Making T&T the true Mecca for the steel pan and its art-form

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!

2 thoughts on “Making T&T the true Mecca for the steel pan and its art-form

  1. Brilliant ideas, Mr Joseph. I believe that there’s a need for the establishment of a Carnival Academy focussing on training youngsters in, (1) the skills involved in producing Carnival Costumes, from designing to construction, (2) all aspects of Steelband development, covering areas like Metallurgy and Pan-tuning to playing and arranging music, and (3) more advanced classes covering Marketing, Business Management, Accounting, etc.


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