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The World

Published on July 30th, 2017 | by The Trinidad Guardian


Harness talents to enhance economic prospects

A most powerful result emerged out of the sonorous, multi-talented, Big Five steel band musical of the last weekend. The performances created the space for a few of the greatest of our musical talents to perform and enhance the quality of lives. Along with Exodus, Renegades, Phase 11, Despers, All Stars (inclusive of their sponsors) were the talents of tenor Eddie Cumberbatch, 3Canal, David Rudder and Pelham Goddard, Karene Asche and others, the show achieved exhilarating crescendos in musicality. Add to the performing talents, the tuners, the arrangers, Dr Jit, Boogsie, Smooth Edwards, the organising and administrative and legal skills and know-how, stretching back to the late Teddy Guerra, and now including Martin Daly, SC, and economist Terrence Farrell.

This talent pool resulted in grand satisfaction for Pan Jumbies, the mellowing 40 something plus who grew up with pan in the steel band yards, at Panorama, on the Drag, on JOuvert morning in the Bomb competition. I am concerned though about the absence of the youth. On the evening, at the Paddock adjacent to the Grand Stand, the Big Five triumphed over conflict, pulling and tugging and disorganisation to produce a musical evening of sweet pan plus. Exodus from the East sounded the first notes, most appropriately in tribute to the Grand Master with Pan in A Minor, instantly reminding us of the sweetness of the minor key explored by Dr Kitch, who in the 1990s received a challenge from the arrangers of the day: they all indicated they were getting bored and they would appreciate something new, so ah told them I would change to the minor chord to see really who is who Beat Pan. Exodus pan players are fabulously talented and well rehearsed.

Latin/jazz/calypso arrangements, and hand clapping Broadway-style pieces stood out. The band and its singer’s interpretation of GB’s Calypso Rising turned the typically melancholia into a celebration of achievement. Exodus’s accompaniment of Cumberbatch could not have been surpassed by strings and brass. One lovely nation under a groove, is what we often hope for, we experienced a taste of it through the band from Tunapuna’s interpretation of Rudder’s Ganges done meet the Nile. The first thing that struck me about Phase 11 Pan Groove was the diminutive, still boy-like figure of Boogsie. No longer is Boogsie the musical prodigy with the Che beret; he is now the accomplished maestro leading his band. Phase II brought back memories of classic calypso pieces such as Merchant’s Um Ba Ya O and Sparrow’s, Too Much Wood in the Fire, and Drunk and Disorderly. It seems only yesterday that Boogsie brought Phase II to represent the young black, and mixed, upwardly-mobile youth wanting change. It’s been 45 years.

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