Global - In these global pandemic moments, many people are experiencing severe mental, physical, social, economic, spiritual, creative and social challenges. As much as anyone else - the same is true for the artistic and performing arts community.
With a heightened sense of the reality of the grim reaper maybe is, or was, parked outside your door - a new sense of time, urgency, space and purpose have settled in.
Recently - musician standout, panist and champion arranger for the world-renowned Renegades Steel Orchestra, Duvone Stewart, shared on his weekly live internet broadcast “The Steelpan Chronicles,” that he had been severely suffering from one of these recurring nightmares/daymares. Cold sweat-inducing, headache-throbbing, heart-palpitating and sprit-chilling manifestation of a dream state-reality centered around the past, present and future condition of the steelpan music art form affairs.
Duvone’s very passionate plea brought laser-focus and attention to issues and circumstances that were not only affecting him negatively, personally - but also those wreaking havoc on many throughout the world. Rather than just suffering peacefully, he sought a solution to these problems. In this regard he invited an international panel of experienced steelpan musicians with years of various leadership, managerial and administrative skill sets - to identify issues and concerns.
The panel included:
André White - noted arranger, panist and host of the ‘Arranger’s Corner’
Ben Jackson - noted panist and drill master - Trinidad & Tobago
Khan Cordice - noted arranger, panist, educator and host of Steelpan Melee - Antigua & Barbuda
Rodney Small - noted panist, arranger, educator, director of RS Academy, Cultural Ambassador - St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Seion Gomez - arranger, panist, educator at UTT (University of Trinidad & Tobago)
A dose of 2021 reality.... Indeed - while the pandemic has exposed many of the critical issues that threaten the survival of the art form going forward - the truth is, many of these critical issues were here long before the pandemic.
Host Duvone Stewart noted that the ‘Generation Next’ panel was not limited to those participating on this specific day. He also shared during the Live, that he had reached out to some noted women in Pan to partake in the panel, but for one reason or another, they were unavailable for this specific broadcast.
So with a heavy dose of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” to their rear, then Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Where Do We Go From Here?” to their side, and Ray Holman’s “We Just Can’t Go On Like This” echoing, ‘Generation Next’ - as Duvone Stewart dubbed the international panel, appears committed to the task before them.
See the Pan Chronicles’ discussion here