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The World

Published on February 22nd, 2016 | by The Trinidad Guardian

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Champs of Steel Great performances—but poor concert management

There were many high points in last Saturday’s Champs in Steel Plus concert, staged by Pan Trinbago Inc at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.  Among them was the masterful performance by the young Helon Francis, who is a music student at UTT and who had earlier won the Young King Calypso Monarch on January 25 after he impressed the audience with his rendition of The Real Bandits.

He sang Real Bandits on Saturday night, and it was both lyrically strong and performed with class and a graceful, effortless confidence on the stage. He commanded the stage intellectually, musically and creatively in a way the soca “party” artists simply did not. And he wrote the song himself. This might be this generation’s answer to David Rudder. The pan performances were exhilarating, energetic, and entertaining, but in some cases, the heightened volume and frequency of furious crescendos and various musical party tricks intended to raise excitement levels for a Panorama audience outweighed the musicality and art of the compositions, at least to this listener.

Still, it was good to see so much energy on stage, and from so many parts of T&T, and made one proud to be from T&T to feel so much musical goodwill in the air. For many, this was the only time to see all the winners of the various contests in pan together, and that alone made the show worthwhile. One of the best pan performances last Saturday night was in fact not by adults but by a student band: the beautiful, powerful, melodic arrangement and performance of the students of St Joseph’s Convent, St Joseph, who wonderfully played the late Lord Kitchener’s song Guitar Pan, arranged by Anders Kappel Ovre, to place first in this year’s secondary school category of Junior Panorama. It was a joy to hear.

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