Canada - Yuh see how ah does get in ting? When Steel Talks come an akse me to
write meh Pan review. I here quiet, reading psalms an knittin an WST
look to come straight so to chook Jack Spaniar nes. All yuh like de
ro-ro eh? Gorme!
Dis year 2008, ah say ah was going to behave an hush meh mout. Ah
wasn going to say ah word. Ah sprinkle Holy Water on meh head an put
two nutmeg in meh shoe an went to Pan Alive in Toronto. Ah smile wid
everybody, ah say ‘evenin. Ah say ah go listen to two steelbands,
take a snap an go home an watch SpongeBob Khakipants or whoever he
But ah fugget Pan Jumbie own me. Ah fugget meh fadda was a Renegades
man. Ah fugget is since ah small I convert to Pantyism. When ah
reach in Lamport stadium, an de firse ban knock de iron, pan grabble
meh by de back of meh neck an put me under house arres. Mine you, ah
know ah had a job to do eh? Lass year ah put meh mout in it an not
everybody was please. Is a good ting I not in no sou-sou wid dem so
ah could afford to speak meh mine.
As ah walk in de place ah notice dey move dat chupid white tent over
so. Ah say NICE. Now de payin spectator could see de bands. Ah
notice dey rail rong each ban who playin. Ah say NICE. Now de payin
spectator could hear de ban widdout a setta people mufflin de sound.
Dey had de time clock in plain view so nobody could say dey en see
de time an overplay de chune. NICE. In fack, a man run over to me an
akse meh nice to move because he cah see it, he was de time keeper
fuh de judges. Ah move quick because ah know dat important. Ah fine
de crowd was plenty smaller dan lass year doh.
Pan Fantasy was de firse ban. Dey play “Musical Vengeance” solid,
wid a whole minute leave back widdin time limit. Everybody look good
an was dancing an ting. Jessie Ketchum’s Pan Vibrations play nex. Ah
woon lie. After a big ban, dey song sorfie, ah fine dey should
categorize bands. Yuh cah have a big ban washin awf a small ban so.
Dais jes my opinion eh? I not de gawdmudda. Ban number tree was
Doh laugh eh? After lass year when ah buss two cuss in AfroPan fuh
de bamseeness dey do, ah was like powder on a sailor. Ah paying
close close attention. Ah was so farse dat ah fugget to snap nuff
pittears an ah stan up to listen. Hear nuh man. To me dey play
tight, dey play sweet, arrangement was borse, pans well chune an
blend. Ah hear a wicked counter-riddim in de arrangement. Soprano
pans sing to de heavens, percussion was like a heartbeat. When dey
done ah clap hard. Ah doh usually clap eh? But dey fill meh up
because DAT is de way I know AfroPan should sound. Dey play “Ten
Commandments of Pan” an plannass de place.
After dat ah hear MetroTones, Symphony Steel. De nex ban ah make
sure to hear was New Dimension. Dey sound well, band look nice in de
orange and white. Ah din hear no medley. Dat get meh vex wid dem
lass year. Den Panatics come, den St. Jamestown.
During de intermission ah went an stroll troo de bands. Ah bounce up
Mr. Salah. Ah went an make known to he because lass year we get
away. But since ah doh fraid people, ah use all meh mudda training
an introduce mehself. Meh blood take he right away. Pleasant an sorf
spoken, we chat lil bit. It had a lil fella in he ban ah does always
admire an it turn out was Salah own grandson Rashiyd – sweet lil
panist. Anyway ah wish Mr. Salah all de bes in de competition an
continue meh drevayin.
Silhouettes come troo den Salah's Steelpan Academy den Hamilton
Youth Steelband, den Pan Masters Steel Orchestra.
Salah firse, AfroPan second an Silhouettes tird. Den it was Panatics,
Pan Masters, Pan Fantasy, St. Jamestown, New D, Jessie ketchum,
MetroTones, Symphony Steel an Hamilton Youth.
Ah wasn dere fuh de results but ah hear people bawl fuh murderation.
To me, de judging was awf again dis year. To me, AfroPan win. To me,
Pan Masters gettin better an better every year. To me, Panatics did
not play better dan Pan Fantasy.
To me, Pan is Alive but de Judging on Life Support.
Doh akse meh nuttin. Ah done talk.
Copyright August 2008
Responses to Queen Macoomeh
Hello my Sister
I must say I agree
with your results
Now I understand that de bands to start were in place
but again de show could not start on time! I also don't
think yuh wrong!!! I like de way yuh thus have to put
some people in de place especially ones who really are
johnny come lately to Toronto pan scene. Come out and
tell them yuh really was a judge in yuh former life nah!
To me it says when will we get it right ! At least they
move de tent! BUT look ting de have to cover de whole
floor how much money de spend on dat! We could buy we
own building. Anyway I have to also say hats off to all
de bands who played alot of time and no sleep goes into
their competion piece. But I agree the results are
totally wrong. The show was very top heavy who can't see
why yuh have a draw and put all de small bands to play
with larger bands? and why yuh have them little children
playing last when nobody really paying attention to them
let them play in de first half of the thing nah. Pan
Fantasy, Afropan and a few others should have played in
de second half of the show man of course the crowd was
smaller de people was outside after de first 5 bands!
It is high time they separate de bands now. Give them
smaller bands a chance now to do a first second and
third to nah. I hear they get one new judge. It seem
like they was missing a judge and someone say I have a
partner who could judge! get a new judge I wondering who
he good partner is on OSA, and let it out who is Salah
good partner in OSA too! speak up people... Ah done talk
cause my holy water is for all year..
Yuh have meh business in de road now...dey doh want me
come back to judge. Ah doh have meh degree in musicology
so ah get put out. Maybe nex year ah could judge by
mehself an give prize. What all yuh tink?
But yeah I notice de new floorin in Lamport Stadium when
I reach for de King and Queen show de night before. Ah
say 'Oui papa! Like ScotiaBank pay awf de mortgage an
give we a new floorin!" I doh know who stan de bail to
put all dat linolium down an ah din akse. It give de big
mas costumes tunda to roll de wheels on it. Doh akse me
who idea dat was. Sometime when ah akse question, people
does give meh one long story wid one setta demsay, hesay
an who-say. So now ah does just watch an hush.
But yes, gettin back to Pan Alive. When I watch an see
nearly all de big bands play in de top half I was
surprise. Dem poor chirren in de school bands was dey
whole night. Dat din seem fair to me.
De ting is, on de one han we want to play we havin a
Panorama style competition up here in IceBox Land. Dat
nice but we cah do ting like we does do back home. Here
different. We beggin lodgin up here. Rules diff'rent up
here. Home we know dat from granny to newborn, Panorama
night nobody en sleepin. We have de chile on we lap in
Nort Stands whole night, he sleep an wake up in de
savannah an is fo-day mornin we goin home wid de chile
in de pram or put dem to sleep in a bass drum while we
wheelin it back up John John. Here it have law comin out
yuh pweffen. Noise pollution law say to hush de noise by
midnight. Streetcar an subway stop runnin, yuh cah say
you walkin home because it en have no place up here dat
close to home. Ah lie? An you have to go to work nex
mornin. De borse doh care, he payin you to arrive 8am.
Dais a whole nex ro-ro.
I say separate de bands oui. Small, medium and large
category. You cah tell me I come wid meh bottle an spoon
an vie to beat you wid yuh multi-octave, umpteen
section, bowcoo pans - irregardless of how sweet meh
bottle an spoon was, unless you come outta chune, outta
time an outta yuh mine, we cah vie togedda at all.
Now as for de part yuh say bout Mr. Salah an he compere.
I knows nutting about dat. Ah leavin dat right where yuh
put it. Nex ting yuh know dey cancel meh visay an export
meh back where ah come from.
Walk good eh doux doux!
Hello Queen Macoomeh,
First I would like to say I am a big fan - I discovered
you earlier this year, and have been hooked. I loved
your book, and hope and pray that there is more to come.
I have never read a book that made me laugh so hard.
My Mother is from Canada, and my father is from
Trinidad. I just love the stories you tell - and I love
the style you write it in. The dialect is perfect! LOL
I just wanted to say that I think you were too kind with
your words in regards to Pan Alive - I was waiting for
you to write your column and rip it up. This was the
first year I decided to take my children. We are big Pan
Fantasy fans, and since we spent much of the summer
watching the band practice, I thought it would be a good
experience for them to see the competition - I figured
since they were ages 8 and 13 it was ok to bring them.
What made me mad from the beginning was how long the
show took to start. We arrived early, at 6:30pm so we
could get good seats and get the kids food and drink
Why on Earth did it take so long to start??? Pan Fantasy
was up first, and they were ready to go at 7:00pm, but
the show did not start until nearly 8pm. I stayed until
10:30pm, but it was clear that the show would be another
few hours, and the kids were tired so we left. I don't
understand why the show is not better organized by now -
it should be done by 11:00pm - twelve the latest! This
is one seriously disorganized event.
The parade - again, I decided this would be a great year
to take the kids. We actually had a great time, but man
- what drove me crazy was all the crowd that kept
jumping the fence and joining the parade route.
Especially the crowd of people walking the parade route
in the wrong direction! They were holding up the parade.
When a band or float came down that took up the width of
the street, it made all the people who did NOT belong on
the parade route crowd up around the fence - blocking
the view for the rest of us. This really slowed the
parade by several hours, and ruined the experience for
the kids. There should be people watching the route and
making sure that if people join it, they should at least
be walking in the right direction! The parade was
supposed to end at 5pm - we did not even see Pan Fantasy
until after 7:00pm!
We did have lots of fun though. A good year. Anyway - I
love your writing - hope to hear more from you soon - I
need another book!
QM: Tammy doux doux!!
Girl, tanks fuh de big up and for droppin a line. Ah
love hearin from meh people - an by 'meh people' ah mean
who ever like de bacchanal..lol
The reason why I hole up from a serious tongue lashin is
because I wasn't dere from start to finish. I came late
and lef before judging come troo. Lass year I was dey
from cock crow to twilight and is den ah buss some cuss
in everybody skin. Yuh read lass year own?
But I promise myself and all meh readers NEVER to talk
commess UNLESS I see and hear it but you right. from
what I see, de show was a mess...again...is like we cah
remember what happen lass year so we doin de wrong ting
over and over again.
Timing will be we downfall. From startin a show to
knowing WHEN to organzie weself against big business
buying we culture.
But Tammy dahlin, is not jes in Toronto, even in T&T
where panorama has been going on since Adam was in short
pants, it still doh start on time and doh finish on
time, nuff bobol, nuff demsay and nuff ruction.
To me, it look like we jes doh appreciate de genius we
have so we does disrespeck it and allow uddas to diss
I just read your
response to Mr. Salah on When Steel Talks and I have to
say I agree with you 100%. It is all well and good to
have music degrees, but you and I both know what it is
to hear quality pan and quality arrangements. It is
something that you feel with your heart and makes your
ears perk up, and say THAT IS A SWEET PIECE OF MUSIC! It
has nothing to do with who is who, or what is what, it
has to do with right is right. Continue the good work!
Pan is a tricky ting to explain to people. I know some
musicians wid plenty degree who tink pan is jes noise
and dey would never come near a panside. I know some
people who din finish school who could tell you who make
dat pan, when a pan en chune, or when a section en blen
good. I doh have a music degree nidda but ah respeck
doze who do. Dat have to be mutual.
I understan where Mr. Salah comin from. He strike me as
a fella wid principal. He band win two years in a row so
he cah foutie well turn around an say de judges wrong.
He know what time an effort went into he arrangement an
But I an plenty uddas questionin dem points spread in de
decision. We have a right and a place to do so.
Yuh could argue wid me but yuh cah tell me I lie.
I can speak on
behalf of one of the bands.
Three out of the four of our score sheets were marked in
Some were in two different handwritings and some had
clear erasure marks.
In one section there was a positive comment and three
lines down in a different handwriting a negative
I think you are on to something.......
Doh print meh name, dey woh leh we play pan nex year!
QM: Oh gooode look ruction!
I woon even try to figure dis one out. I not accusing de
judges of bobolistic or creative scoring. Dat have jail
in it. I din see de score sheet so ah cah talk what ah
doh know. I make sure an stand up far away from de
judges. Lass year ah get boof fuh stannin too close wid
What I would like to see is when a ban win, dat people
could say aight. Even if is not yuh ban, yuh could still
accep de decision becauue it was clear and unbias. Yuh
jes hush and work harder nex time. But to have dis
unhappiness all de time so...ah cah take it.
Woman why people like you don't run for office or for
the organizations who running things? The crowd was
smaller this year yet I hear them saying it was 7000.
Were they counting the players and vendors and people in
the street cars passing by? Salah played well, very
melodic but to me it seemed the decision wasn't based on
that. To put them so many points ahead of the 2nd band
sounds like something went wrong somewhere. Sounds like
they are trying to teach the bands a lesson or undo
their messing up of the decision last year. (by the way.
I want to give you a dollar towards the sousou to buy
back Caribana. Where can I send the money?)
QM: Lawd what a ting! I
don't know what de judges and dem was tinking eh. My
crystal ball is a fake one I buy in Walmart. I assume
the bands are privy to de scoring sheets. I doh know. I
jes en agree wid dem an ah say it loud.
Yuh know you is de fort ot fif person to say dey sennin
me a dollar. If ah could get a nex 149, 995 more people
to sen a dollar, I could out-bid ScotiaBank and use de
change to finally pay de mas men and competition
winners. But ah hatta keep de cacadah under meh bed
becaw if ah open a account in Canada, dey does teef yuh
money an call it service fee.
Well, well, excellent job
again. I received this in FIVE different e-mails. Two
from you, one from When Steel Talks, one from my husband
(he knows I'm a fan of yours) and one from another
source. This just goes to show that your writing is
getting the exposure it truly deserves. Reading the
article made me feel as if I was there witnessing the
pan competition. Keep up your good work
QM: Yuh have meh blushin...dat
mean ah have to do even better uddawise yuh go boof me.
I have to say true ting I know we get rob 6th nah man
Pan masters did not beat us and PanAtics did not beat us
Yuh speak yuh mind
QM: I have to talk what I see and
what I feel. Pan Fantasy play well but I hear all yuh
play better ent? But to me yuh did not play quite dong
in 6th place.
First of all it was indeed a great pleasure to meet you
in person, thank you for introducing yourself to me. I
wish I had more time to speak with you.
Now, I have just read your article and this reply is
more or less re-introducing myself. Of course I respect
your take on the festival itself and like you said you
call it as you see it. My feedback to you is again
because I am a steelpan activist and because I am very
much involved in the literate part of the Steelpan music
industry. Adjudicating a steelpan competition is a task
in itself. However like most systems there is a logic
and academic perspective to how things work. I have to
say that the judges did have a criterior ( Arrangement;
General Performance; Tone; Rhythm; ) to follow with all
of the adequate information needed to do their jobs. I
must inform you also that the judges themselves are
qualified musicians and have had sufficient experience
in adjudicating at many such festivals even in Trinidad.
Therfore the "cry-down" on the ability of the judges and
their adjudicating I certainly cannot agree with your
criticsm of them. but that is your right .( If you would
take four ordinary people from the audience without the
qualification of the judges and allow them to do the
adjudicating they would probably come up with a
different result .......my question of logic to you
would then be,,,,, Which of the two groups of
adjudicators would you choose, the ones with the
qualification and experience or the ones from the
audience like yourself). Again I am only a steelpan
activist so I have to say and comment on comments and
anything relative to the Steelpan.
Next year should be very interesting since we will be
raising our game even more as we will be trying to
capture the Tripple victory of three years straight. I
hope to see you next year and this time really have a
Best wishes and keep on writing
QM: Mr. Salah, me an you go be
good friens. I feel so. We go disagree eh but we en go
let dat mash we up.
Yes I would choose adjudicators wid experience an music
edikation. Is one like dat who learn meh what to listen
for, so ah does fight up wid de lil knowledge. But all I
truely have is a love of de instrument an a life-long
devotion to seein it get de respeck it deserve. I doh
care which ban play it, so long as dey play it good. Ah
may not be able to tell you dais a minor chord, a 7th or
a pong plantain but doh dismiss de ‘ordinary people’
Is de ordinary people who born dis instrument. Is de
ordinary man who pong de firse note. Is ordinary people
who own dis ting. Wid all due respeck to de degree’d an
extinguished people but is de ordinary man who bring pan
into de light. So when we bawl “RAY!” or when we bawl
“BOO!” we know what it is we hearing. Ah not crying dong
de judges. I am telling dem NO WAY. They made a decision
that did not see fair to me - one of the ‘ordinary
I doh care if is AfroPan, Pan Masters, Salah Academy,
New D or who. Ah not bias dat way. Ah listening fuh de
sweetness, ah listening to hear each and every note
clear, ah listening to make sure de cellos not mashing
de bass and de tenors not overbearin de whole ting. Ah
listening to hear if de pans blen and chune. A sour or
discordial note does grip de ordinary man too eh. Ah
listening to how it arrange wedda it use a safe pattern
or wedda de arranger buss a new style or wedda he
over-do and complicate matters. Ah listening to intro
and outro. Ah even listening to hear if de iron man iron
chune. Ah looking to see if all de players playing de
chune because ah tired see panists behine de pan pulling
a ‘Millie Vanilli’ on we.
De pan is my heartbeat since ah born. Ah muss know meh
QM, they go ban you from Pan Alive LMAO! Girl I found
myself actually waiting to read your report and was so
disappointed when SHARE only had a little paragraph. (By
the way, welcome back to SHARE, plenty people missed
you!) When I got WST, I clapped! LMAO. Once again you
were fair in your assessment but I know some characters
will try to buff you.
QM: Well as ah tell dem lass year.
Meh back broad. So long as I know ah not lying on
nobody, den I will talk meh mine. But yuh hatta blame
WST fuh sennin to akse me to do dis review. I was being
such a good girl up to dat point.
contact Queen Macoomeh: email@example.com
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