National instrument or bastard child?

THE EDITOR: Carifesta XIV in here in TT, the land of calypso and the steel pan. We boast that pan is the national instrument of TT and the only musical instrument invention of the twentieth century. Yet in Carifesta 2019, pan yet again finds itself sidelined and treated with disdain.

From the limited information provided I have opined that those in charge have not seen it fit to give pan its due place in our wide array of music and sounds.

I believe the organisers thought the inclusion of the Laventille Road celebration and Dane Gulston, one of our greatest pan aficionados, and Johann Chuckaree as performers was sufficient. A patronising act, you think?

Trinidadians like to spout “pan is ours” but never gives the instrument its just due. Pan is found in schools and universities globally, but in TT it appears to be “by the way.”

Recently pan music was included in the Toronto Raptors basketball team’s victory celebrations in Canada, but at home in Carifesta XIV, pan has been relegated to Dust in the Road.

I’m certain the “Big 6” would have welcomed an opportunity to perform sweet scintillating music to the thousands of visitors anticipated, with music of the likes of Bach, calypsoes, pop, jazz, soul, etc.

Just imagine Trinidad All Stars performing Curry Tabanca, Woman on the Base and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture; Desperadoes playing Pan Night and Day, and BP Renegades, Hooking Meh. What a lost opportunity!

All countries showcase and emphasise their music when they host Carifesta, so what went awry in TT? Cultural aficionados actually sat down in air conditioned rooms and made the decision to limit pan music?

Panmen deserve more respect in the Carifesta celebrations and by extension in TT. Will there be pan music to welcome participants and guests at Piarco International Airport? Will there be community pans sides at the various community activities. Each country has a country night, was pan music included in TT’s country night? (Limited information has been provided.)

I observed the Carifesta symposium, Journey Round Myself, at UWI, St Augustine, includes soca music, jazz, dance, drama, literature, visual and folk arts. All well and good, but again pan is excluded.

No one thought it wise with all the Caribbean peoples assembled in one space that information regarding pan would have been beneficial to all?

Really, Trinidadians take pan for granted, while globally it is given full appreciation and recognition. When will we get it right in TT regarding pan?


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"National instrument or bastard child?"

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