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Caribbean

Published on March 26th, 2014 | by Trinidad Express Newspapers

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Tacarigua’s contribution to pan

A historical look at the pan with a focus on the contribution of a small village to its evolution has been documented. The meaningful and relevant documentation in the form of a book titled, Panriga  — Tacarigua’s Contribution to the Evolution of the Steelband Phenomenon in Trinidad and Tobago written by Kenrick P Thomas, was recently launched at the National Library and Information System Authority (Nalis). The book, a revised version (the original was first launched in 1999) tells the story of the development of pan in an in-depth account of Tacarigua’s role in the pan landscape of Trinidad and Tobago.

Thomas, a pan pioneer in his own right has been involved in all aspects of the pan spectrum. The former executive member of the national steelband body then known as the National Association of Trinidad and Tobago Steelbandsmen (NATTS), the forerunner to today’s Pan Trinbago, introduced the pan stands for the tenor pans by taking them off the laps of the players during the semifinals of the music festival held at Roxy Theatre in 1956. While Thomas is credited with this honour he finds it a hard pill to swallow that the evolution of the pan has been credited to areas in Port of Spain and neighbouring communities, while small villages like Tacarigua get little or no mention.

Thomas said there are hundreds of unrecognised pan pioneers in various districts and villages. He noted that Tacarigua has a rich history in the evolution of the pan phenomenon.Thomas’s aunt, a resident of Tacarigua, Rufina Thomas-Thompson, has also gone down in history as the first woman to play a tune on the pan when in 1946 she played “Symphony of Love” on the ping pong pan at a concert held at the Rex Cinema in Arouca. Thomas has also documented a controversial issue in which he noted that the national instrument was born out of Orisha tradition and culture which at the time was prevalent in Tacarigua.

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