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Global Steelpan News

Music Manufacturers Ignore
Steelband Music Super Bowl


Drum and Percussion organizations say:  We don't see you, and we don't need you...


News Release




Global - Where is the Love??  In less than two weeks the greatest event and gathering of percussion musicians, performers and fans in the world will be gathering for the annual Steelband music panorama competition in the Mecca of the steelpan instrument Trinidad and Tobago.  Panorama, the most passionate and fierce music competition on earth, is now in its 45th year.  Yet to date no major music, percussion or drum manufacturer has provided any significant backing or endorsement to any of the major steel orchestras world wide.  No banner with the name of a major music manufacturer has ever crossed the stage.  This fact is nauseating and repugnant.  Imagine that - ignoring the single most popular tuned percussion event on the planet.

Tuned Percussionist on Stage for Panorama 

Were is Yamaha, Pearl, Gretsch, LP Music Group- Latin Percussion, Ludwig, Paiste, Remo, Sabian, Sonor, Tama, Yamaha and Zildjian?  Where is The Percussive Arts Society (PAS)?  PAS claims that it is a music service organization promoting percussion education, research, performance and appreciation throughout the world.  Who are we kidding?  Have they met with Ebony in the UK, Hells Gate in Antigua, or Peck and New Dimensions in Grenada, Sonatas and Pantonic in New York, Calypsociation in France, or Panorama Steelband in Japan just to name a few?

Most of the major music senior VP's, directors of marketing, and presidents and manufacturers of organizations were seen at the recent four-day NAMM (National Association of Music Manufacturers) show blowing hot air on each other rather than being present this week's preliminaries event in Trinidad and Tobago.  These guys are so far removed from real music and musicians that they do not know what it is about any more.

Over one million visitors will cross the When Steel Talks web site looking to digest every bit of information on their favorite players, bands and arrangers.  Every aspect of the panorama and its participants will be analyzed with furor and intensity, that can only compare to that associated with such as World Cup Soccer or the American Superbowl.  No flagship events those organizations produce, create a type of excitement and loyalty to outdo the type generated by this annual music percussion Superbowl known as Panorama.  Again, PAS, who do you represent? It has been brought to our attention that major drum and percussion institutions provide massive financial support to your organization.  So, what's up?

Normally, we wouldn't give a hoot what these stone-aged, recycled, not-ready-for-prime-time logheads did. However, they will have a heavy presence in terms of investment by the steelbands in their products. Every steelband who participates in this competition will have some piece of music performance equipment or instrument from one of these music manufacturers on stage at the Trinidad and Tobago panorama. Zoom out, and globally we are looking at many thousands of steelpan groups that are users of these music manufacturers equipment. Are we missing something here?  I don't think so! This is a classic case of abuse.

These organizations seem to have no problem supporting events, activities and people all over the world, some of whom are only masquerading as percussionists - indeed percussionists who couldn't swim in a sweat droplet of the average Trinidad and Tobago pan player.

Has anyone seen panorama in the major drum magazines and percussion magazines? And why is it the panman is not on the cover of every drum and percussion magazines every February and March? How can you call yourself an international drum and percussion organization if you don't know who Smooth, Boogsie, Samaroo, Professor, Greenidge, Goddard, Kellman, Austin, Harrigin, Guppy, to name a few, are? These are people who are known by one name throughout the world.

Well, it's January and a new fiscal year is about to begin for all these companies and organizations. Let's see what they do with their new beget. Panorama will be taking place all over the globe in the coming months. Grammy-award winning percussionist Ralph MacDonald wrote the song asking "Where Is The Love," and one can ask that of the so-called, supposedly premier percussion and drum organizations. And the late Max Roach, the greatest drummer ever, said, "Pan belongs on a world stage." So clearly these drum and percussion organizations are out of touch.

It is time for the steelband to transfer some of that world-renowned creative and inventive genius, and develop their own signature drum sets. After all, they did invent the entire range of steelpan instruments... Imagine owning a Phase II, Desperadoes or Renegades drum set made specifically for the steel orchestra. Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching.

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