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Pelham Talks – 2004 Part I


New York - May 2004

When steel talks had the pleasure of speaking with this year’s Panorama winning arranger – Pelham Goddard.  Having readily admitted to having only ever had music as a profession, Pelham went on to speak about the changes in the music we play in the Caribbean.  The rhythmic nature of the music, as opposed to the more melodic material of days past has led to a change in the arrangement, not necessarily for the benefit of the listening public. 


As in the combined 2001 interview with Clive Bradley, Pelham reminisces about the music that influenced him, as well as the Caribbean music of the era.  It is unfortunate that there is not a great archive for the music; the loss is notable.  One also gets the sense that a great deal of collaboration used to take place between the greats.  Pelham worked on music with Kitchener, Bradley and Sparrow, just to name a few.


In speaking of Exodus, Pelham speaks with pride of the band members who take enough of an interest in music and music theory to study at UWI.  Noting that different approaches to arranging a panorama tune Pelham structures his analysis of music and the Panorama competition so that even those with different opinions must take pause to think about, if not agree with him. 


When speaking of the instrument itself Goddard remarks that “pan” is the only instrument which has an association built around it.  This seems to limit the growth of pan to the vision of the governing body of the instrument.  What he would like to see is “pan” music in Tower Records, as an example.  While the blatant commercialization of the instrument is clearly not his goal, he strives to see there be a bigger role in the marketplace for “pan” and “pan” music. 


The rivalry may exist between the different bands, but it is obvious that the arrangers do not perpetuate it.  While many give more credit to the Exodus organization than to the arranger for their Panorama wins, Pelham gives credit to Clive Bradley for giving him a music theory book.   He doesn’t aspire to a specific style of arranging, almost dismissing some of the trends as faddish.  All of this may come and go, but Pelham is a force to be reckoned with for years to come.  


Stay tuned for Pelham’s discussion of the standardization of the instrument…



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©2004 Basement Recordings, Inc. All rights reserved.


Date: 05.19.04


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