Welcoming Ellie Mannette Home

Ellie and Boogsie

WORLD-RENOWNED pannist Elliot “Ellie” Mannette is hugged by pannist Len “Boogsie” Sharpe at Piarco International Airport yesterday. It is Mannette’s first visit home in 33 years. He will be an honoured guest at tonight’s final of the World Steelband Music Festival at the Jean Pierre Complex.

Title up for grabs tonight

October 21, 2000

AN overwhelming feeling of kinship pervades the panyards as the best eight steel orchestras from the World Steelband Music Festival prepare for tonight's grand final, which takes place at the Jean Pierre Complex in Port of Spain.

At street level, there is an undercurrent of anxiety dominating much of the conversation about tonight’s final.

With strong signals having come from the visiting bands, three of which will play tonight, local pan aficionados are not as comfortable as before.

While locals tend to agree that the festival has been an overall uplifting pan experience, there is still the deep-seated feeling that, were a foreign orchestra to win, the land in which pan was born will have lost some prestige.

The bandleaders are, however, thinking quite differently.

Junia Regrello, captain of the frontrunner, TCL Group Skiffle Bunch, said yesterday: “We feel that we are representing Trinidad and Tobago in the first instance, because this is an international competition. We are excited at the prospect of winning, but whatever happens, we feel good to have been part of it.

Junia Regrello


“I would like to publicly congratulate Pan Trinbago for the effort involved in staging this festival,” Regrello said. “It is public knowledge that I have had some problems with the organisation, but the mere fact that this festival came off is worthy of congratulation.

“I feel that every pan lover should be there tonight to witness this event.

“The only complaint that people should have after the final is that they could not get tickets for the stands,” Regrello said.

Ainsworth Mohammed, whose band Exodus has so far suffered the biggest reversal, said: “We are now placed in the outside lane, which is where most come from behind. We expect to reverse the results that placed us so low in the standings and we believe we have the ability to do so.

“But that apart, the festival project is so significant that who wins is no longer the major issue. It is always nice to win and we are coming out to do that, but from the point of view of what it has done, whoever comes out victorious already had the prestige of being part of this historic occasion.”

The band that has to date provided the festival with its major surprise, Switzerland’s Panch 2000, shares the sentiments of Mohammed and Regrello.



Panch musical director Yaira Yonne said yesterday: “We did not feel so lucky like we did in the first round, but we are more happy to be here. We are looking forward to doing our very best music and I think the band is in a good mood and quite strong.

“But we really enjoyed the competition, not as a fight, but something we learned to like because it did so much for everyone and for this beautiful instrument,” Yonne said.

Liam Teague


Apart from Panch, three other foreign bands are in tonight’s final—Britain’s Ebony, led by Trinidad-born Pepe Francis, Sweden’s Steel Pan Lovers, and the Northern Illinois Uni-versity Steel Orchestra, for which local virtuoso Liam Teague plays.

In addition to the pan playoffs, visiting pan pioneer and innovator, Ellie Mannette, will receive an award from Pan Trinbago for a lifetime dedicated to research and development of the instrument.

Showtime is 8 p.m.

Order of appearance:

1. Northern Illinois University (USA)

2. Defence Force Steel Orchestra (T&T)

3. Ebony Steelband (UK)

4. Panch 2000 (Switzerland)

5. Steel Pan Lovers (Sweden)

6. TCL Group Skiffle Bunch (T&T)

7. BWIA Invaders (T&T)

8. Exodus (T&T)


Terry-J at I-Level

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