Pan Trinbago's attempt to bar Republic Bank Exodus Steel Orchestra from changing its Panorama song was "anti-competition", senior counsel Martin Daly said on Friday, as he and pan lovers got their first taste of the band's arrangement of Savannah Grass after dropping Rag Storm, the song which took them to the finals.
"This should never have reached so far, it is wrong to exercise discretion against a change of song. That is anti-competition, the change of song fosters competition and shows that bands are brave enough to take the risk to change their song,” Daly told Sunday Newsday.
The pan enthusiast was at the Exodus panyard, St Augustine, where the band debuted Savannah Grass, by Kes the Band, just about one hour after winning their court case against Pan Trinbago.
Exodus had filed a pre-action protocol letter after Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore and the executive determined Exodus could not change its song, which it announced it was doing last Tuesday, following its ninth placing in the semifinals. There are no rules on the change of song but the executive said it was exercising its discretion. An attempt at conciliatory talks did not happen on Friday and the band applied to the court for an injunction against Pan Trinbago and Justice Kevin Ramcharan ruled in favour of Exodus.
Daly, a pan enthusiast, told Sunday Newsday said he had been approached by the band and Pan Trinbago to plead their cases.
“I declined, not wanting to be a part of anything that might turn into bacchanal," he said. "In a year when one song has been dominating Panorama (Farmer Nappy's Hooking Meh), one band chose to change their song for the final...For so long we have been saying Panorama is killing pan because all bands only concentrate on one song. Now that a band is willing to make the bold move to change their song, the matter ends up in court."
The panyard was crowded with supporters along with the sponsor's clients who were enjoying a corporate evening with bank management.
News of the court victory came to the panyard about 9.30 pm and the Exodus players erupted into merriment. When the band performed they played Superblue’s Rag Storm. They also played about four minutes of Savannah Grass to the delight of the audience most of whom were singing the chorus and cheered lustily when the band was finished. However, it caught some off guard with the abrupt ending.
Music director Leon Foster-Thomas said the arrangement would be done in time for Saturday's finals at Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
“The players are very confident, they all agreed to the change of song and are working very hard at getting the new song finished,” Thomas told Sunday Newsday. This is Foster-Thomas’ first year with Exodus but he is not allowing the distraction to take away from the music which the band has to put out. He is upbeat and ready to continue his mission of putting Exodus at the top of the Panorama listing.
Arranger Pelham Goddard said the song will be finished by Tuesday. “We will be practising whole day today (Sunday) and Monday," he said.
Manager Ainsworth Mohammed, who spent most of Friday in court, was elated but said the matter did not have to reach so far. Even while the function was in progress in the panyard, he was in court. When Mohammed eventually arrived, he was greeted warmly by almost everyone with hugs and handshakes.