Pan in a major minor

BC Pires
BC Pires


PAN IN THE Savannah Sunday – which Y’Boy know is really “semis” nowadays but which Y’Boy, becaw he in this pan thing long-long-long, doesn’t can think about excepting as “prelims” – and Y’Boy walking by he one on the Savannah pitch-walk opposite the US Sex Worker-Briber-in-Chief Embassy, right there by the Sagicor building, which part it had, on the wall behind the main steps, that dynamic work of art what Trinis did call “the Minshall Muriel.”

And, all on a sudden, jus’ so, Y’Boy stop dead in he tracks.

From quite-oh, quite-oh, quite by the entrance to Savannah Track by Memorial Park, for the first time in donkey years, Y’Boy could hear the sound of pan.

You ever hear ’bout “spirit lash?”

Y’Boy stand up there on the pitch-walk like a chupidee, begging for mercy, for a half-minute or so.

Clear-clear, like the moon over Laventy.

The sound of steel pan.

In Port of Spain.

On Panorama Prelims (a’right, a’right, Semis) Night.

You doesn’t can hear pan again, in these here times, whereby not even Andre Tanker would say they was “steelband.”

Not with 10,000 DJs blasting computer-generated, riddim-based, autotunes-vocals, next-to-wutless soca, which it take ten soca “song” to squeeze out half of one melody.

To hear pan in Trinidad, Y’Boy know you have is to go in the panyards.

But, anytime, every time, no matter how many times he go to a panyard, Y’Boy does marvel at this minor miracle: that you could walk in, freeco-dry so, from a arbitrary street and into an open-air theatre filled with the sound of the only new acoustic instrument Y’Boy ever hear ’bout in the last century. And tilt your head up to the sky and hear this heavenly music.

Y’Boy never went nowhere in the whole firetrucking world where you could pay plenty money to get ah experience like that. Not the Rolling Stones, not the Grateful Dead, not Bruce Springsteen, in full concert, with light shows design to blow the mind and everything calculate by algorithm to enhance experience, nothing-nothing-nothing could touch the exhilaration of the North Stand or the Track at Panorama. Y’Boy is a Boogsie Sharpe/Phase II man, but that don’t mean his heart don’t race when he hear a Robbie Greenidge or a Jit Samaroo or a Andy Narell run.

Is not today Y’Boy listening to all kind of music critically. Y’Boy talking from his informed mind and his open heart and his freed soul – not out his bottom, like the majority of Trini “commentators.” Y’Boy done know that this is complex music that could stand, shoulder-to-shoulder, note-for-note, down the ages, right next to – or even above – Mozart and Beethoven and the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis.

And, in the panyard, we does get it for free, anytime we wants it.

You doesn’t even have to buy a Despers joe-sey; in fact, you expects to get that and all for nothing, just becaw is you.

And becaw is we.

And Y’Boy remember how many times Lloyd Best throw the mother-of-pearls of wisdom before the swines and the philistines who does decide everything for all o’ we, don’t mind they can’t dress they-self, all man Jack in they mental straitjacket-and-tie.

Is how many times Lloyd tell them: is not pan in schools, you fools.

Is schools in pan.

Daiz it, right there.

All that is good about us is contained in pan and in the panyard, where it have space for everybody, from the ragamuffin who make it to the CEO who sell it – once the money supports the pan, once the money-men put the panmen in front.

Y’Boy stand up there, on the pitch-walk, with he back to Trump’s hateful Coward New World, whereby you have to have a bobolee to beat, and hate worth more than love.

And Y’Boy thank the God he doesn’t believe in for this little apogee, this fleeting second to know how great we are.

And then Y’Boy walk on to Panorama.

Knowing footy well that is a thousand gallery-ists will push Phase II pans – or Renegades, or Exodus, or All Stars – on to the Savannah stage.

And then 994 of them will vanish like a politician who get elect.

And is the same half-dozen people every year does push the pans off.

BC Pires is in the engine room, outing fires


"Pan in a major minor"

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