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Kadeem Alleyne speaks on NY Steelband Panorama - A Call for Unity

Open letter to the Caribbean Community from Kadeem Alleyne

New York, USA

Kadeem Alleyne
Kadeem Alleyne

Greetings to all:  I currently am a songwriter and producer. I’m one of the only YOUTH artists coming out of New York writing songs for the steelpan instrument, but to add seasoning to the flavor, it seems to me that the majority of Pan youth in New York only care about Panorama. For years it has been expressed that there are other ways in which we Pan people could propel this instrument.  Now, all of a sudden, that the panorama is hanging over the cliff, some want to call for action. And not only that - but scorn those who have been fighting eons before they even knew about this movement.

For those who don’t know, I’m a Pan player for over 10 years; I started playing Pan in Trinidad at a young age, and unlike most, my family has been involved and still is involved with the Pan movement both in Trinidad and Tobago and here in the United States. I, as an experienced Pan player, take this movement very seriously, because at some point this (Pan) was our only resource for my family. As a matter of fact much of my family got involved in the music business, went on tour and saw the world because of this beloved music instrument.

Now to get into the topic at hand. I personally have mentioned boycott of the [New York] panorama, and also a youth revolution because of this constant circle of speakers who have no interest in the uplifting of this instrument. Now when we take the meaning of the word “Revolution” it simply means “Change”, but in today’s society when our people hear the word “revolution” they quickly associate it with riots, violence and other negative actions or ideas.

When this season began, I sat in awe at the silent messages that our leaders promoted. Now I know some may get offended, but I sat and wondered: “Why was the first event for the season a competition?” Now to some, that may be a senseless question but why couldn’t the first event be a launch or jamboree, sending a signal of unity and peace amongst all of us. That shows the lack of intention to have unity. I don’t normally address any issue in the community on such a large scale, but it is quite disturbing to see people pointing fingers and planting labels at a time when we’re supposed to be preparing for one conscious decision as a community!

I recently saw someone create the label “Post-Bradley Pan Player.”  What is a “Post-Bradley Pan Player?”  Isn’t he playing Pan too? We need to realize that nothing will be solved by pointing fingers and pulling yourself out of this movement. In a moment like this we need some action. I am not going to write a lot and go into extra details because everyone by now should know what the problem is in our community.

I remember there was an interview Clive Bradley did, and he said something to the idea of “The only way Pan is going to progress is if you get the dinosaurs out.” Now - who’s holding us back at this very moment? Ladies and gentlemen there is nothing much to say, all the words have been said. We need to sit objectively and give thanks for all the comments and emotions expressed because they help us as a community grow, we don’t need another “SPLIT-UP.”  We need Oneness! Let’s CHANGE FROM NOW!

Kadeem Alleyne

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