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TT pan men ‘mash up’ Japan
Posted By: Carol
Date: Monday, 9 September 2002, at 10:35 a.m.
Sunday SEPTEMBER 8
By Francis Joseph In Nagaro, Japan
It was not dance; it was not reggae, but it was the Trinidad and Tobago-based Caribbean Magic Steel Orchestra which ‘mash up' the Caribbean Festival here last night.
Despite the inclement weather, the local panmen thrilled the hundreds who braved the rain with rain coats and umbrellas. It was a breath-taking performance which left all other acts looking quite ordinary.
Stella Maris Dance Troupe of Jamaica performed earlier in the day and looked ordinary. Japan's reggae Star Nhaki created quite a stir in mid-afternoon with his popular hits, and in good weather. Soon after the rains came, but the crowd stayed on to hear the Trini panmen. The 19-member band, led by Sheldon James, did not disappoint. The crowd got closer and closer to the band as the tunes were played. But the tune which sent the crowd wild was Kitchener's "Pan in A Minor."
With the majority of members coming from Amoco Renegades, it was no surprise the elements of a Jit Samaroo arrangement was in the offering.
With the rain pelting down, the TT panmen delivered and won high acclaim from Lester ‘Efebo' Wilkinson, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism who added, "we don't know what we have here."
The performance even went higher when the band performed Shadow's "Wave". Handkerchiefs, rags and even miniature TT flags appeared and turned the festival arena into a sea of waves.
It was awesome, as one woman put it. Even she refused to find shelter. The Caribbean magic band showed its skill by playing Bob Marley's "One Love." Burning Flames' "Swing One Engine” added fuel to the fire as the crowd called for more, with the Japanese women swinging their engines.
Even bandleader Sheldon James got into the act, by working the crowd into a frenzy with his gyrations. The crowd loved him especially when he was showing them how to "Dollar Wine". The rains never stopped, but this did not prevent the audience from swallowing the two-hour performance of some of TT's top pannists.
Earlier, Nhaki, who learned reggae in Jamaica, thrilled the audience with his songs. People had travelled miles to see him — a star in Japan.
The three-day festival ends today with a two-hour workshop being hosted by the local pannists.
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