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Five Alive Showdown
at the Deanery Grounds

Musical Youth breathes real fire but comes in second to Golden Hands

Moods of Pan 2008 

Muhammad Ali vs Joe Fraser, Lakers vs Celtics, West Indies vs England, Hannibal vs Rome, Obama vs Clinton, the Trojans vs Greeks - and then there was Musical Youth vs Golden Hands of Five Alive - Antiguan Style.


 Musical Youth

Antigua & Barbuda, W.I. - It was billed as the steelpan battle of ages.  The night of the long anticipated face-off between the titans of the Five Alive - a ‘five-a-side steelband competition’ format was finally here, Antigua & Barbuda’s Musical Youth versus Trinidad & Tobago’s Golden Hands - themselves fully expecting to go up against seven other equally-determined aggregations of five musicians - all with the intent of not allowing either of those two “titans” to leave with the prize purse.  Two champions laying it all on the line to finally answer the question that has been on the minds of anyone who has seen these groups perform at the annual Moods of Pan festivals - what would happen if they actually competed against each other?

Musical Youth is the all-time champion of the Five Alive competition.  So dominant was Musical Youth’s run, that after winning numerous times they retired from competition in 2005.  Golden Hands from Trinidad entered in 2006 and has not looked back since.  As ‘newbies’ to the Five Alive contest in 2006,  Golden Hands defeated all comers that year.

Click on the group’s name to see sample video performances of Musical Youth and Golden Hands.

 Golden Hands

The rumors of champions  Musical Youth coming out of retirement to reclaim the title from Golden Hands (then with two consecutive wins of their own under their belt) - circulated since last year.  So the scene was set for this epic battle.  The contestants did not disappoint the audience.  Both groups came out swinging and delivered grand performances.  The Five Alive format is truly an Antiguan concoction that merges drama, humor, comedy and storytelling with deft musicianship.  Arguably, these two groups have proven themselves the best at grasping and interpreting the Five Alive concept as envisioned and laid out by its inventors, Moods of Pan show producers Gemonites Steel Orchestra.

In the end there could only be one champion for 2008.  ‘Fire Unda Mi Foot’ by Burning Flames was the tune of choice for Musical Youth.  ‘Don’t Stop the Party’ by Swallow was that of Golden Hands.  Golden Hands proved too much for the old champions on this night.  The group from Trinidad put out just a little extra on skit, storyline, musicianship and entertainment than their competitor.  This Five Alive will be talked about for many, many years to come.

 TCL Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra

Another reason it will be debated is for one that is not so great.  One very curious and disappointing note on the night - the absence of the seven other groups who committed to take part in the competition.  All seven other participants dropped out mere hours before the start of the competition, according to the promoters.  Whether it was fear of the champions, collusion or coincidence, the absence of the other groups was bad for the tradition and spirit of the show - which is for everyone to have fun, while enjoying some great steelband music.

However, despite the non-appearance of the seven other groups, there was absolutely no shortage of great music performances on this night.  Special guest artist TCL Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra from Trinidad and Tobago put on a rousing performance that had the audience on their feet in adoration as the opening act.  And last but not least Caribbean recording performing artist David Rudder dropped his classic hits on the admiring congregants.  The Five Alive night provided another great session of entertainment.

 David Rudder


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Moods of Pan 2008   

contact: Moods of Pan
Patrick “Stone” Johnson at - stonenrico@yahoo.com - 1 (268) 727-6633
Joseph “Jawato” Henry -
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