Pan Trinbago’s Musical Showdown thrills, draws big crowd

Carib Skiffle Steel Orchestra gives its all. - ROGER JACOB
Carib Skiffle Steel Orchestra gives its all. - ROGER JACOB

Pan Trinbago’s president Beverley Ramsey-Moore was “ecstatic” at Saturday’s Musical Showdown in De Big Yard, the pan event held during the Taste of Carnival.

For Ramsey-Moore, the pan community truly showed up and showed out with its support for the scaled down Carnival event and for the chance to play after two years of no Panorama because of the covid19 pandemic.

The showcase event at the Queen’s Park Savannah, along with its earlier Pan in De Sancoche, replaced the annual Panorama.

BP Renegades was on fire at the Musical Showdown in D Big Yard at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Saturday. - ROGER JACOB

Ramsey-Moore, along with Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randal Mitchell and National Carnival Commission (NCC) chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters, said the event ran smoothly.

There was a heavy police and security presence to ensure adherence to covid19 protocols and guidelines.

“I am lost for words,” Ramsey-Moore said to Newsday. “Ecstatic is the best way I can describe this feeling. The steelband movement – the community rose to the occasion despite the shortness of time to prepare.

“If you would have noticed, we would have given the bomb tune, the classical and calypso-style and the Panorama-arranged tune, so the mixture of the various genres…wow. That is all I can say.”

At the start of the event, more people took to the Grand Stand as opposed to the North Park where the pods are. Ramsey-Moore said this was because of the rain. And with the yellow alert issued by the Met Office earlier, some people returned their pod tickets for Grand Stand tickets. However, players were allowed to occupy the pods after their performance.

Republic Bank Exodus players bring their "A" game. - ROGER JACOB

Mitchell referenced Denyse Plummer’s 1988 hit Woman is Boss, saying Ramsey-Moore and her team showed that woman is boss. He also congratulated Gypsy.

“We all recognised that the decision to host A Taste of Carnival was done a little late, but I have to commend Pan Trinbago and NCC with the planning of the event. It shows some innovation with respect to the pods, and shows an evolving kind of Carnival.”

Mitchell said he saw the pods working in the future and was discussing with Gypsy using the pods for people who would like to be among their own number.

He said there are more plans to directly tie pan, and the advertisement of pan, with TT’s cultural tourism product.

“I see a tremendous partnership and opportunities, and we can only make this thing bigger and better in 2023.”

Pannists play their hearts out

It might not have been Panorama, but the pannists brought the usual pomp and theatrics of Carnival.

NGC Couva Joylanders, the reigning medium band Panorama champs, walked away with the People’s Choice prize.

The band played Essence by Nigerian singer songwriter Wizkid featuring Canadian singer Justin Bieber, and Christopher “Tambu” Herbert’s 1989 Road March Free Up. The band’s performance drew loud applause and dancing from the audience.

The event began promptly at 5 pm with bands lined up on what is commonly referred to as “the drag” at the Savannah.

There were 11 bands in the medium category and 12 in the large category.

This Power Stars Steel Orchestra bass pan player kept the band grounded during its performance of Long Time. - Angelo Marcelle

Pan Trinbago reminded the audience that it was not a competition but rather a show and the “winner” would be chosen by the people. It used FundMeTnT to have people donate and vote.

In the medium category, the bands played either a bomb tune (non-calypso/soca song) or a Panorama-styled tune. The selections ranged from R&B, to gospel, to soca and calypso.

The first band, Tornadoes, played How Great Thou Art.

The show moved smoothly with each band lining up behind the other to perform.

The large bands began playing at 9 pm.

T&TEC Tropical Angel Harps began the second half with their two songs – Andrea Bocelli’s Perfidia and Nailah Blackman’s More Sokah.

Each band played two songs – a bomb tune and a calypso/soca Panorama-arrangement tune.

The bands had 40 to 60 players instead of its usual 120.

Nutrien Silver Stars performance of Barry White’s Love Theme and Aaron “Voice” St Louis’ Out and Bad received a large round of applause.

Massy Trinidad All Stars’ pop medley, which included Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed and Blue Boy’s (now SuperBlue’s) 1981 hit Unknown Band had the audience dancing and singing along.

Reigning Panorama champions Desperadoes played Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise and Lord Nelson’s Ah Going to Party Tonight.

BP Renegades, the last band to perform, played Joey Lewis’ Pint O Wine and Voice’s Year For Love.

These players from Supernovas Steel Orchestra give a very energetic performance at the Musical Showdown in D Big Yard at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Sunday. - ROGER JACOB

While the medium band People’s Choice was announced shortly after the show, the large band People’s Choice was not yet announced up to late Sunday.

An award by the Inter-American Development Bank and Pan Trinbago for the Lord Kitchener Award For Steelbands in the Digital Space was given to Massy Trinidad All Stars, and honourable mention mention was given to NGC Couva Joylanders.

There were also prizes for best flag waver in both the medium and large categories going to Pan Elders and Nutrien Silver Stars respectively.


"Pan Trinbago’s Musical Showdown thrills, draws big crowd"

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