WEY PAN REACH?
Arranger Duvone Stewart
With Pan Month done and dusted during the month of August, many a pan aficionado is asking "what's next for our yet to be proclaimed national instrument?" While most of the local pan fraternity is scratching its head on whether there will be a Panorama 2022, a few progressive pannists are actually doing positive things for the instrument as 2021 winds down.
Having successfully produced Pan Chronicles on Facebook for the past 18 months, acclaimed bp Renegades arranger Duvone Stewart resumes the series on Sunday, September 12, at 5 p.m. Challenged by the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, Duvone moved to San Francisco, USA, and has been earning his livelihood there. Duvone is one of several pannists who are hurting over several issues concerning pan in Trinidad & Tobago. He said that not enough is being done to support, promote, market and propagate the instrument at home and internationally.
"Imagine that there isn't one billboard anywhere in T&T that advertises or promotes pan or pannists," said Duvone. After 59 years of Independence, we are still struggling and begging for 50 percent air play for local music on the radio. "If pan is the national instrument, why must children in primary and secondary school have to learn the recorder rather be taught how to play pan?" Another concern is that pannists and creatives have not been able to earn an income for almost two years. In the US, Duvone has been doing performances and hosting pan-playing clinics throughout the west coast.
Pannist Nevin Roach
Another pannist doing wonderful things for the "national instrument" is Barbados-based Nevin Roach. Earlier this year, Roach's PanoGrama Entertainment (PE) company hosted the very successful PanoGrama steelpan solo competition, won by Keishaun Julien. The event attracted 45,000 views.
Student intern from PanoGrama Dana Malcolm
Moving forward, PE has launched a new website with a fresh look and more content, and most notably, has continued its work with youth in the area of journalism. PE has established a professional relationship with UWI Carimac and Jamaican Dana Malcolm was the first student to intern with PanoGrama Entertainment. Also keeping pan alive and the red, white and black proudly flying is Robert Greenidge, past double National Panorama champion arranger for Desperadoes Steel Orchestra. For yet another year, Robert is in the frontline of iconic U.S. musician Jimmy Buffett's orchestra as the band commenced its new season season of concert touring across North America.
Pan might dormant in its homeland because of Covid-19 but it is being kept very much alive regionally, in the USA and further afield by ambassadors like Duvone Stewart, Nevin Roach and Robert Greenidge.