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Junia Regrello of Skiffle Bunch
Speaks on
 Trinidad & Tobago Steelband Panorama 2007

 

Junia Regrello, leader of Skiffle Bunch

Trinidad - This year is perhaps the one where the captain of Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra, Junia Regrello, will be his busiest.  In addition to his regular commitment to and panorama preparation with Skiffle Bunch, Regrello is one of the people playing a major and pivotal role on the national panorama scene in 2007.  The panorama finals for the medium and large conventional steel orchestras will be held at Skinner Park, San Fernando in south Trinidad, for the first time in the competition's history, due to the demolition of the Grand Stand in the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, in north Trinidad.  Historically only the small conventional orchestra and the single pan band finals have graced the southern stage.  And as San Fernando City Corporation Alderman, Junia Regrello is one of the key people involved in ensuring the success of this historical first.

When Steel Talks chatted with Regrello first about Skiffle Bunch and their preparations for panorama 2007.  Of key interest was the change in arranger for this panorama season.  The band captain explained that their actions merely reflected their usual pattern of operation.  "It has nothing to do with success or failure; it allows the orchestra the opportunity to experience other types of music, and other styles of other arrangers, which are part of Skiffle’s growth and development... to avoid being a 'clone' of a particular arranger,"  explained Regrello.  He emphasized further that Liam Teague (2004 - 2006) had done a "tremendous job [as arranger for the band], and was an astute musician."  Skiffle Bunch reached the national panorama finals for the past three years. 

The band usually works with an arranger for two years, but as Regrello pointed out, Liam Teague was actually with the band for three.  Popular arranger Ken 'Professor' Philmore returns to the Skiffle Bunch enclave for 2007, and is set to weave his particular brand of musical dexterity with Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe's Sharin' Licks for the competition.  They have worked with him before in 1995 and 1996.  Speaking earlier with When Steel Talks, Regrello described the band's selection as "a tribute to a great composer [Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe], and a beautiful piece of music," noting that he and his orchestra had a very special relationship with the pan maestro, and that he had learnt a lot from him over the years.  Boogsie, whose own steel orchestra Phase II Pan Groove won the title in both 2005 and 2006, is going for the hat trick this time around.  Regrello views Boogsie's own arrangement and presentation of Sharin' Licks with Phase II as 'the benchmark.'  "There isn't anybody who is going to beat Boogsie with his own tune" he said.

 

Live Exclusive Interview with
the leader of Skiffle Bunch

“We [Skiffle Bunch] are yet to find the ‘chemistry’ for panorama. But we are very, very good concert band – one the best concert bands in the country [Trinidad & Tobago], and there are not many bands that can say that, and I take pride in saying that…”  Operating outside their comfort [concert] zone, makes Skiffle’s job harder than other bands at panorama; “it’s like going against the turbulence” as Regrello humorously it, but realistically adding that he "knew of six bands who have already made ‘reservations’" (arrangements for players) -  meaning that their performances and reputation practically guaranteed they would make the final cut, and would be journeying south for the February 17, 2007 championship rounds.

For the semi-finals, fourteen large orchestras usually advance from the preliminaries, but because there are sixteen in total, the decision was taken this year to automatically advance all sixteen bands through to the semis.  Asked about his thoughts on that issue, Regrello noted both advantages and disadvantages.  One positive factor in his view was that "all the bands will have a level playing field," in that bands would normally be judged via a particular acoustical perception during preliminaries in their panyards.  He was of the opinion that there are sometimes negative effects on results, because of the overall panyard acoustical and physical environment not being truly reflective of some orchestras' performances and arrangements.  On the other hand, there was the disadvantage of bands not having the opportunity to know where they were “from a musical standpoint,” without the benefit of the preliminary adjudication marks and comments, creating a “sudden death” situation going into the semis of this major competition.  Skiffle Bunch, like many other orchestras around the country, is comfortably into their eight-minute panorama arrangement.

On the other hand, in his official capacity as city alderman, Junia Regrello remains very excited about being one of the people responsible for bringing the Panorama finals to San Fernando. “It’s groundbreaking, it’s the first time in the history of pan that the panorama finals [medium and large conventional orchestras] are being held elsewhere, and I am happy that it’s San Fernando. It’s a dream for panmen in San Fernando.”

Contact Junia Regrello at skifflebunch@tstt.net.tt or 1 (868) 689-4990

 

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