Moods of Pan 2008
- The Honourable Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer of Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua & Barbuda, W.I. - While When Steel Talks was visiting the panyards on our recent trip to Antigua we caught up with the country’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Baldwin Spencer who was in Halcyon Steel Orchestra’s panyard taking in a practice section for the 2008 Moods of Pan Festival. We posed three questions to the Prime Minister which he very graciously answered.
WST: - “If you could speak to the other Prime Ministers, Heads of State of the other Caribbean islands that may not necessarily benefit from a Head of state that is as passionate about the steelpan art form as you are - what would you like to say to them to encourage the movement?”
PM Baldwin Spencer: - “Certainly - let me answer the last one [of the three questions] first: that is - what I would say to my colleagues as Heads of State - where they should be, with respect to the steelband movement. I would want to encourage them to get on board, because it is an expression of our being as a people, as Caribbean people. This is our music - it is our expression.
“We have given this thing to the world and it is something that means a lot to the psyche of Caribbean people - it is our thing. Therefore - from that standpoint - as leaders and so on, we ought to be identifying with the art form and to give it as much encouragement and exposure as possible, so that it can grow and flourish not only in the Caribbean, but throughout the world. And, it is important that we do this because others have seen what the steelband movement, or the pan, can do - and what it is capable of as a musical instrument... and in Japan, the United States and other parts of the world - they are doing so much with it. So even from that standpoint - we as leaders need to be paying great attention to what this is, and to make sure that we hold it - while we give it to the world, we hold it as ours.”
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Baldwin Spencer
WST - “Who is your favorite arranger?”
PM Baldwin Spencer: - “With respect to who I would consider - as an arranger I would put out there - I may be a little prejudiced here because - Len “Boogsie” Sharpe - when I got to know him and he came to Antigua - and he assisted and arranged for the steelband (Halcyon) and so on, I developed a personal relationship with him. I just feel this guy is a genius....He is my arranger.
“- Let me say this - having said that though - I do believe that fellows like Clive Bradley could be considered the maestros of pan arranging. He is great in his own way. It is just that I feel Boogsie brings something to the art form.... So yes, all these people are great; they have done wonderful work. Clive Bradley for instance - I do like the work that he has put down over the years. I’m quite sure that even Len “Boogsie” Sharpe himself would admit that he learnt a lot from him.
- “Thank you for giving me this opportunity; I’m glad that I was able to do it. Let’s hope that we will catch up before this Moods of Pan 2008 is over.”
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