Trinbago Pan

Dr. Kim Johnson's Lecture on Pan

Dr. Kim Johnson
Dr. Kim Johnson

By Reporters
Event Date: October 16, 2008
Posted: November 17, 2008

Local writer and journalist, Dr. Kim Johnson, held a lecture titled "An Oral and Pictorial History of Pan: Problems and Possibilities", on 16th October 2008 at the National Library in Port of Spain. Dr. Johnson is the author of several books such as "The Fragrance of Gold: Trinidad in the Age of Discovery", "If Yuh Iron Good Yuh is King" and "Descendants of the Dragon: The Chinese in Trinidad 1808 2006". He is currently working on a project amassing photographs capturing Trinidad and Tobago's national musical instrument, the Steelpan, for a book entitled "the National Archives of the Pan".

The lecture started with Kim Johnson explaining how he got interested in the Steelpan during his days as a journalist when he interviewed various Pan 'bad johns'. Delving into his presentation Kim Johnson shared with the audience his massive collection of Pan photographs, explaining some of the pictures. He also shared the stories of how he came to get some of the photos and how he was able to work out what was in some of the pictures. Using a term "archeology of the memory" he explained that he was interested in bringing out the meanings and history behind the many pictures.

To say that this pictorial-centered lecture was interesting, would be a vast understatement, as the many pictures were woven together with Johnson's free-styling narrative to present a vivid and powerful story that captured the essence of the emergence and development of our national instrument, the Steelpan.

There were pictures of pioneers such as Sonny Roach, Ellie Mannette, Anthony Williams, Bertie Marshall, Roy Harper, Rannie Maharaj and Maharaj Kids plus many others along with pictures of early Steelbands such as Casablanca, Fonclair, Sunvalley, Syncopators, Intruders, Invaders, Desperadoes, USS Bad Behavior (later Trinidad All Stars), Dixieland, and Highlanders. He also showed pictures of early masqueraders, Orisha and Rada drummers, Jam Molassies and Moko Jumbies.

The presentation was very informative with the many early pictures adding tremendous value to the explanations of the history of the Steelpan.

Dr. Kim Johnson's Lecture on the Steelpan in pictures

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