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 Politics through Pan a mistake
Tom Petersen

 

In response to a recent article you ran entitled "Panorama 2005 - Behind Enemy Lines" by Augustin Hinkson,  I was deeply troubled to see that "When Steel Talks" would even run such an article. Mr. Hinkson has some personal problems that he feels should be aired on the "stage" of Pan.  It should be noted that the Pan movement is not a New York thing.  Thanks to the help of "When Steel Talks", Pan is spreading throughout the world like wildfire.  I am amazed to see news relating to pan groups from all over the world and the number of people that are getting involved in pan.  Pan is even taking a prominent place in the churches across the world. Mr. Hinkson seems to think first of all that Pan is strictly an "African" movement.   I have never considered Pan as an African art form, but an art form of Trinidad.  There is a difference.

 

Mr. Hinkson really has problems concerning the politics of New York City (i.e. the lack of space for panyards, etc.).  Has he priced real estate in NY lately?  I have often been amazed that NY is a location where Pan could exist at all. There is no doubt that there are several good groups in NY. However, there is much more going on in the pan community outside of NY City.  Look at the institutions across the country and the world that have developed pan programs. It is truly amazing the number of public schools and universities across the United States that have outstanding ensembles that are exploring all areas of music.  NY City is but a small sample of the pan movement.  My recommendation is that if there are so many problems with New York City, then get out of town.  There are hundreds of other places across the country that would love to have the groups call home.  There is plenty of real estate available in North Carolina for example for groups to have all the room they need. The self centered attitude that Pan is a New York thing is troubling.  The future of Pan is not in New York City. It is through the institutions across the world that are truly advancing the art form.

 

Finally, Pan is an art form.  The world is taking notice of pan everywhere, mostly outside the city limits of NY.  The worse thing that could happen is for idiots such as Augustin Hinkson to be allowed to use Pan as his political stage.  Politics could be the end of Pan as a musical art form. Pan is not an "African" thing.  The exciting thing about Pan is that it is a multi-racial movement.  IT IS A WORLD ART FORM.  If the NY Pan community becomes political, then the rest of the world pan movement will ignore them and leave NY behind.

 
 
Tom Petersen
Music Director
"Steel Praisin' "
Winston-Salem, NC

Tom Petersen - the writer who contributed this opinion piece - is the musical director of  Steel Praisin'Steel Praisin' is a steel drum music ministry consisting of members of Friedberg Moravian Church
2005  Basement Recordings, Inc. All rights reserved

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Panorama 2005 Behind Enemy Lines -
Augustin Hinkson
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