion receipts.

those details are for event planners/promoters to work out. some govt assistance may be well justified. this is music and culture tourism after all.

for sure music is culture, but it is also a product, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xq8XEjkBok, which also represents a reggae/pan fusion. doh mind this example smacks of "they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion" (psalms 137:3). nevertheless, our musical talent is so abundant that one way or another it is an export product.  opportunities for our young artists must be cultivated. therefore i'm fully in support of other steelband events unconnected with carnival or panorama.

- big sid

Comment by S. F. Thomas on March 3, 2013 at 9:28am

sweet eustace,

not the "competition killing pan" thing again... that has been beaten to death... and i for one do not agree... you might as well try to kill the olympics ... or turn prize fighting into sparring sessions...

look, by all means introduce a new steelband event, or any number of new events, but you don't need to kill panorama to do so. the idea that competition per se is killing the art form doesn't stand up to empirical scrutiny as far as i can see. you are welcome to try to prove otherwise...

- big sid

Comment by S. F. Thomas on March 3, 2013 at 1:02am

sweet eustace,

but the thing is that panorama, per se, is an art form in itself. the "defeat" of pan on de road by sound trucks etc. does not mean that we should declare, also, the defeat of panorama.

in any case, no declaration of defeat is necessary to advance another event on the steelband calendar. c'mon.

btw, i would strongly support some sort of non-carnival steelband festival. there is plenty to explore musically with pan and steelband. calypsociation paris is already doing a lot, see for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6N5HYU5aQ8&feature=endscreen&a... for a good example of a steelband and big-band (jazz) fusion. see also supari mai puerto rico with a similar idea at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3v6O30Hs2s involving a fusion between a steelband and a philharmonic orchestra. and the kind of work etienne charles is doing, see e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yASatU_DThw, is crying out for the addition of at least a couple of pans! there is much, musically, to be done in a steelband festival, without the cultural restraints of panorama, and i would support one, especially if it's international in scope. but i do not support the killing off of panorama. it is unnecessary.

but i look forward to your "formula". i have great respect for your opinions in general, and will keep an open mind.

- big sid

Comment by Sweet Eustace on March 3, 2013 at 12:02am

Sid have u ever gone to the point borough day, the competition is causing too much confusion, pan people just like mas people, they just want to play themselves, one year they had awards for best flag wavers etc that was a nice year,  an engine room festival might be nice the band roll on stage and when the done the engine room move to the side and play whilst the next band setting up or they play as the band rolling off as they used to do long time,but without the pan, pass the word to the powers that be somebody 

Comment by Sweet Eustace on March 2, 2013 at 11:21pm

kinda with adio on this, carnival you hold playoffs, i have a formula, will disclose later, but final night will have presentations like the grammys  best iron section best bass section etc prizes given out the selected bands, the response to point fortin borough day proved that pan has a place outside regular carnival, so fear not 

Comment by S. F. Thomas on March 2, 2013 at 8:29pm


please leave panorama where it is.

you don't have to get rid of panorama, to have a steelband festival with a different format, somewhere else on the calendar. there is room for both. and perhaps more, e.g. point fortin borough day, etc.

- big sid

Comment by Adio Lisimba on March 2, 2013 at 10:57am

I have suggested to my colleages that panorama has overstayed its time in carnival. we should in my opion move it panorama to a day for e.g.to republic day. The reason why i suggested is because we all know that a calypso  sung by a calypsoian and played by a steel orchestra as a winning piece for panorama has not won road for over thirty years. Steel pan music is a growing phenonam around the world with the younger generation and if we are the leaders of pan lets set the tone. So to the question maybe yes because the music moved from ten minutes of glory to eight minutes of style , flair and showmanship. Our arrangers are dreamers let them dream this 2013 we should be showing the world that we can put Two Hundred panist on a stage playing our calypso music for Twelve minutes, and yes i said it Twelve minutes of great glory. So to the adminstraitors you dont know where and why pan came but it will remain and we must remain the leaders so get with program. Bam.

Comment by Sweet Eustace on March 2, 2013 at 1:02am

air play might only help to hype up the crowd a bit, sometimes it can kill a band if they are playing an extremely popular piece, if they do not rise to the same momentum or surpass, it some live bands performing in clubs etc will play the break music at a much more subdued level i n order not to be upstaged by it,last year some bands played a real popular tune and the hype was on then the band dropped the tempo to a slower than the record speed and it became a lul,maramounta do you rember the tune Trinidad Oil as a panorama piece it was and still is one of the strangest melody to be played on pan and the audience was lost, Odessey in steel had no air play because it had nothing to play yet it went over well with the crowd, I don't know some of the songs being sung on American Idol yet it is very easy to tell if a singer is makinng a killer performance or lack lusture piece, 

Comment by S. F. Thomas on March 1, 2013 at 7:56am

@marabounta, @trevor, @se

thanks for the complimentary remarks ... yes, it is important to define terms for these kinds of discussions. i am no musicologist, by any means. my training is in engineering, economics and finance. but regardless of the field, conceptual clarity is important. and at some level, d rama is too defining a contribution to the cultural matrix of t&t to be left entirely to the panmen and arrangers. it is like what they say about war ... it is too important to be left only to the generals. and it is like what se said once about food ... you don't have to be a culinary expert to know when there is too much, or not enough, salt in the dish... so thanks for the complimentary remarks, but i won't flatter myself that i'm more than a mere patron of the restaurant that is d rama. the real expertise must remain in the kitchen...

- big sid

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