Pan rules weekend
…but ‘freeness’ upsets prez
May 8, 2001
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PAN FANS had their fill last weekend, as six of the major entertainment events featured the national musical instrument, offering patrons choices from fine-dining to a regular street-jam.
Among the better attended pan events, two were free to the public, a fact that found its way into Pan Trinbago president Patrick Arnold’s address at the Northern Region awards function on Saturday evening.
But the entertainment weekend began shortly after sunrise Friday, with an on-air birthday breakfast party for comedienne Rachel Price at the St Vincent Street studios CT Vibe 105FM. The party was patronised largely by colleagues at the station. It also attracted scores of telephone calls, from persons wishing Price a happy day.
It was not until shortly before going off air at 9.15 am, after
cake-sticking procedures were executed and a sumptuous breakfast consumed by the live audience, did we discover that Price’s birthday had taken place on the day previous. That too was all in the fun.
At sunset, Pan Trinbago’s weekly Pan on the Park series continued in the yard of the organisation’s new Ariapita Avenue headquarters. Sporadic drizzles were not the only damper on the poorly-attended activity, which maintained a $20 admission, even though the widely advertised top-drawer act, Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove failed to show up.
Instead, we had Gary Straker’s Pan School who performed with excellence, although the band’s repertoire was deemed unsuitable by some, who were less than enthusiastic about the infusion of so much classical music at that kind of event. The other band, Spree Simon Harmonics, did little to alleviate the double disappointment.
Around the corner, on Longden Street, it was Rapso Night at D’Yard, home of Rituals Music. There we caught Brother Resistance and 3-Canal, both of whom were received warmly by the drizzle-defiant audience. Another left turn, onto Tragarete Road, offered a free street-jam near Picton Street, at the panyard of the glitzy Woodbrook Playboyz.
Saturday night presented a triple-header, with events at the Witco
Desperadoes and Silver Stars panyards and Pan on the Piazza at the Normandie Hotel.
It must have taken some doing to for Pan Trinbago’s Northern Region to have its awards function without pan music, but that is precisely what occurred at the Desperadoes panyard.
Other surprises at the event (like the absence of Despers officials to receive the band’s prizes and poor lighting as night fell) were managed as those problems arose.
What the function did achieve was formal recognition of the contributions of several pan personalities. Andrew “Pan” de la Bastide as one of the instrument’s ambassadors, Lincoln Noel for his excellence at pan tuning, Ursula Tudor as the longest playing female pannist in the world and Merle Albino-de Coteau and Jocelyn Pierre were awarded for their lifelong devotion to pan.
In his address, Patrick Arnold noted that bands had to be careful of giving away their performances, rather than packaging them for sale. “If we have skills and talent for sale, we must try to do business and not offer it as a free lunch at every opportunity,” he said.
Where he stood, there was a free bar for invited guests and indeed, the two other pan functions that night tested his theory form both ends. At the Silver Stars panyard, that activity reportedly suffered from a paying patronage far less than anticipated, whereas Exodus Steel Orchestra’s dinnertime concert at the Normandie was completely sold out at $130 per ticket.
The Exodus concert, part of the month-long Pan on the Piazza series presented by Normandie’s Vidalia Restaurant, not only presented the band in full flight, but offered supplemental keyboard work from musical director Pelham Goddard and special guest appearances by songstress Natalie Yorke and five-time national calypso monarch, Black Stalin.
On Sunday evening, at its Hamilton Street, Woodbrook panyard, Phase II band launched Steel Unity, a planned series of grouped performances to be aired monthly at various panyards.
Hundreds paid nothing to enjoy the music of TCL Group Skiffle Bunch, Exodus, the Witco Desperadoes, Woodbrook Playboyz and the host band, although many were upset by poorly organised bar services, which saw the facility running out of beverages on several occasions. Organisers later told the Daily Express their suppliers had dissuaded them from taking quantities originally requested.
It was not until shortly after midnight that Phase II performed its final tune, bringing down the curtain on what was one of pan’s best off-season opportunities so far this year, even if it didn’t rank as a commercial success all round.