Steelband Panorama 2011

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A Reality Check In the Land of the Steelpan

My First Pilgrimage to the Mecca of Pan - Entry 3

Posted by Eric Mannweiler on January 19, 2011 at 3:00 p.m.

Trinidad & Tobago - Hello to everyone in When Steel Talks,

Panorama 2011Ok folks, here's another update. Driving is a scary ordeal, as driving under the influence is not as big of a concern in Trinidad (apparently). I am trying to secure transportation that is a little more safe, but until then, I am not comfortable with my situation....

I have to be honest, I starting to question some of my perceptions of different things in the pan world. Firstly, most people in Trinidad seem very very negative about pan's present and future. Pan Trinbago doesn't do anything beside Panorama, Panorama is killing pan, nobody creates anything worth while anymore, pan is not being handled correctly, etc. I came down thinking Panorama is a wonderful culminating event for pan, in which bands put their best foot forward with arrangements that are thrilling. It brings in tourists and pan lovers from abroad (like me), and is the world wide Super Bowl of Pan. Yet talking with different people, and admittedly many of them are of an older generation, the common opinion is the competition of Panorama has served it's purpose of getting bands off the streets and stopping the riot era, but has done nothing worthwhile for the instrument besides.

Eric I also recognize that Boogsie is WIDELY regarded as a saint in pan. One man declared that Samaroo wrote the same arrangement for 30 years, and essentially no band or arranger has done anything worthwhile except Boogsie. Liam Teague was written off by this man because, although he plays pan, he is more focused on non-Trini music. Boogsie has done some great arrangements, is a PHENOMINALLY fast and talented player, and has been a great voice in the steelband movement. I am not sure I would put Boogsie outside the zone of criticism though... that's all I'm going to say on that one! (No disrespect meant for Boogsie, I just don't think he is the perfect and all mighty pan god some make him out to be.)

I have noticed that my skin color and nationality have put me in a place of prejudice in some places and situations. Not  unexpected, but I wish it were not the case. Things as simple as the initial assumption that I don't know much about the history and culture are easily broken.  The looks I get in certain areas though... I'm still getting the looks that imply "you don't belong" sometimes. HOWEVER, I have been very warmly accepted by a lot of the people I've met, and the more they knew about me before hand, the quicker I've felt accepted. I don't want to give the impression that Trinidad is this hostile place, certainly I am in the minority here, but it is not an issue in most cases I've been in so far.

Santa Cruz

Lastly, I will say though Santa Cruz is beautiful, I do wish I were closer to town and could experience things easier (ie. without a taxi/ driver into town.) I will be making more attempts at getting to town during the day to get more experiences. I've been getting more and more history, meeting people like Simeon Sandiford at Sanch Electronics (checking out Pan in Education) and Patrick Arnold. The pan talks I've had have been enriching, educational, and really really refreshing! (Back home they just call me a nerd and walk away...)

That's it for me today, more later on! (I'll wait until I have some more compelling experiences to share with you.)

Life for Pan

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

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