Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - Laughing and jovial, arranger for Exodus Steel Orchestra Pelham Goddard confirmed that the news on the ground was accurate. That the band had scrapped its original Panorama tune for 2019 - Rag Storm - and instead was going with the one of the most popular tunes in the country - Savannah Grass by Kes.
“You found out about changing the song” said a laughing Pelham. “I decided to do that because it’s like they ain’t taking me on with...Rag Storm,” referring to the steel orchestra’s original tune of choice. Exodus placed ninth out of ten steel orchestras in the semi-finals. Of the opinion that there was nothing to lose with that placement, the switch was made. The last time Exodus was champion was back in 2004.
“I’m [excited, and] almost [at] halfway mark [the new arrangement] in that song already in one night [Tuesday February 19].” The halfway point means that almost four minutes of the allocated eight-minute arrangement is completed. The mark of a musical master, confident in his ability to ‘change lanes.’ “The time I go back tonight - that’s the song,” Pelham said simply - a champion arranger in his own right, and, meaning - the arrangement would be completed Wednesday night into Thursday morning at Exodus’ pan yard in east Trinidad. That leaves a good stretch to cement the presentation in time for the March 2 finals.
Asked how the band was feeling about the change, he said everybody was “feeling good” and spoke of those who danced and danced and danced in the panyard as they heard the orchestra.
Exodus Steel Orchestra on stage for Panorama Semi Finals 2019 - photo by Robbie Joseph
In the less than twenty-four hours time-span, there has been push back on social media, and also reports that the Pan Trinbago executive called a meeting to decide if this change by Exodus would in fact be allowed at this stage. So - this decision is not a done deal - as of 2:30 p.m. local time.