Buccooneers all the way
By COREY CONNELLY Monday, February 11 2013
click on pic to zoom in
SWEET ON THE BASS: This panman pounds sweet music on the bass as his band NLCB Buccooneers played its way into first place at Saturday's National Pano...
CONTINUING in the vein of its island counterpart Petrotrin Katzenjammers, Tobago steelband NLCB Buccooneers on Saturday won the medium band category of the National Panorama Finals at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain, taking home a hefty $600,000 pay packet.
Jubilation reigned among players and supporters at the Savannah as the band, from scenic Buccoo, was announced winner in this category with a total of 279 points, edging out closet rival, Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille by three points. The latter received $550,000 for placing second.
Katzenjammers, which was seeking a third consecutive win in the medium band category of the competition this year, secured third spot with 272 points. They got $500,000 for their effort.
Performing “Gold,” a Cecil Hume composition, in position four in their category, NLCB Buccooneers went into Saturday’s finals as a hot favourite after leading the pack in the semi-final round of the competition on January 27 with a score of 271 points.
Wearing dashiki-type, white tops with a print bearing Trinidad and Tobago’s national colours, the band rendered a spirited performance of the tune before a capacity audience. The song was vocalised by Machel Montano, Rikki Jai, Duane O’Connor and Karene Asche.
During its presentation, a member of the band sauntered across the stage, mimicking Keshorn Walcott’s record-breaking javelin throw at the London Olympics last August. The feat earned TT its second gold medal in the history of the Olympic Games.
Formerly known as Buccooneers Steel Orchestra, the band was established in Chance Street, Buccoo, Tobago, in 1967 and for years performed as an unsponsored outfit.
It marketed itself through performances in the “Sunday School” street extravaganza in Buccoo as well as the Easter Goat Race event in the community.
The band has taken part in many Panorama competitions and Steelband Music Festivals. In 1980, Buccooneers travelled to North America because of its performance in the 1980 Music Festival.
Speaking to reporters after receiving their $600,000 replica cheque, the band’s arranger, Seion Gomez, said he was grateful that their hard work had finally paid off.
“It is a very good feeling after all the hard work. After all the long nights. After all the time when you got upset because you are not getting what you want and then coming and hearing that you win, it is a blessed feeling,” said a visibly elated Gomez, surrounded by cheering supporters. Gomez said he was also glad that Buccooneers had taken the baton from Katzenjammers.
“At least it stayed home (Tobago),” he said of Buccooneers victory. Ironically, Katzenjammers had edged out Buccooneers in last year’s competition.
The dreadlocked arranger said the band, led by Mervyn Solomon, will now have to redouble its efforts to remain at the top of their game given their status as the champion medium band.
He said: “Buccooneers is a band that operates all year long. So, now we will have to put in a higher gear because the hard work has to come now.
“Right now, all the bands in the medium category in Trinidad going to be running after us because we are now the champions. So, we have to whatever it takes to maintain this victory from now on.”
Gomez said he did not know how the band planned to celebrate its success.
Like Buccooneers, the Kern John-led Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille had also delivered a stirring performance of Arrow’s (Alphonsus Lassell’s) 1984 hit “Long Time,” a piece arranged by Ken “Professor” Philmore.
Katzenjammers’ rendition of Eunice Peters’ “Keshorn - Javelin Champion,” was also well- received by the audience.
In other standings, Curepe Scherzando, which had many young players, placed fourth with their tune of choice, Winston Scarborough’s (De Fosto’s) “We Come Out To Play.” They received $450,000. The selection was also performed by the San Fernando-based band, Pan Elders, which placed fifth. NGC Joylanders, of Railway Road, Couva, placed sixth with Edwin Ayoung’s (Crazy’s) 2007 tune, “Band From Space” while Valley Harps and Steel Xplosion tied for seventh spot.
Another Tobago band, Carib Dixieland, of Mt Pleasant, placed ninth with Denyse Plummer’s “Shock Attack,” while Arima Angel Harps came in tenth, again with De Fosto’s “We Come Out To Play.”
Bands in the medium category of the National Panorama competition are allowed a minimum of 65 players and a maximum of 90. They are allowed a playing time of eight minutes although several bands exceeded their allotted time.
This year’s competition commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Panorama competition. It was dedicated to the memory of pan icon, Bertie Marshall, who passed away last October.