Steelband Panorama 2011

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Panorama - “Dreams of pan are sure to be had tonight!”

My First Pilgrimage to the Mecca of Pan - Entry 18

Posted by Eric Mannweiler on March 5, 2011

Trinidad & Tobago

The Original DeFosto Himself

Hello again, everyone!


EricSo I have spent these last few days trying to do as much as possible! I have spent some time out east in Curepe at Gill's pan shop. I was able to meet a number of tuners working there, and was even given a basic introductory tuning "lesson" by one of them. I have to say, having the anatomy of a steel pan note explained to me, and seeing how different parts of the surface can be manipulated in different ways to affect different things (tuning a note by striking the surface outside the note, for instance) makes me all the more respectful of this instrument! What an incredible, complex and beautiful thing pan is...

Also, though the Roti challenge is still not decided, I have to give the Doubles crown to Sauce's in Curepe! WOW!!! If you have never experienced these doubles for yourself, you have no idea what you're missing! Incredible...

I saw the pan jazz event at Phase II's panyard, which was a great time as well. I got to meet Robbie Joseph, of Pan Podium, Ray Funk, and a number of other people. There were also some very excellent players that took the stage!

I also had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Salah Wilson, who has joined the ranks of Starlift. I have thoroughly enjoyed talking pan with Salah, who I think has some great ideas and views on a number of different areas of pan.

Rehearsals have been longer and more exhausting this week than they have in the past (sometimes it feels like they're the most exhausting I've had in my life!) I feel the group has been really coming together and bonding, working hard, and I have really been loving every minute of it! The Original Defosto Himself came to the yard Thursday night and delivered an incredibly powerful and inspiring speech. I will admit, I am a bit star-struck by Defosto as well - the man has written some incredible calypsos (especially In She Rainorama!)

I finally got a short introductory lesson on tassa by Junior, Starlift's drummer. I definitely want to learn more, but at least I know what sorts of things to work on now. Again, Trinidad has produced a really interesting musical tradition which I want to learn and share with the engine room players back home.

Last but not least, I spent most of today seeing the Carnival parade downtown! Moko Jumbies, Midnight Robbers, Red Indians, Juju Warriors, Book Man, Dragons, Jab Molassie, Blue and Red Devils, I saw it all! I was traveling primarily with Keith Byer's Diatonic Pan Institute, who had a pan side playing on a float. There were many different bands that passed around the steelband, and after I left them, I had a great time seeing all the mas characters and hearing the incredible music. I hear a great tassa group, who I definitely listened to more closely, having just done my introductory lesson last night. I also hear tamboo bamboo, which was very cool seeing them perform just in front of a steelband so to illustrate the evolution of the art form. I met some of the players in Freelancers, a pan round the neck quintet with some interesting instruments, and whose guitar player uses three sticks. Again, I can feel Carnival building up speed... Trinidad has this buzz of excitement that I feel everywhere I go!

I don't know when I'll post again, but I know I will have some experiences to talk about tomorrow night! With that said, I need to get some rest, because tomorrow I go into musical warfare with Starlift! It still does not seem real that I will be performing on the big stage tomorrow... WOW

Thanks again for everyone who have been following my posts, good luck to all the players tomorrow for finals, and goodnight to everyone! Dreams of pan are sure to be had tonight!

Life for Pan

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