MANY of the people who viewed the International Pan Ramajay semi-finals enjoyed what they saw and heard. The competition returned, virtually, to TT’s calendar after a 16-year hiatus. It was also one of many events hosted online by the pan fraternity in the wake of the covid19 pandemic.
The competition runs June 14-27 and the semi-finals were shown on the Republic Bank Exodus’ Facebook page and YouTube channel on June 20-22. From the semi-finalists, ten soloists, five duos and five quartets have moved on to the finals. The two-hour long finals will be held on June 27 from 8 pm.
Republic Bank Exodus’ manager Ainsworth Mohammed said in a phone interview with Newsday that the organisers were very encouraged by people’s response to the online competition.
“We are just looking forward and working hard now on making the finals a very special event,” Mohammed said.
The competition attracted regional and international pannists from Japan, US, St Maarten, Barbados, Denmark, Puerto Rico, Guyana, St Thomas, Antigua and Barbuda among others.
Mohammed described the wide participation of regional and international pannists as being “extremely encouraging.”
“Our engines are fuelled by that and it is a huge compliment to all of the musicians that took part because they are the ones that actually made the show...the musicians are the most important part of this thing,” he added.
The finals results are expected to be announced on June 27.
Mohammed asked TT, the region and the world to “view and let us have your comments which will guide us in improving the project in future years.”
There were 20 soloists, ten duos and ten quartets in the semi-finals.
In the soloists category, Antigua and Barbuda’s Khan Cordice topped the list playing Masquerade. He got 370 points. Cordice, Andre White (US) and Kareem Thompson (US) were the top three in the soloists category.
Some people viewing the soloists semi-final praised the organisers. One viewer said, “Lots of talented musicians. Congrats to Exodus and the performers.”
Another said, “I sure enjoyed the semi finals; the audio was great. Good luck to all of the finalists. Too much free pan, make the finals a pay per view. San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello also viewed the soloists semi-final saying in the comments section, “Enjoying this, especially as it is music of my age.” Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and Michael Jackson’s Rock With You were some of the songs played.
The soloists semi-final drew a viewership of over 4,000 people.
In the duos semi-final, Andre White and Tristan Japsi of the US topped the performances among the five pannists who made it to the finals. The duo played Bridge Over Troubled Water which got them 354 points. Similarly, the US quartet of White, Thompson, Khuent Rose and Iman Pascall also topped the quartet semi-final with Bridge Over Troubled Water which got them 356 points.
The viewership in the duos category was over 2,000 while in the quartet it was 3,000.
In both the duos and quartets semi-finals the viewers praised the organisers. One viewer said in the quartet semi-final, “Loving how the women in pan are well represented in the quartets. Pan Ramajay 2020.”
At the start of the competition on June 14, there were 47 soloists, 17 duos and 12 quartets in the preliminaries. From the prelims, 20 soloists, ten duos and ten quartets moved on to the semi-finals. The songs played were selected by the organisers.
For each category, soloists and duos submitted one video, quartets did two, and the duos and quartets recorded together.
Pan Ramajay began in 1989 and was done to create a competition outside of Panorama and the Steelpan Music Festival. It stopped in 2004 because there was insufficient funds to host it properly, Mohammed said in a June 12 Newsday article.
Fernandes Vat19 Fonclaire and the Samaroo Jets jointly won the first Pan Ramajay.
The growth of online events in the wake of the covid19 pandemic encouraged the management to host the event again, the article said. The Pan Ramajay was open to pan musicians internationally, regardless of time zone/country and designed to feature soloists, duos and quartets using any pan instrument. Pannists were required to register via e-mail by June 3 by 6 pm. Registration was free and pannists had the option to enter any or all categories.
The participants were judged on verse, chorus; melodic/motivic development; harmonic/rhythmic embellishment; dynamics; technicality; tonal quality and nuances and musicians in all categories were required to improvise.
The winning soloist will receive US$2,000, second place US$1,500 and third place US$1,000.
The duo and quartet winners will receive US$3,000, US$2,000 and US$1,000, respectively.
Prof Liam Teague, Prof Ron Reid, Dr Eugene Novotney and adjunct professor Victor Provost are the competition’s adjudicators.
Here are the finalists in each category: -
Khan Cordice – Antigua and Barbuda
Andre White – US
Kareem Thompson –- US
Domenic Lewis – Barbados
Khuent Rose – US
Keisha Codrington – TT
Eljhaie (LJ) Brathwaite – St Thomas
Mikhail Salcedo – TT
Kobie Alleyne – US
Maico Miyamoto – Japan
Andre White, Tristan Japsi – US
Kareem Thompson, DoMoJOAT – US
Cary Codrington, Keisha Codrington – TT
Khuent Rose, Jahlani Roberts – US
Dejean Cain, Deja Cain – TT
Andre White, Kareem Thompson,
Khuent Rose, Iman Pascall – US
Cary Codrington. Keisha Codrington,
Khari Codrington, Kaijah Codrington – TT
Tristan Japsi, Kendall Williams,
Marc Brooks, Edward Clarke – US
Dejean Cain, Deja Cain,
Martin Cain, Shovon Brown – TT
Sheldon Peters, Terrance BJ Marcelle,
Marlon White, Shivon Bourne – TT