Getting Panned in Trinidad

by Jacob on October 1, 2013

Given the choice between Chinese water torture and being forced to listen to a recording of steel drums I might lean towards the former. The steel drum, or steel pan or just “pan” as most Trinidadians call it, is one of the instruments that just doesn’t translate very well to recordings and it is best appreciated it in its natural setting: performed by an orchestra of hundreds on a hot, sweaty night in Trinidad, ideally during the annual Panorama competition and with a belly full of local rum.

I witnessed firsthand just how awful steel drums can be on two occasions this past week. First, at the hands of a disinterested steel drum band of about 6 musicians playing watered down versions of “Volaré” and “Bamboleo” at the Hilton hotel overlooking downtown Port of Spain. This was quintessential elevator music: bland, insipid, lifeless and just plain cheesy. Ironically, we were just a few hundreds yards away from the neighborhood where the steel drum was invented back in the early 1940s.

The second opportunity to hear steel drums gone bad was in the lounge of the National Geographic Explorer ship, on which I am currently traveling down the east coast of South America. The local Guyanese tour operators probably thought they were giving us what we wanted when they brought on board a very cool looking steel drum player, older and with long dreadlocks. He proceeded to set up his laptop computer to provide horrific drum machine and swooping synthesizer chords to back up his renditions of “How Deep Is Your Love” by The Bee Gees, “The Greatest Love of All” and, in a particularly inappropriate choice while playing on a cruise ship, the Theme song from “The Titanic”. I was gritting my teeth, hoping none of the guests thought I had anything to do with this textbook example of how far the steel drum has come from its funky and actually quite inspirational origins.

Indeed, the steel drum deomstrates how creative people can transform industrial garbage into beautiful art. It symbolizes the ingenuity of a culture that, in the face of limited resources, political and social restrictions and a historical legacy of slavery and exploitation, could invent an entirely new acoustic instrument that would one day be used to play complex orchestral works and embody the soul, spirit, culture and history of the Trinidadian people. All the more tragic that it has become ubiquitous in Caribbean tourist hotels and used to perform songs best left to seedy karaoke bars.

Something magical happened while I was in Port of Spain last week. I was transported back in time, to 1947 to be precise, and witnessed the first ever steel drum competition. Young men dressed in white t-shirts, sailor caps and khaki pants jumped on a decrepit stage, British flags on the curtain behind them, as they held their rudimentary steel drums. Some we’re cut small and held in their hands, others were full drums lined in rows to provide bass notes. The audience cheered, their surprise at the magical sounds coming out of the waste of the local oil industry, sparking a cultural and musical revolution that lives on to this day.

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About five years earlier, someone looked thoughtfully at one of the many oil drums littering Port of Spain’s oil yards (Trinidad struck oil back in the 1850s and remains one of the Caribbean top producers of oil and other petroleum products) and thought to themselves, “I wonder what that would sound like if I hit it with a stick.”

Trinidad, as with many parts of the Caribbean where African drums were banned, has a long tradition of making musical instruments out of found objects like frying pans, car brake rims, bamboo sticks, metal bars and other found objects. In the oil drum this found its ultimate expression.

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It wasn’t long before an indentation was made in the top of the drum to give it two separate notes. That soon expanded to more elaborate indentations until a fully formed melodic instrument was formed, one that was capable of playing all of the tones of a scale and thus could be used for all sorts of musical mayhem.

Check out this great short Pete Seeger film from 1956 on how to make a steel drum

 

Competition, sometimes friendly, sometimes violent, has long been part of Trinidadian culture and soon rival steel drum gangs were battling in the streets of Trinidad. Sometimes the knives would come out and actual blood was shed, but eventually the competitions became formalized and in there I was in 1947 watching the first official steel drum competition.

I wasn’t actually back in time – I was a guest at a film shoot for a new movie docu-drama that tells the story of the development of the steel drum, from its humble beginnings in the poor neighborhoods of Port of Spain to the awesome Panorama competitions that attract an audience of thousands from all over the world. The film is to be called Pan! A Modern Odyssey and its producer is Jean Michel Gibert, an old friend who has been at the forefront of the Trinidadian music industry for years.

Watch The Preview of the Film Pan! A Modern Odyssey

Learn More About the Film Pan! A Modern Odyssey

 

Even though he has been living in Trinidad at least as long as I have known him, almost twenty years now, Jean Michel still has a strong French accent. He is a tireless proponent of local music, and every time I meet him he is excited about some new project, be it the documentary Calypso at Dirty Jim’s that he helped produce, the new album in development from soca diva Calypso Rose or the latest carnival hit “Differentology” by Bunji Garlin. Jean Michel has his fingers on the pulse of the Trinidad music scene, so of course he was the first person I called when I knew I would be in Port of Spain.

He did not disappoint – being able to witness the reenactment of this monumental moment in Trinidadian music history was the next best thing to being there. I immersed myself in the moment, and it wasn’t hard to imagine I was actually in the crowd on that day that changed Caribbean music forever.

On my way over to the shoot I explored the downtown streets of Port of Spain. As I walked past one building with a mural on the wall advertising steel drum lessons, I heard the unmistakable tinkling of steel drums wafting out of its open doorway. I peeked my head in to see a group of children, aged 9 or 10, getting taught the basics of how to play the steel drum. It was a new generation who would be tasked with the responsibility of keeping steel drum music going strong far into the future.

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I also walked by the steel yard of the Renegades, an orchestra that competes every year in the Panorama competition. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it back to the yard later that night to attend their evening rehearsal, which I’ve heard is more of a social club. Much beer is imbibed, fights break out, and occasionally, the groups strikes up the metallic cacophony that is a true steel drum orchestra. Sounds just like my kind of scene!

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Alas, my dream of experiencing a full steel drum orchestra live and in its natural context will have to remain just that. My time on Port of Spain was so short and not during carnival season, when the steel drum orchestras truly shine. Hopefully, I won’t have to suffer through too many hotel bar steel drum bands before I get a chance to see the real thing, live and in person. The watered down version most people are familiar with has nothing to do with the real thing. While I had a chance to travel back to the past and witness the origins of the steel drum first hand, I’ll need to wait for the future to have an opportunity to hear a true steel drum orchestra performance during a hot Carnival night in Port of Spain.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Teresa Doyle October 1, 2013 at 10:45 PM

Hey Jacob, I’ll be following your journey, it sounds amazing. We heard some great steel band soca in Tobago when we were there @ five years ago. We also stumbled on a steel yard near Port of Spain and met a steel pan maker.There’s good music out there…..sorry you missed the best of it. Enjoy your trip.

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Steve Lawrie October 3, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Hello Jacob,

I think the fact that the pan is now available around the world in all kinds of different formats is a *good* thing. I’m a professional pan maker who was instrumental (no pun intended) in bringing the instrument to South Africa, and I live in the USA now.

Its true that there are awful examples of pan around; just with any instrument (who in their time hasn’t sat through a 3rd grade violin recital?).

But I think you do a disservice to pan in your article to promote the viewpoint that the *only* place to find “authentic” pan is in Trinidad, and to describe it as a “metallic cacophony”. There are literally hundreds of very good steelbands around the world, While it’s fair to say that there are not many bands that kind rival the kind of energy put out by a Panorama-ready band such as Renegades, Despers, or Phase II and their ilk, they’re in no way “lesser” groups for that.

I played with Renegades daily between November 1993 and April 1994, and there was nothing “occasional” about the music. They were a focused, intense musical machine; yes, beer was drunk, but I never saw a fight. Ever. And I would venture to say that they’d be offended at your description of their rendition of Eine Kleine Nachtmuziek or the Hallelujah Chorus as a “metallic cacophony”. Classical and Pop music too has been part of the steelband movement from the very early days. There’s a wonderful video called “18 on Steel” filmed in 1962 at a competition at the US Naval Base in Chaguanas that shows this. Bootleg versions are around on youtube if you can get the search engine past the fascination with large trucks.

I find your article very interesting, but I think you’re missing some of the important elements of pan by taking (in my mind) the somewhat stereotypical view of “what pan is”.

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Jacob October 4, 2013 at 12:38 AM

I agree with you. I think my opening sentence gives the impression that I don’t love the steel pan. I wrote it intentionally to get people’s attention. The reality is I really do love the steel pan, just not the terrible ways in which it gets used. Most of the world has a skewed impression of steel drum music because so many of us are exposed to horrible bar bands playing cheesy cover songs or shlocky albums designed for tourists who could care less about the true repertoire and spirit of the places where the instrument was born.

I didn’t say Trinidad was the only place to find authentic pan music, I set it was best appreciated in its natural setting. That’s different.

I meant “metallic cacophony” as a complement…part of what makes the music interesting to me is when it retains some of its rough edges. That’s how steel drum music was in its early days.

Please keep in mind, I’m writing as a casual observer and not someone deeply imbedded in the steel pan world, which I know many people are very close to, deeply involved with and very passionate about (as the online response to my article reveals…I’ve seen some pretty harsh critique about this article and me personally on a steel drum forum). And my article was a response to a couple of examples of why I think steel drum music can both be very bad and very good.

The steel drum is an amazing, wonderful instrument that I have deep respect and admiration for as well as for the whole pan community. I want it to thrive and develop far into the future. I just wish it wasn’t used as often to create cheesy, simplistic music for tourists that gives the instrument (and Caribbean music in general ) a bad image and impression.

Also, my point is that I have heard hundreds of steel drum recordings over the year, and either they are not well recorded or they just don’t capture the power of a true steel drum orchestra.

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James October 4, 2013 at 7:16 AM

Most instruments are used often to create cheesy, simpistic music!

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Steve Lawrie October 4, 2013 at 7:17 AM

“Cheesy cover songs” have been part of the authentic steelband experience from day one; we can argue over how cheesy, but certainly in the early days in Trinidad pan played whatever was popular, and yes, often times the arrangements were fairly crude. This was by necessity: at that time the instrument was not tuned in concert pitch, and many pans did not have a full chromatic scale, and the arrangers had little formal training. But without a doubt, that was *authentic* pan experience.

Its hard to conceive that you meant “metallic cacophony” as a compliment in the context of the rest of that sentence… “…I wasn’t able to make it back to the yard later that night to attend their evening rehearsal, which I’ve heard is more of a social club. Much beer is imbibed, fights break out, and occasionally, the groups strikes up the metallic cacophony that is a true steel drum orchestra.” That sounds (to me, and many others across the pan world) like you think these guys are not even remotely serious about the music, and more interested in just hanging out. I’d be interested to know who told you that (“…which I’ve heard…”) Before making a comment like that, any responsible author would have looked into it closely.

If your article was written purely for shock value, you achieved your goal. And along with that, you should not be surprised to discover that you’ve raised the ire of many pan people around the globe.

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Jim Royle October 3, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Hi Jacob,

Thats a VERY STRONG opening paragraph. Have you listened to current recordings of Panorama, and the like? How about Andy Narell, Tom Miller, Phil Hawkins, Tracy Thornton to name a few. I have to disagree that there are Excellent sound quality recordings of pan…..

Jim Royle

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Jacob October 4, 2013 at 12:22 AM

Hi Jim:

Yes, I should have said “most” pan recordings, as I generally like Andy Narell’s work, especially his recent album with Relator. I’ll check out the others you mention as well. Although I will say while even recordings of large steel bands like Panorama I can appreciate on an intellectual level, just don’t translate to the album context for me. Maybe it is the way they have been recorded, or the choice of repertoire…I can’t say. Some types of music really do lose something when you don’t experience them in person.

Jacob

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Ed Peters October 3, 2013 at 12:23 PM

If you are looking for a Big Mac with runny cheese you will find it But if you are diligently searching for Caviar.. your patience will be rewarded

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Jai Ojah-Maharaj October 4, 2013 at 5:53 PM

If pan is considered to be such a nuisance I wonder
why The Toronto School Board has a huge steel band
programme in their schools? Have you listened to the
1960 Album of Ivory and Steel.?
It is an unbelievable recording, one can hardly tell
the difference between the piano of the Great Winnifred
Atwell and the Pan Am Jet North Stars Steel Orchestra.
Check the recording of the Steel Band Music Festival
again in the 1960s Steel orchestras playing the very best
In Classics. This was the early stages of the steel band movement
the quality of the recordings and the music in our opinion
were of a very high standard and quality..
But then you are an American citizen I assume it is not
suprising that you would prefer the music of China.
So does the many millions of shoppers at Wal Mart who
prefer Chinese products that are highly disposable.
Steel Band is not, ask many Europeans and North Americans
why they are so enthralled with the steel drum and find it is
one of the most rewarding experience to be part of the Panorama
and Steel Pan Movement.

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Jacob October 5, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Hello Jai. Thanks for the suggestions, I will certainly try to track down those recordings you mention and check them out.

I’m not sure what the line about being an American citizen and preferring the music of China is about. I don’t think I said anything in my post about preferring the music of China…?

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Jacob October 4, 2013 at 7:53 PM

As some of you have mentioned, this blog post has generated quite a bit of commentary on steel pan forums, notably at http://whensteeltalks.ning.com/forum/topics/getting-panned-in-trinidad—insult-or-not? where there are currently 7 pages of responses to my post. Many of them are quite intense, angry and some quite filled with vitriol. I clearly pushed some buttons with this post!

Here is the text of the response to these comments that I posted on the forum:

“Hi Everyone. I’m Jacob Edgar, the author of the blog post at http://www.hearglobally.com that has generated so much response on this forum. I am happy to see that my post has been read by so many people, and even that it has sparked so much debate, although I get the impression from some of the vitriol and negative comments, directed both towards the substance of the article and myself personally, that the article was either not read in its entirety by everyone or it was misunderstood.

I’d like to clarify the intention of my post and use this opportunity to explain a bit more what my thoughts are on the subject of steel pan.

First of all, the title and opening sentence of the post was intended to get people’s attention (which clearly it did), but if you read the entire article to the end it should be clear that I love the steel pan and have a great deal of respect, admiration and appreciation for the instrument itself, its history and the community from which it was born and keeps it going strong today.

The criticisms I was intending to make were twofold:

1) The fact that most recordings of steel pan music are either not very well made, contain repertoire that does not reflect the cultural traditions that inspired the instrument or fail in representing the power, spectacle and majesty of a steel drum orchestra in the context in which it originates.
2) That most people are exposed to pan music through tourist-oriented presentations that water down the true depth of the instrument, include repertoire of dubious taste and generally give a bad or misleading impression of steel pan music to people who don’t know any better.

In regards to the first critique, while I am sure there are many excellent pan recordings out there that I am not aware of, I have listened to hundreds of pan albums over the years and have struggled mightily to find selections that I felt would appeal to a wide audience, and by that I mean to include people who may not be passionate devotees of pan music and thus don’t have a very deep sense of the history and culture surrounding the instrument or are hearing out of context. Either the recordings are poorly made with inferior techniques or equipment and just sound like a lot of noise or they contain cheesy, overdone or just plain kitschy covers of bland international pop songs. Even in Trinidad, where I was hoping I would find a wider selection of pan recordings in local record shops, I was disappointed see how many consisted of poor recordings and non-local repertoire. These are not recording I would play for a friend who knows nothing about pan music in the hopes of convincing them to become interested in it, nor is it material that I would listen to for anything other then intellectual interest.

I am sure there are some excellent recordings of pan music out there, and it was wrong of me to not include the word “most” in my opening sentence, as I do have some pan recordings my collection that I truly love. I would be happy for your suggestions on other artists or recordings that you think I should know about. It has long been a goal to create a steel drum collection for Putumayo, we just need to find enough songs that we think will appeal to a non-pan devoted audience, but would also reflect the repertoire and culture of the communities where the music originated.

I think when you are very close to a musical tradition, as all of you who commented on this forum seem to be, it is difficult to understand why anyone wouldn’t appreciate everything that you do about that which you are passionate about. In my career as someone who tries to introduce new audiences to music from around the world, I approach things from a different perspective, searching for a song or recording that will draw newcomers in but that also remains close to the spirit of the music and the culture from whence it comes. I have found that to be a challenge with the steel drum recordings that exists on the market today.

I also feel that no audio recording can ever capture the full experience of a live steel pan orchestra, especially one seen in its native country where the ambience, volume, movement, and spectacle are all part of the picture. Recordings only capture a part of the story, and one that in my point of view, misses some key elements that make the music what it is.

In regards to critique number two, during my short visit to the region I observed two performances of steel drum music, both of which set my teeth on edge and, in my opinion, were perfect examples of why steel pan music is misunderstood by so many people. The first example was a disinterested band playing for a group of tourists at a Port of Spain hotel. The song selection included insipid covers of old chestnuts like “Volare” and was performed by a group of musicians who were clearly not enjoying themselves much, even though their skills as musicians was clearly fine. The second was on board the ship I am traveling on during a stop in Guyana, in which a steel pan player backed himself up with a computer laying down synthetic drum beats and pre-arranged backing tracks while he performed pop songs originally made famous The Bee Gees, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and other artists whom I wouldn’t be surprised think a steel pan is something you cook on, not a musical instrument.

I think these types of presentations, which are prevalent anywhere tourists in the Caribbean are to be found, give steel drum music a bad name and do serious damage to the image and reputation of the instrument. I’ve heard plenty of bad cover bands using guitars or keyboards or any number of instruments, but the steel drum has a such a distinct sound and image that it makes it difficult for me to listen to a lot of steel pan music without thoughts of this horrible stuff coming to mind.

I think the comments I have seen on this forum that bothered me the most were ones that seemed to indicate that because I am white I have no right to offer criticisms about steel pan music. I think the right to criticize cheesy covers of bad pop songs is a universal right that can be engaged in by anyone no matter what their race, religion or cultural background. If you like that kind of music, that’s your prerogative and more power to you, I’m not trying to tell you not to like something. My blog is a place where I can express my own personal opinions, likes and dislikes, and I respect your right to your own taste in music just as I hope you will respect mine.

The fact is, I love the steel pan. I have tremendous respect for its history, what it represents as a cultural expression and want it to be played, performed and promoted far and wide. I am actually so happy to see by discovering this forum how many devoted and passionate steel pan followers there are and, regardless of the criticism my article received, love the fact that there such heated and extensive debate about this instrument, its past and its future.

If reading through the rest of the article did not result in the recognition of how much I respect the instrument and tradition than that is a flaw in how I wrote it. Throughout the article I discuss my pleasure at coming across a group of students learning to play the instrument, my joy at having been invited to witness a recreation of the first steel drum competition and my excitement at passing by the Renegades steel yard combined with my disappointment that I would not be in Trinidad long enough to hear the steel pan orchestra in a setting like no other in the world, Port of Spain during the Panorama competition.

Also, let me clarify, when I used the term “metallic cacophony” that was intended as a complement. Part of what makes the music interesting to me is when it retains some of its rough edges. That’s how steel drum music was in its early days, when the instrument wasn’t as finely tuned, when it sounded like a stick on metal, when it was more about soul and less about refinement. That’s a personal preference, and one that comes from my appreciation for the origins of the instrument and the role it played in helping define Trinidadian musical identity.

Also, I have never been to a Renegades rehearsal, so you are correct, I have no idea if people drink too much or fight, or anything like that, it was my overactive imagination at work. I do hope someday that I get the chance to be in Port of Spain for Panorama so I can achieve my dream of hearing the steel pan orchestra in its unfettered glory. On that occasion I may end up drinking too much (and it looks like I already started a fight!), but that doesn’t mean anyone else has to!

Thank you all for contributing to the debate about the powers of this instrument and music and for your dedication and efforts to promoting steel pan music and keeping it a vital force in Trinidadian and international music. If my comments offended any of you, I apologize, it was purely out of an effort to get interest in the blog post and hopefully encourage people to read the whole thing. I hope you will forgive any offenses and have me back in Trinidad someday, ideally with more time and with a chance to learn more.

All the best,

Jacob Edgar
http://www.hearglobally.com / http://www.cumbancha.com / http://www.putumayo.com / http://www.musicvoyager.com

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Claude Gonzales October 5, 2013 at 12:31 AM

Jacob: Don’t go overboard and think that you are the ONLY PERSON with that perspective on the PAN. A high percentage of Trinidadians living in Trinidad share your view. It is interesting to note that Jim Royle fell into a trap with his list (“How about Andy Narell, Tom Miller, Phil Hawkins, Tracy Thornton to name a few”.) for obvious reasons.

I am from Trinidad and a regular “opponent” on WST and recently I put up a post titled: “WHERE IS THE MUSIC?” Of course I was vilified with the usual abuses but NOBODY put up ONE PIECE OF MUSIC as a counter. That is why I isolated that line from your article and posted it for discussion.

Hold your ground and don’t get brow-beaten in the mantra that PAN IS THE GREATEST INSTRUMENT IN THE WORLD AND PAN CAN PLAY ANYTHING AND SOON PANORAMA BROADCASTS WILL BE TRANSMITTED ALL OVER THE WORLD TO BILLIONS OF PEOPLE.

Claude Gonzales

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Jacob October 5, 2013 at 8:31 AM

Thanks, Claude. I certainly stepped on a hornet’s nest when I criticized pan recordings and cheesy pan cover bands. As I mentioned in my rebuttal, we have been wanting to do a steel pan compilation for Putumayo for many years now and just have not been able to find enough material that we felt would appeal to people who are not devotees of pan music. I’d be happy for suggestions from anyone on recordings they think I should check out and I will certainly do so.

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Matt Davies October 10, 2013 at 4:09 AM

Jacob; Have you tried listening to Phase II Pan Groove’s album entitled, ‘Another Phase’. I am not sure what year it was released (c. 2000?) or who recorded it, but you will find that many of the tracks, most of which are Boogsie Sharpe originals, have great tonal quality and, for the most part, are not typical calypso/soca pan material and, as far as fitting the Putamayo criteria are concerned, would have a much wider appeal than a typical Panorama tune.
Also, I would highly recommend that you contact Simeon Sandiford (of SANCH ELECTRONIX email: sanch@carib-link.net) if you are seeking material for a compilation album. Simeon is a serious audiophile and has undoubtedly compiled the most extensive library of original recordings of Trinidad’s leading steelbands. If I had to recommend one selection in particular though, it would be SANCH’s recording of Ray Holman’s “Special Brew”. This has been released on a couple of SANCH’s CDs, firstly on ‘Tribute to Ray Holman’ and then, some years later on ‘Special Brew’, a compilation CD of excellent Panorama music – many of which are played at ‘coasting’ tempo.
There is no doubt about what you say regarding the issue of sound quality on many recordings of large steelbands in particular. Part of the problem stems from the fact that steelbands do not place their instruments strictly in sections, as a conventional orchestra might. Instead, for example, basses can be positioned on both sides of the band, as well as to the front and back, and it is quite usual to find lead/melody pans scattered throughout the band. There are good reasons for doing things this way but, from the standpoint of a recording engineer – or, for that matter, anyone who wants to ‘listen’ to the music, it means that there is no effective ‘soundscape’. The listener/microphone just gets a flat wall of sound. This is a serious issue and one which Simeon has been arguing against for some time now.
Of course, the other thing about so much pan music – especially Panorama music – is that, almost without exception, the music is played too loudly and much too fast and, as a consequence, ‘the music’ is sacrificed in favour of a highly exciting ‘performance’. The fact is that Panorama performances aren’t really for ‘listening’ to – in the same way that most rock music isn’t played for listening pleasure. It’s about expressing a feeling as forcefully and enthusiastically as possible.
There are other technical reasons why it is difficult to capture the sound of a large steelband – though I don’t believe it is impossible – but it would take some doing. And finally, even if you manage to get a great recording, there are very few home audio systems that could begin to reproduce the sound faithfully.
Good luck.

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Jacob October 10, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Thanks so much for the suggestions. I will definitely check them out. I was in touch with Sanch many years ago, but its been a while since I received anything new from them. Keep them coming!

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Sweet Eustace October 7, 2013 at 7:46 AM

Jacob I hear you glad you acknowledge your errors and taking your licks well, I too learnt the hard way, even though I am a born and bred Trini, if you were talking from the get go they would’ve cut you off and not let you go any further, some people probably did not read too much in the article, you are still dead on target, Ray Holman banged the trini audience and got his share, bands get on stage and the crowd gets in a frenzy “yuh hear pan, yuh hear pan!!!!” ask them what was their favourite line and they cannot tell you if they can they cannot whistle or hum it, the Tail wags the dog in pan, its a trini thing pan should sound like pan,yet we want to imitate this and that, it was its authenticity that made the world listen, it was a panman that started the Reggae lick but the jamaicans pushed it and they kept the jamaican flavour, even when they were making clean cuts ; when there were authentic pan round the neck bands around (not single pans ) in Trini they would steal the show from the conventional bands every time, cause they got down, people get cry down for being too karoke in Xfactor and American Idol, its cheesey, over smooth counterfiet, bootlegged, if you do Greatest love of all make it sound like it’s your song like whitney did right, and some Arrangers need to buck up, am talking to players and leaders now, we have a product but no packaging

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Bugs October 10, 2013 at 8:07 AM

Check this out – When Steel Talks folks blasted this today. This is not noise.
A Len “Boogsie” Sharpe arrangement of his 1996 composition Mind Yuh Business. This arrangement was captured by Basement Recordings in Pan Rebels panyard (on the sidewalk and street, literally) a few days before the New York Panorama… http://ning.it/19kui3y

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Jacob October 10, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Great, I will definitely listen to it. One of the positive things to come out of the When Steel Talks uproar is that I am now on their listserv and am receiving regular links to pan related songs and videos. Nice to see how active the group is and I’ll certainly be listening to as much of it as I can. My internet access is too slow on the ship to watch videos, but I’ll go through them all when I get back in November.

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