Peck Edwards: Pan is Alive and Well

Nine steel bands will be participating in the National Panorama Competition that takes place Tomorrow night (Saturday).

David "Peck" Edwards – has once again raised concerns about shows that are allowed to compete with national events

David “Peck” Edwards – has once again raised concerns about shows that are allowed to compete with national events

The city band, Coyaba New Dimensions which created history last year when it tied with Lime Commancheros Steel Orchestra of St. Paul’s, will be the first on stage.

The band which has won the panorama competition on 11 occasions will be playing a composition that was done by its leader David “Peck” Edwards called, “Can’t Ease Up.”

Commancheros, appearing in position number eight in the competition will be playing one of the wining compositions of 2014 in the Dimanche Gras final by King Ajamu called “Tune In Dey Rukung Ku Tun Tun.”

Pan Ossia which is one of three bands coming from St. John’s will play in position number two a song paying tribute to late radio personality, Anthony “Jericho” Greenidge who died in 2012.

The song is based on one of Greenidge’s favourite quote during his programmes, “Table Knock” which was composed by Calypsonian Quako who is based in New York.

Another band from St. John’s, Grand Roy Pan Angels is the third band to grace the stage with a composition called “Country Band” that was composed by Sherene who is a member of the band.

Pan Lovers Steel Orchestra which comes from the south of the island is the fourth band to appear in the competition playing “The Cock” that was composed by Robert Julien.

Republic Bank Angel Harps which has won the competition 12 times will appear in position no.5.

Like Commancheros, The Carenage, St. George’s based steel band which is celebrating 50 years in existence this year will be playing King Ajamu’s composition, “Tune In Dey Rukung Ku Tun Tun.”

Rainbow City All-Stars Steel Orchestra which is based in Grenville, St. Andrew’s is next in line to grace the stage in position number six with a presentation of “Mas’er” that is composed by Black Wizard.

Back in competition this year is the River Road, St. George’s band known as Suzuki Pan Wizards which will appear in the seventh position.

The band will be doing, “I Want To See” which was originally done by Darkie and sung over by Keturah George.

The final band to grace the stage is Digicel Florida All-Stars Steel Orchestra playing “We Carnival” that is composed by King Ajamu.

Panorama is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. and each band is to play for a maximum of ten minutes.

The steel bands will be judged on introduction, performance, melodic development, rhythm, and tonal quality.

Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Grenada Steel Band Association David “Peck” Edwards told The New Today Newspaper the mere fact that there are nine bands competing in this year’s competition shows that “pan is alive and well.”

However, Edwards said the support that is given to pan by the general public along with the respect and appreciation needs much to be desired.

A sour taste in the mouth of the steel bands PRO is the annual competing shows which are not organised by Spicemas Corporation (SMC) that clash with panorama.

This is obvious reference to White in the Moonlight, orgnaised by New York-based Grenadian, Nimrod Ollivierre and also Pure White involving an outfit controlled by Diego Peters, the owner of Moonlight City at La Potrie.

As regards the continued existence of pan in Grenada, Edwards indicated that through the Ministry of Culture where he is employed as a Cultural Officer, there is a school programme teaching the students music at schools including the art of playing the steel pan.

He said on the main night when the skills of the young people who make up a significant portion of the members of the steel bands are to be showcased “two major shows are happening” featuring foreign Artistes which he dscribed as a travesty.

According to Edwards, there seems to be some loophole in the legislation governing SMC which allows private promoters to have shows during the Carnival Season and when national events are taking place.

He said recommendations have been made to get the Office of the Attorney General to address that abnormality.

He felt that with government being the main sponsor of Carnival, private individuals should not have shows on the same night that are competing directly with national events.

“In the absence of legislation, government should have a policy which would ensure that that happens,” he added.

The steel bands PRO also accused patrons to those shows of encouraging the activities that involve foreign Artistes.

He said  that “given the culture of our people, we seem to gravitate to things that come from outside much more than our own.”

Sponsorship for the 2015 panorama competition will come from the Grenada National Lotteries Authority with the wining band walking away with $48,000.

However, Edwards said the first prize payment does not cover the investment that is put into the preparation for the show by the bands.

“It is just a labour of love because when you check the amount of sacrifices, the amount of money that is invested, the amount of time and energy, forty-eight thousand dollars is really a meagre sum,” he remarked.

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