Pan Alive 2009: ah review of we steelbands


De ting din start on time but dais awright. When Greenwich Mean Time was setting de clock dey fugget to sen somebody to tell Caribbean people, so is not we fault.

People does want to boof me about de fack dat I en have no music degree an I cyah read music. An is troot. I only have a degree in Steupse. De judges at the recent Pan Alive have plenty degree more dan me an could tell you bout sharp, flat, minor, major, doh-ray-me an far-so-lah-tee. All I could tell you is if it song good to me or if it grater on meh nerve. But is people like me who does play pan an is people like me who does pay to come an hear pan. So I go take meh boof because nobody paying rent fuh meh mout.

Pan Masters start awf de proceedings. I fine all yuh gettin stronger every year. Tommy Critchlow, papa, you have a sweet hand to make a pan so I know it en have no second-rate pan in yuh ban. You does arrange a chune nice too but to compete in dis ting, you have to give yuh players more wuk to do in a chune. De ban have plenty potential to step up under yuh guidance – nuff respeck, compere.

Golden Harps International of Brampton. Dey announce de bomb chune get disqualify due to overplaying de time, so I suppose de tempo was awf or dey use a slow clock to time it when dey was practisin. Strong competition chune intro doh an dem quads was rattlin de ancestors an dey had a serious bass line underneat.

By de way, I was wondering, quite haphazard. Is it allow to bring people from away to compete in Caribana? I only akse because ah want to run dong de road quick an bring Brian MacFarlane to compete in King an Queen show nex year. I hope nobody doh mine.

Anyway, back to Pan Alive.

Hamilton Youth Steel Orchestra. What a sweet lil band! Young players right troo from pan to iron. Dress in cripsy white shirt, black pants, one glove an a stingy-brim hat to honour Michael Jackson. Nice presentation an you look like you was well enjoying yuhself. Plenty energy.

Metrotones. All yuh play too slowy slowy. You wasn playing to win. You need to come wid more dan dat. You have de potential an been in de ting long enough to be able to exante yuhself.

Panatics. All yuh was tight, all-doh in de middle of de arrangement you drevay a lil too much an lorse de chune fuh a few bars. Ah too love de outro, doh.

Jessie Ketchum was lil muddle up. Sopranos lorse dey way once or twice an wasn in time wid each udda. Doh fugget eh, even if is 20 pans in each range, it have to song like one note each an ah din get dat from all yuh. Yuh bass line was strong, doh.

St. Jamestown, a nex nice lil yout band but out of dere league in between de heavy hitters. It would be nice to encourage de chirren by letting dem compete in anudda category radda dan havin dem between band who been playing since Adam was in short pants. Yuh not encouraging dem by making dem come las all de time.

New Dimension. Oh goode! Take win! Yuh play strong, yuh play well, de ban had energy an presence. De chune was clean, nuff bass line because ah fine steelban bass line does get lorse in a arrangement while sopranos does overlord it. It had a sweet call/answer section in de chune too an ah love dat too bad. Pans song fresh an blended. Nice man!

Symphonix play a good jam chune but not competition style. De tenors get lorse in de chune as if dey wasn sure.

Salah Steel Orchestra play very well. Arrangement was tight, some serious tenor runs in dey to sweeten up de ting. Nice intro an strong outro. Salah drop a borse break in de chune an mash up de kazbah right dey. Yuh lose a lil momentum in de pianissimo part of de chune doh but ketch yuhself well. Second pans had plenty wuk, papa! I was please an to me it was a close shout between you an New D.

AfroPan. Strong intro, but get lil sluggish after. Heavy bass line which all yuh is known for an I happy wid a bass. Ah couldn hear de second pans enough, doh. De outro cudda be tigher. All yuh look good but I expected more.

Pan Fantasy, what happen? Where de jam session? Not everybody had de energy dis time. Arrangement was missing de usual kick ah does always hear. Strong firse pans, doh. All yuh is a ban ah does favour fuh yuh ramazhay but someting wasn right dat night.

Silhouettes. Dat was a borse intro running up two tree octaves dey, lawd…nice. But yuh fall apart after, doh. People wasn moving nidda. It look like a concert, not a panorama. Dem tree tenors in front carry all de energy an was enjoying deyself but some of de people inside look weary. De tenor centerpiece was a lil too repetitive. Yuh cudda come better.

Pan Fantasy and Afro tie fuh tird place. Steupse. All yuh stop de tie tie foolishness nuh man? Work out some different way to give marks or someting else nuh? Shims. Yuh ever see two president tie fuh de White House?

De onlyest ting ah would akse de youngsters is for all yuh not to BEAT a pan…play it. Let yuh sticks drop radda dan pong it on de pan. Let de energy come from yuh wriss an fingers not yuh shoulders – expressly on de sopranos and tenors. Leave de ponging for de bass. Dem have more rubber on de stick an a wider area to reach so dem have to use de shoulders but, sopranos, ease up lil bit. When yuh pong a pan it does song hollow an make a discord.

Ah not done yet. Ah still have a boof in meh mout. Ah comin troo in de lass verse soon.


Copyright August 2009

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