One of my biggest disagreements with pan people , is based on different perceptions of the art-form , and its role in culture and society.
From the beginning , some has seen the steel-pan and everything related to it , including the players, as commodities to be developed, with the idea of exporting them to foreign lands for international recognition and revenue.
As a result , bands routinely went abroad , sometimes never to return.
Meanwhile , we’ve been busy trying to export the technology worldwide , to places like Africa , for example.
There may be some merit to this approach , but I prefer a different model.
My idea would be to make Trinidad the true Mecca of the Steelpan.
Carnival Steel-band parade on Frederick Street in Port of Spain in 1956
We should be encouraging visitors and tourists to T&T , to enjoy and participate in a unique steel-band experience.
Pans made and tuned in Trinidad should set the standard worldwide , and a “Made in Trinidad’ stamp on a pan should guarantee excellence , like the Stradivarius label on a violin.
As regards to the carnival , this time should best be exploited to promote and advertise the Steelband , and I still think that the best time and place for highest visibility would be on the streets , not in the savannah.
A costumed steelband parade held on Carnival Monday for instance could be videotaped and streamed to the world, as a demonstration of the steelband in its traditional role, that of providing music for Trinidad’s carnival parade.
Competitions like Panorama and Music festivals should be internationalized , with victories in these competitions establishing bands with international credibility as the best in the world.
International Panorama Champions (2015) Trinidad All Stars – “Curry Tabanka”
Trinidad is the one place on the planet capable of having the biggest steelband festivals in the world , with the most large , high quality steel-bands to be found anywhere.
We should take advantage of this by making Trinidad the true Mecca of pan , where visitors would be guaranteed the best, most unique Steel-band experience on this planet.
And also be able to purchase an original ,quality “Made in Trinidad ” pan to take home!