French youth pannists visit TT
EIGHT children from the band P’tit Pan of Nantes, France, flew into TT last Tuesday to learn the rudiments of pan, and also to familiarise themselves with the culture of this country.
They were the toast of a reception hosted by French Ambassador to TT Serge Lavroff and his wife Caroline at their home in St Clair on Thursday evening.
Lavroff was particularly pleased that the Nantes band accepted the invitation to visit TT during their vacation, especially coming from a city that is known for its prestigious artistic festivals and its Carnival.
He said, “This evening is dedicated to an incredible, unique and mythical instrument, the steelpan, the only acoustic musical instrument invented in the 20th century and which embodies the spirit, talent and artistic creativity of TT. More than a symbol, this instrument is a kind of link between peoples; with its unique vibrations which speak to us in the language of heart, it is the best vehicle of friendship between the Caribbean and the rest of the world. And it is not far fetched to say that today, the steelpan is becoming a key international player in diplomacy by placing itself at the service of a noble cause, peace and understanding among nations.”
Mokhtar El-Mokhtari, coach of the group, and who runs the Calyps’ Atlantik Pan School in France said the visit is part of the band’s project conceptualised some years ago. He said: “The children started playing pan seven years ago and their dream was to come to Trinidad for a master class and to play pan in the Mecca of steelpan. So a year and a half ago they started doing fundraisers like concerts, selling their own handicraft and hosting cake sales to finance their trip to Trinidad.”
He said when the children, who range from 12-15 years, arrived they were placed in the homes of Trinidadian families to experience all that is local from the food and music to excursions, all taking in the Trinidadian experience.
by Joan Rampersad - Trinidad and Tobago Newsday Newspapers