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"Vibes" - Starlift (2012 Panorama Semi-Finals)

Starlift steel orchestra. Large Band category. Arranged by Liam Teague. Performed at the Queens Park Savannah, Trinidad & Tobago, February 5th 2012.

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Comment by TTDolphin on February 11, 2012 at 4:43am

Everyone is entitled to their opinion obviously but should not talk about what they don't know first hand.  The players did enjoy playing Liam's arrangements both last year and this year.  His music is challenging and would only make the players better with their execution. I think that one of the problems is that the bloody Panorama is too long.  How can you expect a player to perform at their best at 2:00 am in the morning after being in the Savannah from 6 or 7:00 pm?  The judges are only human and they obviously would be exhausted at that hour of the morning. The authorities should look at holding the competition over a 2 day period.  The small and medium bands can be on one day and the large on the Sunday, or something like that.  It is simply too long!!  Regarding Ray Holman, it's a case of been there done that.  Starlift needs someone to grow with and in my opinion, Liam is the way to go.  He is also always willing to listen to suggestions and learn.  Hold your head up Starlift, next year is not far away. 

Comment by patrick on February 10, 2012 at 9:36pm

Starlift need to get rid of Liam. The boy cannot arrange a panorama tune to compete with boogsie, smooth, and even addrian herbert. I feel so sorry for Starlift, such a great band, the fans and management deserve better. This is the only band in Trinidad and Tobago can revive itself for next year and be very competitive fot rhe finals. Bring back Ray Holman

Comment by S. F. Thomas on February 10, 2012 at 3:02pm

Hi Danny,

My involvement has been far away at the periphery, unfortunately. But as a little boy in the Southern Marines panyard, I remember when the big boys were arguing about whether to call it a "steel band" or a "steel orchestra". From that, Glenroy can date me, LOL! That was before the first Panorama ever held. But I was only ever a supporter, and helped push plenty a pan rack up places like the hill on Rushworth St.

I lived a long time in the States and would try to come down every year for carn... panorama. So I have been blessed to witness the Golden Age of Pan, and to see it spread far and wide.

In my travels, I met Rudy Smith and Anise Hadeed in Copenhagen, of all places, some TASPO ol' boys in London. (Rudy Smith was the one that first called me "Big Sid", but I've lost some weight since, LOL!) I was a yearly contributor to Panmasters in DC, attended a pan conference in Atlanta when I was there for a little bit. There I met the beautiful Dr. Dawn Batson, and other pan luminaries.

I've read some of the literature on the physics of pan, including the famous one by the Swedish guy, and even the patent filings on the G pan.

I had a fairly extensive collection of VCRs, albums and etc. on pan, which I lost to Hurricane Katrina.

All that to say, I've been around the block, in more ways than one, where pan is concerned, but never from the inside out. That is both good and bad. Anyway, I try to deal in Truth and Reality always, and to be clear-sighted as best I can. Others may judge the credibility of whatever I have to say. I appreciate WST for this outlet. I contribute when I can. I don't always agree with views I see here, but one thing I know is that we are all united in a love for pan on this blog. So even when I put forward strongly stated views, I try not to be disagreeable, and hope they are taken in the right light and spirit.

That's also why I defend even the judges, LOL! I'm sure they're doing the best they can, at a very, very hard job. Despite everything, after 50 years, pan has been a big winner under panorama, in my opinion.

I've been contributing to this blog, sporadically, for at least a couple of years now. I also hope to be around for a long time. So I'll look forward to future exchanges on this or that.

I'm just grateful I've been here to witness this Golden Age of Pan. Long may it continue!

-Big Sid

Comment by Danny Serrant on February 10, 2012 at 1:40pm

Sorry about the error.I meant[it doesn't matter how much music you know].

Comment by Danny Serrant on February 10, 2012 at 1:36pm

Hi again Big  Sid!    I Think our culture needs a voice such as yours.I feel as though I'm hearing my mind speaking to me,and I've been deeply involved in pan since the 50s. As for the reference to Raf,I was just pointing out that, like you stated,it doesn't matter how music know ,the competition is the main objective.It's been a very  educational experience communicating with you.Hope to hear from you again                                                                    

Comment by S. F. Thomas on February 10, 2012 at 10:08am

Sorry, my post was too lengthy, and I got cut off.

I was just wrapping it up anyway, making reference to the Miles Davis polarity, which is dangerous for a folk art like Panorama. 

I'll let that thought just hang, and leave it at that.

- Big Sid

Comment by S. F. Thomas on February 10, 2012 at 10:00am

Thanks again, Danny.

I don't know Raf personally, but he seems to be a very well-meaning, personable guy, that's easy to like. So if I dare to criticize him, or for that matter any one of these maestros -- and I give them that, they are giants, all of them -- it is nothing personal.

The thing is the attitude of mind that is brought to the situation. With one attitude you suffer defeat, with another attitude, success is guaranteed.

The definition of success in music is a very simple thing, and it is not "winning the competition". In the context of Panorama, Bradley said it best: did you make the *people* (not the judges) want to get up and wine?

Guess what, the arranger should know he is on the wrong track if he doesn't excite even the *players*. When there is clarity on that, what the judges do becomes very secondary.

We need to carefully understand that even when the judges get it right, the arithmetic of the score sheet could yield a collective result that a majority of the judges, individually, would *not* have wanted. That is why I always say, given the judging *system* -- that all the bands, collectively, have adopted, remember -- the judges may not always agree with the judges! Can the system be improved? Certainly. Can it be made perfect? I doubt that. Therefore judging and judges are illusionary targets of discontent.

Career development of players also is secondary. Not all of them want to become "professional" or to go to Juilliard. But *all* of them want to enjoy the music. Especially the ones who want to get into Juilliard. Therefore, focus on the enjoyment. If you get that right, the rest will fall into place.

Even character development of the youth is secondary. Because, to get the music right, the player has to submit to something greater than himself. From that comes a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, and it is from that, that character development flows. That's why panmen and panwomen are such beautiful people. They know how to work hard, they know how to enjoy themselves, they know how to submerge themselves in team-work, and they know the quiet inner satisfaction from doing good work, doing it well, and enjoying the fruits. There is a subliminal projection of the inner joy and beauty that comes with these things, which is why pan and pan music has spread as far and as wide as it has. There is a wholesome enjoyment to it that is hard to resist. And that is what panmen and panwomen project so well. That is character development.

The arranger, also, has to submit to something greater than himself. He doesn't have to look very far. If the players are enjoying the music, chances are the people also will enjoy it. If the players are not enjoying the music, how can you expect the people to get up and wine? So the arranger has to submit to the feedback he will be getting from his first audience, his players. But only he must judge when to insist and persist in something, trusting that it will work; he cannot be wishy-washy, the players will not follow a wishy-washy arranger either. So it's a tricky thing, ultimately a mind thing. But it all comes down to enjoyment. The arrangement will work if it will make the people want to get up and wine. Everything else is secondary.

The "suffering genius" bit may have a kernel of truth in it, but it's mostly b-s. The arranger as artist has to get out of his own mind, and simply make the people want to get up and dance. That's the Bradley polarity. If he is too wrapped up in his own mind, his arrangements may become over-wrought, and detract from the enjoyment. I say may, not will, because there is an exception to everything. It depends on the muse. If the inspiration is clear, pure and direct, the artist will listen to no one else, and yes indeed, if the inspiration is that strong, a work of genius may emerge, even if the artist pays no mind to the players, the judges, nor the people. This is the Mi

Comment by Danny Serrant on February 9, 2012 at 11:03pm

Man, you know what the story is.  I played with Bradley a few times,then I played with Raf and we had a good relationship.I realized the struggle he was having.He was trying not to go in Bradley's direction,but Bradley was a proven winner,so there was no shame in emulating him . But you know how fragile the ego can be. I was in this situation with the feeling that Panorama was stunting the growth of the Pannist,then I realized that there are other forums to use to keep the music playing.so now I teach and try to promote the culture as much as I can.  I really enjoy communicating with you.Your words will serve me well when ever I lose my direction.Thanks for your objectivity.


Comment by S. F. Thomas on February 9, 2012 at 9:34pm

Thank you Danny.

I think arrangers are playing a losing mind game if they worry about judges. What they need to be clear about is what it is they're trying to do. It's exactly like a musician at a fete. If you can't/won't/don't want to make people get up and dance, then you have failed as a musician. At the fete. And it doesn't matter if you are better than Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Bach, and Mozart all put together. The key word there is fete. If you're in a concert hall, then that's another matter. Your job there is not to make people get up and wine, but to sit down with awe and astonishment at sheer musical artistry. That is fine too. But the job description is different. Don't try to change the Panorama into a concert hall. Not even Miles Davis could succeed at that.

I think that's the attitude adjustment that the high-toned arrangers -- Liam, Raf, and ... Andre better watch himself -- have to make when they come to compete in the Panorama. By all means hone and master your craft in the best way that Western Academy allows, be it Juilliard or the university, the philharmonic, or night-in night-out professional music circles, but don't forget the roots in folk music, in the fete and in the carnival.

Roy Cape might very well be able to blow like Coltrane, but he shouldn't try that at say, Calypso Fiesta. Same with the Panorama arrangers. By all means say to hell with the judges, but don't disdain the folk without whom you wouldn't have a wuk, and without whom you wouldn't have fallen in love with the music in the first place.

Forget the competition, forget the judges, but do like Joey Lewis or Ron Berridge at a fete, or like Clive Bradley at the Panorama, and *make* the people want to get up and wine. The joy you get from that is satisfaction enough. If you win a prize that's only the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. 

- Big Sid

Comment by 911 on February 9, 2012 at 7:36pm

The point is Starlift & Liam Teague's is like rum & gas they don't mix.Take that same band Starlift and give it to Ray Holman and you will see the difference.I rest my case.

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