Steelband Panorama 2011

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Carnival Tuesday and Steelpan!

Eric Mannweiler reports on his 2011 steelband panorama experiences

Posted by Eric Mannweiler on March 12, 2011 at 9:00 p.m.

Alright folks, I will try to keep this post short because I really have a lot I want to say in my final entry, but I have to do Carnival Tuesday justice as well.

Eric If there is one word to describe Carnival Tuesday, it is INTENSE! Everything seemed to be taken to the extreme: the colors were brighter, the music was louder, the bands were larger, the costumes (generally) smaller, and the energy that pulsed though the streets seemed almost frenzied at times. Mas bands moved like they were on a war-path of wining and jumping up. Yet everyone was trying to free up and have fun, so everything seemed to have this relaxed freedom to it. (I can't explain how you can be both frenzied and relaxed, but that's how it seemed...)

Panorama 2011Though most of the attention is given to the bikini mas and DJ trucks on Tuesday, there were actually tons of traditional mas groups with costumes more incredible than the previous days. There were sailor bands with ornate admiral coats, medals, some had boats they were towing. I saw unbelievable Indian mas groups with beautiful head dresses and seriously convincing costumes and face paint. Some of the best dragon and Bookman costumes were out Tuesday, and I even saw a Papa Bois masquerader! Even some of the bikini mas bands had sections that captured their theme surprisingly well!

Starlift had very few mas players, so the focus was again on the music, like it had been on J'Ouvert. The crowd showed the same love and respect for the band, and again I was energized and motivated to perform by the people's responses. It struck me how pumped I got when I looked out in front of the band and saw our flag waving around. I don't know if it's because I've never been in a band with a flagman (or a flag, for that matter), but something about that side wells up pride in me! There were some places where our thunder was stolen a bit by the DJ trucks and mas bands. Where as before the DJ would stop their music to let us play, on Tuesday they had to keep it going for their mas players. Most of the time we kept enough distance, but every once in a while we had to either stop playing or push on until we were separated again. Even when we were right behind one of those groups and obviously were not the main attraction, the crowd still seemed appreciative to have the steelband playing, especially the more animated we were and the more we made the racks move. Whenever we took breaks, we had people asking us to play something for them, regardless of the music that was happening around us.

On the Road

I saw tons of people with different steelbands throughout the day, especially in the afternoon. I saw some mas players from Renegades' French themed section, sailors with Exodus, Sailors from All Stars, I saw Invaders players, and there were a number of smaller steelbands on the Avenue before Starlift left. One of which had two P.H.I. among their acoustic pans, though I unfortunately didn't get to hear them play. I heard that Harmonites were on the road, and of course Desperadoes was playing for D' People's Band, neither of which I heard. I did get a chance to hear the tassa group connected with that mas band, which was the only tassa I saw during Carnival. I heard Renegades as they passed us on their way to Independence Square, and there were some other bands that I couldn't identify at various times that day. Steelbands seemed to be well represented on the road though, which I was proud of.

On the Road

Because we only had a few masqueraders, we opted to head back for home instead of going further into town and by the Savannah. As the evening turned into night and we made our way back to the panyard, it seemed like Carnival trickled off and ended abruptly- very similar to how it began on J'Ouvert morning. When I look back on Carnival, I found it funny to think how someone would react if they had no idea about Carnival and was simply dropped in Trinidad... The same can be said for the aftermath of Carnival: feathers, fake jewels and costume parts littered the streets and nearly every flat surface had splatters and hand prints of paint. It was really incredible to see such a huge and diverse crowd of people in the streets at the same time and having this joyous and raucous celebration instead of fighting!

I see why people call it the greatest show on Earth, and for those that have not been, believe me when I say you must experience it for yourself! Carnival was beautiful, exciting, and unlike anything I had every seen before. Starlift was a fantastic band to share the experience with, and I have to say a huge thank you to all of my band members who played with me! I will leave off for here, but I have one last post to give, so please stick with me for my concluding entry - I think many of you will enjoy it!

Until the next and last time,

 

Life for Pan


Eric Mannweiler

click to view entries - preface - 1 - 2- 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 -19 - 20- 21 - 22 - 23

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