For more on Steelpan In TnT click here
sung by Kernal Roberts
composed by Mark Loquan, Seion Gomez & Gregory “GB” Ballantyne
produced by Junior “IBO” Joseph
click here for lead sheetLYRICS
Dey have a
way dey like to boast
‘Bout tenors and all their front line
But leh meh say, put first things first
Respect dem barrels behind
Cause anything yuh trying to build
Foundation must be in place
And in ah steelband, dat is de bass
Whether a 4, or 6 or 9,
Or a 12 spread out like a flower
Tenors and mid go be naked
With no boom, boom, boom Bass Tower
When de Bass
Pan grumble, den de crowd does
If your Bass Pan stifle, you can’t move de people
Bass-Man…..send dem crazy on yuh Bass-Pan
Chord and solo like a Champion
Spin yuh stick and show yuh motion
Is only since Scrunter’s “Woman on de bass”
Dem woman get fresh and want to take we place
Ah come back to spread de word in Port of Spain
To tell dem de Bass Pan is a man’s domain
Panorama, ah telling yuh
It go be amazing
Bassman have dey drums blazing
indeed, tenors lively
A spider-web full of small notes
And dey lead de melody
And look nice in Powder-coat
But at de end of any day
To tune Bass Pan is an art
Dey doh need no chrome to look de part
We have a lot of tuners who
Specialise in front and middle
But some of dem doh understand
Dey just guessing like a riddle
dey drums blazing
Bassman have dem grumbling
Bassman have de ground shaking
Bassman have dey drums blazing
Ah want to
play a “Harrigin”
A “Coker” or “Bertram Kelman”
A “Lloyd Gay”, “Wallace Austin”
Or a “Zuzie” bass pan
If “Guppy Brown” or “Lincoln Noel”
Or “Emily Lemmerman”
“Billy Sheeder”, “Glenn Rowsey” blend yuh pan
And “Gunga Din” from Despers jam
Or Harmonites 12-Bass “Dennis”
Ask “Merlin Gill”, yuh blood go chill
To hear all dem Bass Specialists
Bass On Fire is the second collaboration between Mark Loquan and Seion Gomez as composers, and Gregory “GB” Ballantyne as lyricist, after their popular piece in 2015, Outta De Box, which was performed in the National and International Panorama in Trinidad, and other pan events in Toronto and New York. For 2016, the vocals have been performed by the son of the late Lord Kitchener, and soca producer, singer and songwriter in his own right, Kernal Roberts.
It was while Harmonites was performing “Outta De Box” in preparation for the National Panorama semifinals in 2015 when Mark observed 12-bass player, Dennis, whose fluid motion inspired the genesis of the song. Seion worked out interesting bass lines for the song, giving the song a whole new vibes.
“The melodic structure of the song was therefore made deliberately simple with the bass lines featuring infectiously between the chord patterns” says Mark.
The wonderful lyrics, written by Gregory “GB” Ballantyne expanded further to pay tribute to not only the bass players but the bass tuners, including masters Bertram “Birch” Kelman, Lloyd Gay and several others who are sometimes not mentioned.
The song has taken several months to complete, but it is rewarding to hear the final product from knowing when the idea behind the song was born. Another exciting collaboration which continues to go
‘outside the box,’ but this time to set the bass on fire. To all bass tuners and players, this one is for you.
2016 represents the 17th year, Mark Loquan is composing for Panorama. Mark is also the Musical Director of the first steelband in Western Australia, Perth Pandemix which started in early 2013, and placed 3rd in the 2nd Australian Steelpan Festival held in Brisbane (Sep 2015). He has produced/co-produced works such as Passion for Pan album (2000), and the pioneering products of Pan In Education (2004), and Pan in Education 2 (2011).
Mark has produced several popular songs for Panorama, which have been performed in Trinidad, and across the globe in main pan events as well as in schools and universities. Starting with songs like Glory, Passion for Pan, Fire and Steel, Identity, Frenzy, Colours Again, he has also collaborated musically with Amrit Samaroo, Edwin Pouchet, Ken “Professor” Philmore, Andy Shaefe and Seion Gomez, to produce songs like Outta De Box, Celebration Time, Hooked, Dangerous, Surrender, Calling Meh, and Vibes. At the first International Panorama held in Trinidad in August 2015, Supernovas placed 2nd with his composition, Dr. Samaroo. He has also worked with a multitude of singers, writers, and performers and has enjoyed long term collaborations with Denyse Plummer and Destra Garcia over his musical journey.
Mark took a break for 2014 after 15 consecutive years of producing music for Pan, but returned for the 2015 Panorama season, and is right in place for that of 2016, already putting out Soca Have Dem So, along with Bass On Fire, featured here.
Seion Gomez was born in the beautiful twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He started playing the steel pan at age nine and continued through the ranks.
While at secondary school, he participated successfully at the junior steel pan competitions and by age eighteen he was arranging for steel bands throughout Trinidad.
After leaving secondary school, Seion attended The University of the West Indies and Northern Illinois University where he achieved his Master’s degree. Seion is a Music Literacy Trust scholar, and has travelled to many countries as a performer, teacher and lecturer. He has also judged numerous steel pan competitions both here in Trinidad and Tobago and abroad.
works with the NLCB
Tobago and Solo
Trinidad. He is
dedicated to helping
raise the level of
the steel band
Trinidad and Tobago
and promote the
steel pan as an
Gregory “GB” allantyne began composing professionally in 1986, when he collaborated with Len “Boogsie” Sharpe to pen Pan Rising and Dis Feeling Nice sung by Denise Plummer. In the ensuing years he would co-write winning Panorama selections for Desperadoes, and again for Phase II.
In Trinidad, GB’s compositions have won the National Calypso Monarch (Senior and Junior) Young King, International Humour, National Queen, Unattached Monarch, South Calypso King and East Zone Monarch. His works have placed artistes like Rikki Jai, Devon Seale, The Mystic Prowler, Aaron Duncan, to name a few, into winner’s row.
GB’s credits also include National and Regional Calypso Monarch titles in Antigua and Anguilla, as well as Chutney hits such as ‘Tassa-Man’ sung by Rooplal Gidharie and the perennial favourite ‘Ribbons’ sung by Marilyn Williams.
Leave a comment in the WST Forum