There was one consistent name on the winners list of the 2020 International Pan Ramajay finals: Andre White. The US pannist won in the soloists, duos and quartets categories.
The International Pan Ramajay competition saw the winners of the three categories emerging from a country other than TT. The competition attracted regional and international pannists from Japan, US, St Maarten, Barbados, Denmark, Puerto Rico, Guyana, St Thomas, Antigua and Barbuda among others.
Pan Ramajay made a return to TT’s calendar after 16 years; though virtually. The Republic Bank Exodus hosted the event and plans to do so for at least another two years. White said to Newsday in WhatsApp responses that it feels good to win. He did not go into it to win “let alone to win in all three categories.”
His win was a surprise to him knowing the calibre of musicians that participated.
“It is definitely a great feeling and a great surprise,” he said.
For White, the competition brought out the best in a lot of good musicians. He began playing at six and is a full-time musician.
White is from Long Island, New York and his family is from TT. He spent a lot of time in TT and played with BP Renegades.
International Pan Ramajay ran from June 14-27 and was shown on the band’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. In the prelims, there were 47 soloists, 17 duos and 12 quartets. In the semi-finals, there were 20 soloists, ten duos and ten quartets. The finals saw ten soloists, five duos and five quartets compete for the top prizes. The two-hour long final was held on June 27 from 8 pm.
The International Pan Ramajay competition is a revamped version of the original Pan Ramajay competition that began in 1989. The original competition ran from 1989 to 2004 and was only open to nationals. However, this year’s online competition was opened up to the world.
The original competition was done to create a competition outside of Panorama and the Steelpan Music Festival but was stopped in 2004 because of insufficient funds.
Fernandes Vat19 Fonclaire and the Samaroo Jets jointly won the first Pan Ramajay.
The two hour long final had a viewership of 11,000 and got 2000 comments on Facebook.
Viewers again praised the band for the competition. One viewer said, “Very proud of organisers and participants.......respect! Congratulations!”
Another said, “All the contestants were prepared for the occasion,congrats goes out to all the contestants.”
The participants in each leg of the competition were judged on verse, chorus; melodic/motivic development; harmonic/rhythmic embellishment; dynamics; technicality; tonal quality and nuances. Musicians in all categories were also required to improvise.
Republic Bank Exodus’ band manager Ainsworth Mohammed said to Newsday while the competition had several challenges as it went along, those were quickly resolved.
“As you know during any kind of production of this magnitude, more so internationally, takes a lot of work.
“Nonetheless we were able to overcome all of the challenges because of the collaboration of all of the stakeholders. At the end of the day, we have found, even from the congratulatory comments and commendations that we got from people both locally and internationally, we would say it went exceedingly well.”
Going forward, International Pan Ramajay plans to increase the number of participating countries and the number of musicians. Next year it also plans to add a fourth category for ensembles not exceeding nine players.
While Mohammed understands the economic strain placed on Government and businesses alike because of the covid19 pandemic, he hopes the event can gain more financial support next year.
Here are the results of the International Pan Ramajay finals: -
Andre White - US
Khan Cordice - Antigua and Barbuda
Domenic Lewis - Barbados
Kareem Thompson - US
Keisha Codrington - TT
Kobie Alleyne - US
Khuent Rose - US
Mikhail Salcedo - TT
Eljhaie (LJ) Brathwaite - St Thomas
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
Sheldon Peters, Terrance BJ Marcelle,
Marlon White, Shivon Bourne - TT
Dejean Cain, Deja Cain,
Martin Cain, Shovon Brown - TT.