It is time that we Caribbean people of African descent get to realise that the steel band movement is not just about music, but mainly the significance of a story dating back centuries ago, that has a spiritual linkage with our fore parents who passed on over these years and those of us that are alive today.
You see this story started with the drums on the plantation in different countries of the Western Hemisphere back in the 18th century, then in the 1920’s came the advent of the Bamboo-Tamboo in Trinidad followed by the steel band in the 1930’s, then it spread to the other islands in particularly Grenada.
So, let’s look at the steel band movement in Grenada: now unlike in the past when pan players were branded as people of low esteem, today we have people of all classes playing pan, and with the panorama noted as the pinnacle on the steel band calendar.
It is not bringing home the goodies because the players are complaining that they are not rewarded for the time and effort that are putting into this competition, and making matters worse there was no panorama for carnival 2017 because of a conflict with another show on the same night, leaving thousands of pan players and supporters in Limbo, especially finding a solution to this problem.
So, here I am with a suggestion. Now I am calling this “PANEXPORIA” where instead of having the bands rolling on stage to face the judges for 10 minutes, the alternative will be zoning the bands, where the judges will now have to visit each band in their respective booth.
If this is done then there wouldn’t be need for a stage. The day’s activity should begin at about 10:00 a.m. where you will have an introduction of drumming/dancing, storytelling, selling of Art & Craft.
Note, all these should be highlighted by the young members showcasing what they can do beside playing pan. The “Panorama” should begin at about 10.00 a.m. and run until 4.00 p.m. because I believe that pan music is most enjoyed in the daytime.
After panorama, there should be enough time for a block-o-rama type of session involving the audience until about 8:00 pm all in one making this a day of musical fun and frolic and lasting about 10 hours.
And also, please take note that this should be filmed to show in particular to our brothers and sisters in countries like Brazil that have the highest population of black people outside Africa, totaling about 80 million, followed by the U.S.A about 45 million and our Caribbean about 25 million.
I hope this information could be of use to whoever in an individual capacity, can influence this process, by getting others to join and make things work for the betterment of all of us.