Prelims underway in PanoGrama 2022 - Eight Steelpan players feature on first night

Nevin Roach, host - with co-host  Aundrea Wharton
Nevin Roach, host - with co-host  Aundrea Wharton
- image via screen grab

Global - One hour was just enough to unveil the start of the eagerly-awaited 2022 edition of PanoGrama, which began promptly at 8:00 p.m. on Friday May 6th, with host Nevin Roach – founder and CEO of PanoGrama, and co-host Aundrea Wharton. Both were on hand as presenters of the pan talents of the first eight of twenty-four preliminary participants.

This first leg opened with the PanoGrama anthem played by PanoGrama 2021 champion Keishaun Julien.

First up was Deja Cain who returned to the competition after reaching the semi-finals in last year’s event. She opted for “September” popularized by Earth, Wind & Fire.

Alexander Evans delivers in the PanoGrama 2022 preliminaries
Alexander Evans delivers in the PanoGrama 2022 preliminaries
- image via screen grab

In the event’s three-year history, it is the first time that Belize has been represented in PanoGrama, and Alexander Evans was just the versatile steelpan musician up to the task with his sultry rendition of Ckay’s “Love Nwantiti.” Then ‘sweetness’ in the form of Baron’s “This Melody Sweet” flowed from the sticks, hands, and instrument of Tevin Shockness of Trinidad & Tobago.

In position four, Canada’s Thadel Wilson made sure everyone knew he was ready for ‘Big People Party” not only with execution, but also ‘presentation.’ The latter was clear in the display to Wilson’s right: iron ready to ‘press’ his pants, watch, cologne, cash, with a musical backdrop - records and albums – all ready for his ‘partying.’ ‘Presentation’ together with ‘attire’ and ‘innovation’ are worth five points each for a total of fifteen under PanoGrama’s Performance category.

Thadel Wilson with his all-round ‘Presentation’ in the PanoGrama 2022 preliminaries
Thadel Wilson with his all-round ‘Presentation’ in the PanoGrama 2022 preliminaries
- image via screen grab

Next up was Jamel Cadette, no stranger to PanoGrama; he was making his third appearance in the competition. Full of confidence, he showed this well in his choice of Voice’s “Out and Bad.”

Al Alexander of St. Lucia took time out of his busy performance schedule on a cruise ship, to drop his interpretation of Tony Succar’s Latin version of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”

The fourth representative of Trinidad & Tobago, Christopher Neale, showcased the Caribbean Jazz Project’s “Three Amigos” on tenor manufactured by the illustrious Andy Neils [Panmax].

The USA’s David Yundi closed off the eight competitors in the first night of preliminaries with Lord Kitchener’s well-known “Pan in ‘A’ Minor.”

Online steelpan music connoisseurs taking in the show dropped ‘flames’ and other supportive emojis throughout as each musician one by one, served up sounds on steel. The remaining sixteen performances in the preliminary leg can be seen over a two-night period, Saturday May 7 and Sunday May 8, again online, with start times of 8:00 p.m. AST (Atlantic Standard Time). Those moving on to the semi-finals will be revealed immediately after the Sunday show.

All the panists are seeking the title of PanoGrama 2022 champion, which comes with rewards including a prize purse of USD $1,000.00. There is also a trip to the Bahamas courtesy that country’s Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture as part of an initiative to develop the steelpan art form there - via workshops. A brand-new tenor pan from Perfect Steel and a private session with a world-renowned steel panist rounds out the prize haul awaiting this year’s champion.

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