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Move to bring back pan in fetes

By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, January 5 2014

click on pic to zoom in
2012 winners Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars performing at the launch of Panorama at the Queen's Park Savannah, Friday night....
2012 winners Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars performing at the launch of Panorama at the Queen's Park Savannah, Friday night....

Patrons at Saturday night’s launch of Panorama 2014 at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of- Spain, were taken on a nostalgic journey to the days when pan and brass dominated fetes and other social events.

That the performances of the steel bands and artistes at the show reflected those years was no fluke, said Pan Trinbago President Keith Diaz.

Speaking to Sunday Newsday, Diaz said Pan Trinbago had taken a conscious decision to revisit that period when pan and brass were staples at parties throughout the country.

“We want to bring back pan in fete,” he said, adding that the performances of the various steelbands and artistes mirrored Pan Trinbago’s vision.

“We are about showcasing the culture of Trinidad and Tobago. There were times where if you had two steelbands in a party, there was one brass band.”

Indeed, the event, titled “Celebrating The Evolution of Pan,” featured a stellar line-up of performers, including reigning National Panorama champions Petrotrin Phase 11 Pan Groove and 2012 winners Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars.

Churning out spirited performances, which featured a slew of vintage and recent soca and calypso favourites, including the ever-popular Bunji Garlin hit “Differentology,” the bands had patrons on their feet during the latter part of the event. Also impressive was legendary brass outfit Roy Cape All Stars. Frontline singer Blaxx (Dexter Stewart), sticking to Pan Trinbago’s theme, performed a list of current and recent soca hits, including tracks from his repertoire, “Carnival Jumbie,” “Tanty Oie,” “Leh Go.” He also explored his vocal range through a series of well-known R&B and reggae selections, which added to the party vibe.

The show, which enjoyed a fair turnout, got off to an exciting start with the San Fernando-based band “Fusion Steel.”

Under the direction of Darren Sheppard, the band delivered a lively performance, incorporating reggae, pop, soca, calypso and parang soca music. The work of veteran entertainer SuperBlue (Austin Lyons), was featured prominently during their set.

Dressed in red and black outfits, NGC Steel Xplosion, of Carnbee, Tobago, kept the pace with Toto’s “Africa,” the ballad “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” and other tunes. Also providing entertainment were veteran calypsonian Dr Leroy Caliste (Stalin), Free Lancers and DJ KC Klass Is Class. The show, which started 20 minutes late, was not without its dull spots. Some pan lovers complained that the event was poorly advertised while others lamented the shortage of chairs and seating accommodation for patrons, particularly senior citizens who may not have wanted to dance but simply enjoy the show.

One woman, visiting Trinidad from the United Kingdom, said she was forced to sit on a table to witness the event.

Concerns also were raised about the poor quality of lighting in the area where the stage was set up and the fact that patrons had to shift location to view the performances of some of the artistes. The majority of patrons, though, appeared to enjoy the event. Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas made a brief appearance. Pan Trinbago vice-president, Byron Serrette, who addressed the gathering, urged performing bands to walk with their banners during future Panorama launches.

He said Pan Trinbago intends to take the steel pan to another level.

“Brand your bands to ensure that your merchandise can be shown,” he urged band leaders.

Serrette also assured that all Pan Trinbago’s shows would start on time.

The prizes for the winners and participants in this year’s Panorama competitions are expected to remain unchanged. However, Pan Trinbago and the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism are said to be in talks regarding ways to enhance the artform.

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