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‘How Can The Bands Improve?’

sung by Gene Toney
composed by Stephen “GospelPan” Reid & Clive Bradley

lyrics edited by Winsford “Joker” Devine
arranged by Frankie McIntosh



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Click here for lead sheet


Verse 1

Every year when I go to Panorama,
There is Steel Band music for so.
I hear the counter melody,
Between the tenors and cellos
it is a truly wonderful show!

Verse 2

After all the effort the players put in,
In the Brooklyn Panorama
They underpay the orchestra,
And disrespect the band leaders,
And that is hindering the culture!


How can the bands improve
If you can’t pay the players?
How can the bands improve, you tell me?
How can the bands improve
When they can’t pay a tuner?
How can the bands improve, you tell me?
Something must be done
To compensate everyone,
For what, Pan men put out for Panorama!

Verse 3

So much money is made from Panorama
Enough money for everyone
That’s why they need to share the wealth,
So that we could enjoy we self,
Then we could focus on having fun.



Pan is such a great innovation
There should be much more -
To give the Pan man.
Pan fame can’t buy goods in the store,
That’s why I tell everybody,
Pan music should be worth more!

Verse 4

We all know that Pan is a great invention
And a gift from the Almighty
The joy it brings is evident,
That’s why the Steel Pan instrument
Should be respected by you and me.

Chorus  (x2)

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“How Can The Bands Improve?”
Gene Toney

Provided with the expressed permission of the composer(s)

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Gene Toney
Gene Toney

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Gene Toney:

Gene is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s foremost dancers, a choreographer, and troupe leader. He got involved in dancing around the time of the twin island state’s achievement of political independence from Great Britain in 1962. With the advent of the Prime Minister’s Best Village Competition in the ’60s, the Harding Place Cocorite Youth Movement was formed, and Gene embedded himself in its artistic life, particularly dance, under the leadership of the now-deceased Carlton Francis.

Through this activity, he became acquainted with some of Trinidad’s leading dancers such as: Jean Coggins, Julia Edwards, and Neville Shepherd with whom Gene performed and toured before forming his own troupe, the Ujamaa Folk Performers in 1972. Under the guidance of Gene, Ujamaa toured the Caribbean, the United States, Canada, Venezuela, and other places, performing numerous Caribbean dances including the Bele, Pique, Joropo, and the Limbo. Ujamaa has won the national limbo competition on multiple occasions.

In recent years Gene, together with his wife, Rosanna Toney, has taken his talents to Brooklyn New York, and assisted in the transmission of the knowledge and performance of these Caribbean dance forms among the youth, particularly those of Caribbean parentage. He has worked in the youth programs of the Sesame Flyers organization, helping to develop their dance troupe and artistic programs in general. He continues to share his cultural gifts by participation in the steelband movement, mas’ making and performance, and calypso singing.

Stephen Reid:

Born in South East London, Steve Reid (pictured with wife Bernadette above) has been involved in Pan, both as a player and as a band director for more than twenty-two years.

It was after attending the Notting Hill Carnival at the age of nine that he wanted to join a Steel Band; in 1989, that dream became a reality when he joined Calvary Steel Orchestra and two years later, became its director.

Steve has also collaborated with Ray Holman and David ‘Happy’ Williams on a total of six compositions, which have yet to be heard; the songs range from gospelypso, to praise and worship to contemporary pop styles.

Steve extends special thanks to Ray Holman and Winsford Devine for their help with How Can The Bands Improve? - the track featured here.


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