Pan is dead!
Posted: Friday, September 4, 2009
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Len "Boogsie" Sharpe receives the Humming Bird Medal (Gold)
national award from President George Maxwell Richards, on Independence Day
at the National Awards Ceremony - August 31, 2009
By Peter Ray Blood
September 04, 2009 - guardian.co.tt
I agree with Len "Boogsie" Sharpe—"pan is dead." I also agree with the views expressed by Pan Trinbago secretary Richard Forteau and Silver Stars captain Edwin Pouchet. Some progress has been made in pan over the past two decades, but much too little by the actual umbrella body organisation. Although, under the stewardship of incumbent Pan Trinbago president Patrick Arnold and successive executives, the national instrument has made some strides in providing entertainment to the national community, a lot more should have been achieved during the past couple decades.
Like the WICB, Pan Trinbago seems bereft of new and innovative business, management and operational ideas. Most the new, innovative and attractive projects within the steelband movement have been initiated either by member bands or private entities, ie Eight of Hearts, T&T Pan Jazz Festival, Pan in the Hollows, Pan on de White Line, ComPANions Family Day, Parang & Steel, the various events by Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars, Sagicor Exodus, Caribbean Airlines Invaders, Angostura Woodbrook Playboyz and TCL Group Skiffle Bunch, Southern Marines' youth talent competition, and the recent successful Laventille Shall Rise Again.
With its general elections coming up, Pan Trinbago needs to realise that the business of pan and creating sustained lucrative and profitable revenues for the organisation and its members must be turned over to "pan people" with business, management and finance acumen. Gone are the days when, because you are a popular steelband captain or arranger, you'd be the best executive member or financial and management expert.
On a number of fronts, Pan Trinbago would get "F" grades if objectively appraised, including for its failure to secure and complete its headquarters in Trincity, the sod-turning ceremony for which took place almost a decade ago under the UNC administration. Security of tenure for lands in Chaguaramas is another long overdue issue.
The way forward
As far as major vistas for steelband competition go, the organisation has also failed, starting with its inability to sustain the staging of the biennial steelband music for senior and junior musicians and the World Steel Festival. Panorama, the world's premier steelband competition, is in shambles and has been reduced to a joke amongst serious people of music and promoters of major events. On this subject, I really wish the new Pan Trinbago executive would consider the following suggestions:
(i) A reversal of all the competition rules instituted in recent years. Only newly composed music should be performed in the competition. If Pan Trinbago wants to have bands play golden oldies, stage a Retro Panorama contest in August for Independence;
(ii) Remove the limit on the number of musicians that constitute a large conventional orchestra;
(iii) Select eight finalists for a "Premiership Championship" competition for orchestras fielding over 100 musicians, with bands given ten minutes of performance time, and 20 additional minutes allocated to setting up and making exit;
(iv) Begin National Panorama Premiership Championship at 7 pm, with a 15-minute intermission for judges to refresh themselves. Once properly managed, this final ought to take five hours, finishing with results at midnight;
(v) There should be absolutely no communication between judges and members of Pan Trinbago executive for the duration of the competition;
(vi) The adjudication panel must have no fewer than two foreign judges (musicians), who must be provided with original scores for Tunes of Choice not less than one week prior to final night competition;
(vii) Employ a production management team for the entire production.
I disagree with the selection of some of the recipients of national awards this year, as well as of the recent past years. I also agree with Jack Warner that there needs to be greater ethnic parity of recipients, and that Kamaluddin Mohammed should have been honoured many years ago. I also think it's long overdue that De Nu Pub (The Mas Camp), Arjeet Praimsingh, Nirmal "Massive" Gosein and the late Rudolph Charles should be given national awards for their contribution to culture—calypso, Indian arts and pan. Congratulations to veteran journalist Keith Smith on his Humming Bird (Silver) Award.
Planning life support for ailing pan administration
On receiving the Hummingbird Gold award on Independence Day, Len "Boogsie" Sharpe, ace pannist and the famous arranger for Phase II, declared that pan was dead, and laid the blame for its passing at the feet of Pan Trinbago. Was Sharpe being inappropriate? Perhaps. The occasion for celebration of national achievement was probably not the best place to excoriate the management of Pan Trinbago, but the real issue remains whether or not he was correct in his assessment. Dr Patrick Watson, an economist, pannist and pan enthusiast of the highest order, thinks so. In an interview with the Sunday Guardian, he called on Pan Trinbago to rethink its approach to management of the steelband in Trinidad and Tobago.
Arnold takes 'Boogsie' to task
Pan Trinbago president Patrick Arnold says it was "very unfortunate" that Humming Bird Medal (Gold) winner, Len "Boogsie" Sharpe behaved in an "inappropriate manner" at the end of Monday's Independence Awards ceremony at President's House.
Boogsie: Pan dead right now
Len Boogsie Sharpe, who received the Hummingbird Medal (Gold) for his contribution to the development of the steelpan in T&T. After expressing his gratitude to Prime Minister Patrick Manning and others for the award, Sharpe was critical of steelpan body Pan Trinbago. He said he was not satisfied about where the steelpan had reached. "Pan dead right now," he added. To which Arnold expressed support, saying, "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" He told Arnold he should not feel offended by his claim. "No, no, no, no; I agree with you," Arnold added. Sharpe then said there was need to make "a big change in pan." He said, "Steelpan is a business. We need businessmen to run our organisation." Again Arnold said, "You talking the right thing."
Steelpan is dead in T&T, says Boogsie
Moments after receiving a national award, panman Len "Boogsie" Sharpe yesterday called on president of Pan Trinbago Patrick Arnold to step down. Sandwiched between Arnold himself and Junior Culture Minister Junia Regrello, Sharpe told the media that the steelpan was dead in this country and only a person with business in their blood would be able to ensure its revival.
Hummingbird Gold for maestro Boogsie
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