Pan music has always said to me “let me love you” and I have responded “I will love you for a thousand years”.
Last Sunday, in the Savannah, the melodic single pan bands performing in Pan Down Memory Lane category preceded Pan in the 21st Century and lyrics like those quoted above wrapped pan followers in a night-long musical embrace.
Sadly though, Pan Trinbago stubbornly returned to putting on shows that are too long, especially in this climate of fear of being on the road at a late hour and of the ever present threat of banditry.
A number of patrons did not remain and missed the zenith of the superlative, bonding musical experience that I describe below. That is regrettable and deprives patrons of the full value of supporting pan.
Shortly before midnight, adjacent to the musical rampart, that is the Savannah stage, the last three bands were assembled and ready to roll up in turn onto that rampart for the culmination of the Pan in the 21st Century category. Those three orchestras—embodiment of hard work, discipline and innate gift of all participants—were ultimately judged to be the best of the night.
First came Katzenjammers, Band No 10. They wooed the crowd with ‘A thousand years’ the Christie Perry song.
Next came Supernovas, Band No 11. It was they who lobbed the ‘Grenade’, Bruno Mars’ lament that, although he knew it was trouble from the first kiss, he went for the trouble “willing to catch a grenade” for her.
When Supernovas were finished their performance the Grandstand rose to its feet, but sat back down because Band No 12, Couva Joylanders, had tied with Katzenjammers for first place in the preliminary round with ‘Let Me Love You’ by Mario.
These three bands fortuitously formed a grand finale. At the end of the preliminary round, Supernovas had been in fourth place, a mere three points behind. The Mars’ Grenade, lobbed into Sunday’s final, thrust Supernovas into first position. Katzenjammers and Joylanders were second and third respectively.
It was Monday morning by then. I left on a high on music from which, despite sleep, I could not come down until later day—after I played back what I could find of that same music on the electronic media and soothed my withdrawal with a long draught of Aldwin Albino on piano, which included Sniper’s ‘Portrait of Trinidad’.
Remember when, in the words of Sniper, we could chorus: “my people are daily making progress without any form of stupidness. And in this way we gain much success. For when we moving as one body, we all move as one body, no bickering between you and me, for our policy stand for racial equality.”
That’s when we were a better place. However, take heart. Pan genius and pan music is standing tall above the stupidness.
The presence of younger arrangers and drill masters was significant. Generations of youth are succeeding and walking well and will keep pan high above the ashes that the stupidness is making of their contemporaries and much else.
In these terrifying times, the indifference of our rulers to the murdered dead requires sterner words than “stupidness”. For the rulers, every death, catastrophe or bunch of school children traumatised by gunshots in the proximity of the school is only an occasion for trivialisation by public relations words, promises of walls and guards, as well as insulting rebukes and profiling of parents who are doing their best in the midst of punishing socio-economic conditions.
Pan was born from and maintained despite the daily struggle against those conditions, which insufficiently disturb the consciences of successive uncaring leaderships, their satellites and financiers.
Readers can take heart in the musical accomplishments of the succeeding generations of youth, even though the constant interruptions in the Pan-In-Schools programme is a shameful demonstration of the lack of care.
There are many youthful lives to be saved through the harnessing of the pan community’s artistic gifts, discipline and dedication. No recruitment of celebrities is required in order to join in support of the panyard model.
Notably, I observed on the Internet that the motto of Couva Joylanders is: “Our discipline determines our future”.