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- the Parting Gifts - Moods of Pan 2006

for Moods of Pan 2006

The Parting Gifts... and more - in Pictures


Gemonites on the final night at Moods of Pan 2006

St. John's, Antigua - For another year, the curtains came down on the annual Moods of Pan festival with fanfare performances.  Following on the heels of the two previous festival nights - Gospel Pan and the Junior pan soloists/Five Alive - the other sides / genres of pan were presented to the audience on the final night from the likes of the Happy Lewis Quintet with Victor 'Babu' Samuel on steelpan, Pan Fantasy, Gemonites, Lord Relator and Trinidad All Stars. 

Because of rains during the day that left the Deanery Grounds venue water-logged, organizers put down crates along paths to assist attendees to their seats and nearby areas.  They also decided to delay the scheduled start to enable more pan lovers to make their way to the festival also because of the inclement weather.

Gemonites Steel Orchestra opened up the event, performing first for the benefit of patrons who nonetheless made it to the event on time (despite the conditions), then launching directly into their selections intended for the event.  It could be noted here that even with amplification through the sound system, the orchestra sounded the best acoustically for the night, with minimal distortion.  Whether by chance or design, the sound reaching the ears of the audience was easy, pleasing, and listenable, and included timeless tunes like George Benson's Breezin', Tom Jones It's Not Unusual, No Woman No Cry, and Merchant's Better Be Careful.

To give the crowd a great MOP-style send-off, in addition to hosts Gemonites, also on the bill was Pan Fantasy from Trinidad & Tobago led by Duvone Stewart, who took the stage next, with Earth, Wind and Fire's Fantasy as their opener.  While Pan Fantasy was in the spotlight, the level of sound was discernibly louder, with evident distortion.  Nevertheless, the group was well received by the crowd upon delivery of several 'can't miss' tunes such as Shurwayne Winchester's Don't Stop, Bob Marley's I Shot the Sheriff and Third World's Now That We Found Love.  Part of Pan Fantasy's line-up for this gig was percussionist Gregory Pegus, well known as the resident drummer for dancehall soca star Bunji Garlin.  

November 26, the date of Moods of Pan's final night, marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of the late master musician, arranger and composer Clive Bradley, who Pegus regards as his mentor.  He most closely related to Bradley when in the mode of Panorama drummer for New York powerhouse Pantonic, Bradley's flagship steel orchestra.  To the strains of the Eagles' classic Hotel California, Pegus reminded the audience of the significance of the date and asked the crowd to join him in the memory of the late master.  As they clapped and cheered, to the surprise of many, Pegus, still seated behind the drums - launched into the vocals of Hotel California.  He stole the limelight for the next few minutes, the final few notes culminating with him not on drums, but with sticks in hand - at the front of the stage.

It was the turn of Willard Harris, better known and loved as the immortal Lord Relator, also from Trinidad, after Pan Fantasy.  With his witty anecdotes in song tailored to his local audience and accompanied by his signature guitar, Relator also availed himself of the services of Pan Fantasy's borrowed percussionist.  Son of the Antiguan soil Herbert 'Happy' Lewis and his Quintet followed next, with the audience lustily welcoming him back home, in the company of his group.  Lewis has called Guadeloupe home since 1974.  With Raymond Grégo (drums), Max Fontes (bass), Luther François (saxophone), Dominique Bérose (piano) and Lewis on trumpet, the Happy Lewis Quintet laid down several original selections penned by Lewis.  On their musical menu were The Olden Days, Birth of a New Day, Guazouka, The Source, and Catching the Train. For their finale, popular pannist Victor 'Babu' Samuel (one-time Moods Pan Groove musician out of New York) joined the quintet to end the set on a 'pantastic' note.

Trinidad All Stars had the honor of closing the show, and took the stage with all the flair of an ultra-confident group, accustomed, such as they are, to performing around the world.  With their Trini 'posse' in tow and comfortably settled at the side of the stage - the stageside orchestra took the audience on a star-studded musical journey showcasing such 'gems' as a hot delivery of the Mighty Sparrow's Doh Back Back -then mellowing out with R. Kelly's I Believe I Could Fly; a mid-tempo How Great Thou Art / Amen was next.  All Stars' musical standard for 2006, Soca Warrior - which earned them second place in the 2006 Trinidad and Tobago national panorama championship - followed, at a noticeably slower pace than Panorama.  Memories, from the musical CATS and Help Me Make It Through The Night merged seamlessly into Dancing Queen.  Rihanna's re-current hit Unfaithful received the loudest cheers and applause in the All Stars repertoire to that point.  War by Bob Marley and Tequila were followed by a medley of Sparrow's classics (Drunk and Disorderly; Imelda; Jean and Dinah; Miss Mary), with the orchestra's set capped off by the late Anita Bostik's All is Yours.  Despite the extreme electronic over-amplification of All Stars when they played, stressful on the ears especially during their more energetic numbers, the audience was pleased, because the musicality and skills of All Stars were never in question, notwithstanding that they were at the mercy of the sound system during their performance.  For those who were present from the beginning when Gemonites performed, to the time when Trinidad All Stars was in the spotlight, the comparable difference in audio sensitivity to deafening sound reproduction, was obvious. 

In a way, the group from Trinidad and Tobago ended a weekend of fabulous steelpan performances that Sunday evening, in much the same way they could be said to have kicked it off.  Nightly entertainment is part of the all-inclusive package afforded those staying at the Jolly Beach Resort, one of the main sponsors of the 2006 Moods of Pan festival, and on Friday, the first evening of the festival which featured Gospel on Pan, All Stars had already been in full swing at the resort, delivering on site to guests, a taste of what was in store later on that evening at Deanery Grounds, and for the rest of the festival.  With the pan music experience available at the resort for those guests who may not have been aware of the happenings at Deanery Grounds, it would be no surprise that some would mark their calendars to return specifically for the full festival in 2007.  Pan music connoisseurs who were not even on the island, are advised to quickly follow suit. 

©2006 When Steel Talks - All Rights Reserved

'The Parting Gifts... and more - in Pictures

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Gemonites Steel Orchestra| |
Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra| |
Patrick 'Stone' Johnson | email:   | 1-268-727-6633 (cell)
Robin Margetson | email: |1-268-773-3748 (cell)

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