London, U.K. - An event for the people, by the people, and showcasing The People. That about describes the annual UK Panorama which unfolds annually in London. People madly passionate about the Steelpan art form - players, steelband community, supporters, and music lovers in tandem, who are part of the weeks/months of preparation, and the final product - the Panorama. Large and not-so-large groups, the players come out and give it their best shot to the delight of respective fans. Like CSI Steelband Trust, gracing the stage first, the smallest of the eight bands this year, but definitely musical, and festively adorned with green and blue balloons around their pans. They came, were heard, and were definitely enjoyed by the crowd. Great weather (unlike other occasions when rain dampened events) which began with a bright day, and great music, ruled the roost.
Ebony Steelband at the 2016 UK National Panorama
Defending champs Ebony Steelband put on a scintillating performance which saw arranger Duvone Stewart himself musically enthralled and transported by his band’s showing (as undoubtedly was the audience) - bowing, then blowing grateful but confident kisses to the crowd toward the end of the piece. ‘Pastor’ Stewart himself could be seen giving praise to ‘The Most High’ during the showcase. It was a smooth and measured arrangement of Cheers To Life that, while a tad bit slow, stepped outside the totally traditional ‘soca’ box, and which dallied with essences such as soul, funk, pop and reggae. Duvone used the varied voicing of instruments in the orchestra to full effect. The combination of properly-tuned instruments (the handiwork of Dudley Dickson) and sound output like that of a ‘well-oiled engine’ led to a musical outcome that resulted in Ebony’s twenty-first UK Panorama championship, and the second for Duvone in the territory. Also pleased to be part of the process, no doubt, was die-hard Ebony supporter and ‘engine-room’ member, internationally famous bard Billy Ocean.
Mangrove Steel Band musicians who last tasted victory in 2011 ranked second this time around with their version of Different Me arranged by André White. The 5Star Akil-track was a favorite on the UK Panorama scene this year, being the tune of choice for four out of the eight competing steel orchestras.
The ‘winningest’ arranger Annise Hadeed could not add a seventeenth, yes - 17th, title to his extant sixteen as champion arranger, but boy, was his pace fiery with Metronomes’ delivery of Different Me. The players pranced joyfully, as they moved through the nuances of Hadeed’s arrangement with aplomb. Definitely one of the most captivating segments of the show, the band was judged the third best.
Playing Nostalgia sung by Anslem Douglas, Real Steel—which maintained a
three-year (2012–2014) hold on the title—came in fourth with their rendition
competently arranged by Leroy Clarke, who is also the band’s drummer.
In the lineup for the Panorama, additional bands London All Stars, Croydon
and Endurance all delighted the faithful music lovers who were in
attendance. As the final band, the latter wrapped up its performance around 10:35 p.m. local time.
And just before 11:00 p.m. when the results were read out, the scene was one
of sheer jubilation with Ebony Steelband players as they jumped and danced around
while hugging each other in joy at triumphing and retaining their
2016 UK National Panorama RESULTS
|Cheers to Life
|Mangrove Steel Band||Different Me
|Metronomes Steel Orchestra||Different Me
Annise “Halfers” Hadeed
|Endurance Steel Orchestra||Different Me
|London All Stars Steelband||Soca Ruption
|Phil ‘DBL’ Rollock|
|Croydon Steel Orchestra||Different Me
|David “Soj” Ijaduola|
|CSI Steelband Trust||Pan By Storm
Video by Steel Pan Trust
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