Tobago, W.I. - For those
steelband music lovers who could not
make it to the beautiful island of
Tobago in the Caribbean, a special musical experience was
provided to the global steelpan
community as they were treated to a live
broadcast of the Tobago Panorama last
Radio Tambrin over the internet.
Five Single-pan bands and ten
conventional steel orchestras battled
for steelband music supremacy at
the annual Tobago panorama - the
pinnacle of Pan performances for many in
Tobago’s steelband music community.
Each of the island’s conventional
steel orchestras were determined to take home the
first prize of TT $100,000 (just over
USD $16,000). And at the end,
there could be only one: Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra won the prize purse in the conventional
category, and Hope Pan Groovers triumphed over
their fellow Single-pan bands.
Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra in 2008
The latter were first up in the THA (Tobago House
of Assembly) Panorama and took the stage
in the following order: Pan
Fanatics, Hope Pan Groovers, Metro Stars
Steel Orchestra, Dem Boys Steel
Orchestra and Get Down On It (yes,
that’s the name of the band). By
9:45 p.m. the Single-pan competitors concluded their
performances before a panel of judges
which included among others, Joanna Ragbir and Canada-based Trinidad
& Tobago nationals Martin Albino and
Tommy Crichlow. The two
Canada-based nationals also joined three
fellow adjudicators who included Damien
Phillip and Lambert Phillip in the next
category for the conventional steel
It would be about forty-five
minutes before the conventional steel
orchestras delivered their musical
salvos. After overcoming a
few challenges in their set-up, Buccooneers Steel Orchestra out of Buccoo
kicked off the first of ten performances
at 10:30 p.m. with Seion Gomez’s
arrangement of Calling Meh.
The band is also one of three
representing Tobago in the medium
category in this weekend’s upcoming
national Panorama finals in Trinidad.
Buccooneers Steel Orchestra in 2008
Up next was Patience
Hill-based West Side Symphony
playing Pantrix arranged by
Kareem Browne. The orchestra tied
for eighth position in the 2010 National
Panorama finals in the medium band
category, but did not make it out of the
preliminary round for 2011.
By 11:15 p.m. the only
Tobago steel orchestra to make it to the
finals in the large band category - Redemption Sound Setters - struck the
first notes of their 2011 panorama
contender It’s Showtime.
Long-time resident arranger Winston
Gordon was once again at the helm.
The band gave the crowd a foretaste of
just how much of a show they intend to
put on as they represent Tobago on “the
Big Stage” this Saturday at the
country’s National Panorama.
Redemption Sound Setters Steel Orchestra in 2008
What was probably the
smallest steel orchestra for the evening
in the conventional category was up
next. It was also the first time
in competition for Crown Cordians
hailing from Bon Accord. Like
Redemption Sound Setters before them,
they too chose It’s Showtime as
arranged by Harrison McMillan.
Scarborough’s Our Boys Steel Orchestra
appeared in fifth position performing
TKO written by their arranger, Amrit
Samaroo. Samaroo has spent the Panorama season
with his foot in a cast, but that factor
has not stopped him
from arranging for the Panorama 2011 season.
Our Boys finished their performance just
after the midnight hour at the event’s
Garden Side Street Car Park venue.
Now at the half-way point in the
conventional steel orchestra
competition, it was the turn of Central
Symphony - also from Scarborough
- with Scratch Attack (written as
well by the talented Amrit Samaroo, for
the 2010 panorama season)
as their tune of choice.
Arrangement was handled by the duo of
Horace Harold & Walter Thomas.
Steel Xplosion Steel Orchestra in 2008
New East Side Dimension out of Belle Garden
took the stage as the seventh out of the
bands in the Tobago Panorama.
Alexis ‘Lecky’ Hope was responsible for
the arrangement of their selection
How We Coming.
Continuing the night of steelband music,
to the delight of envious steelpan
lovers relegated to listening online,
and naturally those fortunate enough to
be physically present at the actual
Panorama - were Katzenjammers, Dixieland
and Steel Xplosion.
Dixieland Steel Orchestra in 2008
topped the Medium band category in the
Panorama semi-finals almost two weeks
ago, call Black Rock home and have as
their band captain Gemma Duke.
They opted for Wake
Up – written by their arranger, Edwin
This was the second band for the evening in
the Tobago Panorama’s conventional steel orchestra category,
to play a song
penned by their own arranger. In Katzenjammers’
case, Wake Up was an Edwin Pouchet
composition. Earlier on, Our Boys
had taken the stage with the aim of
delivering a musical “knockout” when playing TKO, written
by their arranger, Amrit Samaroo.
Katzenjammers and Our
Boys also shared another similarity,
albeit one that both would have
preferred not to have occurred at
all. Both their arrangers have
been medically challenged for the
Panorama season; Samaroo suffered a
broken leg, while Edwin Pouchet is
reportedly dealing with more
In the penultimate position came Mt.
Pleasant’s Dixieland - and their
interpretation of It’s Showtime
arranged by Len “Boogsie” Sharpe.
By about 1:42 a.m. the final notes of
the tune Wake Up as arranged by
Carlton “Zanda” Alexander for Steel Xplosion
sounded on the forecourt, bringing the
curtains down in the conventional steel
orchestra category in the Tobago 2011
Our Boys Steel Orchestra in 2008
For Buccooneers, Katzenjammers, Steel
Xplosion and Redemption Sound Setters -
last night’s Tobago Panorama was a great
opportunity to run what is probably the
almost-finalized versions of their tunes in a
full competition format, before they go up
against their Trinidad counterpart
orchestras in the National Panorama
finals on Saturday evening at the
Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain.
March is Women’s Month,
and their capability and prowess were on
display as at least three of the Tobago
steel orchestras were captained by
ladies: Marie Toby for Redemption
Sound Setters; Amelia Guillaume for Our Boys, and
Gemma Duke for Katzenjammers.
The top three positions
in the conventional steel orchestra 2011
Tobago Panorama belonged to
Katzenjammers (281), Buccooneers (273)
and Redemptions Sound Setters (269).
Hope Pan Groovers (264), Pan Fanatics
(263) and Metro Stars (261) claimed the
first three slots of the Single-pan band
Click for full 2011
Tobago Panorama results:
Conventional Steel Orchestras