Pushing the pan forward

File photo: Hadco Phase II Pan Groove leader and musical director Len
File photo: Hadco Phase II Pan Groove leader and musical director Len "Boogsie" Sharpe, centre, and band members practise at the panyard in Woodbrook on October 2, 2021. The band had planned to have a safe-zone show before the plans for Carnival events were announced on January 19. PHOTO BY SUREASH CHOLAI

THE EDITOR: There are many seniors who remember the days of “pushing pan” on the streets at Carnival, a practice that still prevails. Many people crave that experience, especially those who have ties to a particular steelband.

So successful were the pan makers, the tuners, pannists and the pan pushers that the sweet sound of pan, invented in TT and expertly crafted and played by home-grown musicians, has permeated the international airwaves.

Thanks to people like Anthony Williams, Ellie Mannette and Neville Jules (and others), pan has been transformed from crude tin drums to sophisticated musical instruments that have mastered all genres of music.

The late Mannette and Liam Teague, sons of the soil, both became university professors in the US. Their musical careers flourished via pan, the only definite pitch acoustic percussion musical instrument invented in the 20th century.

When the word “national” is used to describe the pan it fosters a historic sense of ownership, pride, patriotism, community, respect and identity. Unfortunately, research has shown that successive governments have failed to officially recognise pan, via parliamentary proclamation, as our national musical instrument.

Covid19 has put a damper on Carnival 2022. It has however created an opportunity for the powers that be to push pan forward by rectifying an anomaly in its description that has existed since 1992 when the late PM Patrick Manning declared pan our national instrument.

To date pan has not been proclaimed as such. Had it been, its national and international status would have been elevated to that of all our other national emblems.


Petit Valley


"Pushing the pan forward"

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