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  July 24, 2005  

Countdown to New York Panorama 2005

Despers USA Steelband Launch
(CASYM, Pantonic, Marsicans, Despers USA)

The Big Dogs Are Out
and They're "Barking"

"Ruff Ruff"




New York - Despers USA's pan launch is always one of the most anticipated and serious steelpan music events in the city.  It is, as the other launches, by invitation only.  However, there is a significant difference at this launch compared to the others.  That difference is the audience.  When you play in front of Despers audience, you are playing in front of people with the highest steelpan music IQ in the business.  Their knowledge of the finer points of steelband music is unquestioned.  This audience is the most reserved, critical, uncompromising and discerning you will ever come across...  If you're going to play in front of them you better come well prepared or you could get you feelings hurt - twice. This is not a 'wine, dance and jump' crowd; they come to a Despers USA launch to listen.  They are all ears.  If your band is 'sneezing' or has 'skaters' they will know.  And they will 'rightfully so' talk about you like a dog.  If you are a real steelband any where in the world, you need this invitation.  If you are a steelband fan, this is where you want to be.

While being the best band, or having the best stage side during the pre-panorama season guarantees you nothing at the panorama competition, it does set the stage for the attitudes of those bands, that do carry over to the respective larger panorama contingents. Things like cohesiveness, discipline and execution are contagious. The pre-season band launches have become serious business and the number of bands and players involved have increased significantly.


And so on Friday, July 22, Despers USA Steel Orchestra located in central Brooklyn were hosts to the fourth, and so far arguably the best, pre-New York panorama launch to date.  What made this launch particularly interesting was the presence of four of New York's heavyweight contenders for pan supremacy for the year 2005. CASYM, Marsicans, Pantonic and Despers USA. Missing only were the 2005 panorama champions, Sonatas, to make it a Pan-perfect launch. There was indeed a heightened sense of anticipation rippling through the crowd. Despers USA's Pan Loft is a special place, where an invitation to perform is a premium opportunity. One could see many of the fans closing their eyes as they took in the music, or just appearing to stare blankly at their own space, as they zoned out to their surroundings, but tuned in to ascertain ONLY the quality of the musical performances set out for their inspection.

CASYM started off the launch with an energetic set, including a couple of pieces that really captured the audience.  One was their performance of ''Pan In 'A' Minor' which give the audience an idea of what they missed if they did not catch the band's original delivery at the World Steelband Music Festival at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Pantonic gave a very good account of themselves as their captain and full-time arranger, Keith Roberts, them with a set that highlighted their musical versatility and skills.  They were very well received by the audience.  Any doubt in terms of the group's resiliency due to last year's disappointing and puzzling placement in the 2005 panorama competition were once again laid to rest.  Pantonic will clearly be one of the "big dogs" in the house.


Marsicans were also quite enthusiastic, with a very strong musical set. What onlookers and pan lovers saw and heard from the Marsicans' presence and delivery was that they too, are ready for panorama.  They definitely pleased the pan critics in their time in the spotlight at the launch.

Despers USA as always displayed their musicianship and command of the pan instruments, which always places them in a special signature category when it comes to the feel and touch of the steelpan. Their seasoned repertoire was appreciated by all present.

Despers USA Pan Loft was clearly the place to be this Friday evening.

Those bands who believe they have what it takes to be considered for an appearance at the exclusive, invitation-only, Despers USA pan launch next year, should contact Despers at 621 Classon Ave. (between Atlantic Ave. & Pacific St.), Brooklyn, New York, USA.


Basement Press Corp.
2005 When Steel Talks - All Rights Reserved

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