“Visa is proud to support Republic Bank Exodus Pan Ramajay and bring experiences as unique as the Trinidad and Tobago DNA.” – said Waldemar Cordero, Head of Marketing for Central America and Caribbean, as he announced Visa’s support for Pan Ramajay 2020 – The Virtual Edition.
Pan Ramajay was started in 1989 in the Exodus pan yard in Tunapuna with Samaroo Jets and Fonclaire sharing the top honors, in the then-10-player band competition. Fast forward to 2020, and it is now the weekend of the Grand Finals of this year’s competition, which started with over 200 entries in three categories: soloists, duos, and quartets.
A unique feature of Pan Ramajay is that while players know that there are ten songs to choose from in the competition, they only select the song that they will play for the adjudicators, just before they start to play. “This makes it more challenging for the players,” intimated Ainsworth Mohammed whose band Exodus established Pan Ramajay, as an event aimed at providing more opportunities for panists outside of Carnival. Mohammed said Pan Ramajay was also part of his steel orchestra’s own fundraising efforts and “While there was no revenue from gates, the band saw this year’s virtual event as an investment in the Pan Ramajay brand.”
The name Ramajay was inspired by the birds we hear across the Caribbean, chirping as if to outdo each other, sometimes with a call and response. The players in Pan Ramajay being judged mainly on their creativity and improvisation by four judges with impeccable credentials of their own: Adjunct Professor Victor Provost, Dr Eugene Novotney, Professor Liam Teague and Professor Ron Reid.
Judging Criteria - Points:
Verse, Chorus - 20
Melodic/Motivic Development - 25
Harmonic/Rhythmic Embellishment - 20
Dynamics - 10
Technicality - 10
Tonal Quality - 5
Nuances - 10
Introduction, Verse, Chorus - The musician’s ability to play the melody with appropriate rhythmic interpretation and articulation, using rolls and strikes when suitable, and demonstrating a clear knowledge of the form.
The musician's ability to manipulate the melody and harmony of the original piece and the ability to improvise through:
Melodic Development – Creating melodic lines based on fragments of the melody and chord progressions.
Motivic Development – Creating and developing musical ideas based on the motifs.
Harmonic Embellishment - Use of musical lines which go beyond the original harmony of the given piece: i.e. chord substitutions, alterations.
Rhythmic Embellishment - Creating musical phrases which have rhythmic interests.
Dynamics – Creating variations in softness and loudness in the music.
Technicality - The musician’s ability to execute and showcase virtuosity in the music.
Soloists: Kareem Thompson, Maico Miyamoto, Domenic Lewis, André White, Kobie Alleyne, Mikhail Salcedo, Eljhaie (LJ) Brathwaite, Khan Cordice, Keisha Codrington, Khuent Rose
Duos: André White and Tristan Japsi | Dejean Cain and Deja Cain | Khuent Rose and Jahlani Roberts | Cary Codrington and Keisha Codrington | Kareem Thompson and DoMoJOAT
Quartets: Dejean Cain, Deja Cain, Martin Cain and Shovon Brown | Tristan Japsi, Kendall Williams, Marc Brooks and Edward Clarke | Sheldon Peters, Terrance “BJ” Marcelle, Marlon White and Shivon Bourne | Cary Codrington, Keisha Codrington, Khari Codrington and Kaijah Codrington | André White, Kareem Thompson, Khuent Rose and Iman Pascall.
The finals can be viewed by logging in to Exodus Steelband’s page on Facebook and YouTube. The Exodus Pan Ramajay Finals will also be broadcasted on TV6 from 8:00 p.m.
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