Arranger: Katzenjammers going for hattrick in 2025

ROCK IT: Katzenjammers during their winning performance of Merchant’s Rock It during the National Medium Conventional Band final on Sunday at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Tobago. - Photo by Jaydn Sebro
ROCK IT: Katzenjammers during their winning performance of Merchant’s Rock It during the National Medium Conventional Band final on Sunday at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Tobago. - Photo by Jaydn Sebro

OVERWHELMED by Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra’s second consecutive victory in Sunday night’s National Medium Conventional Band final, arranger Kersh Ramsey said the band will be going for a hattrick in 2025.

The band from Black Rock, led by Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore, retained its title in a hotly contested, four-hour competition, titled, Rhythms of Steel: Feel It, Love It, Share It, at the Parade Grounds, Dwight Yorke Stadium, Bacolet, Tobago.

Katzenjammers, playing in position ten, delivered an electrifying version of Merchant’s (Dennis Franklyn Williams’) Rock It and scored 283 points.

San Fernando-based outfit Pan Elders, which performed Benjai’s (Rodney Le Blanc’s) Come Out to Play, came in second with 280 points. The tune was arranged by Ojay Richards.

NGC Couva Joylanders’ rendition of Byron Lee & the Dragonaires Soca Tatie, arranged by Stefon West, earned them third spot. Joylanders’ had placed first in the preliminaries of the competition.

The bands were judged on arrangement, tone, rhythm and general performance.

An emotional Ramsey, surrounded by scores of jubilant players and supporters, described the victory as “a dream come true.”

Ramsey is on the verge of a hattrick of success in Panorama this year, after the Belle Garden-based T&TEC New East Side Dimension won the small bands title last month, with his arrangement of Kitchener’s Toco Band.

Ramsey has collaborated with compatriot Ojay Richards in an arrangement for Silver Stars, playing Olatunji’s Inventor, one of the finalists in the large band competition.

“The only thing now is to win the large band (category), and then I will make history along with (fellow Tobago arranger) Duvone Stewart,” he told reporters after being presented with a trophy by THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine and Ramsey-Moore.

Other Pan Trinbago central executive members also celebrated the victory.

Ramsey said he considers himself blessed.

“My career has now started off and I am happy it is going in the right direction. I thank God each and every day and to keep grounded, going down the right road and focusing on my music.”

He added he could not have achieved success without the support of the band’s players.

“I love them with all my heart. They are my motivation.”

Ramsey then embraced his younger brother, who stood close to him, saying, “He will be taking the baton from me.”

He said he was never complacent.

“I knew there were bands coming to beat Katzenjammers. So there were a lot of sleepless nights, late nights and early mornings. No sleep whatsoever, because I needed to put in the work so that the band could get the music that they are looking for to win and defend their title. And we did just that.”

He said all the bands brought their A-game in Sunday’s final.

“But I brought my A-plus game. I needed to bring the curtain down, give a grand finale and there is no doubt, I know I had the support from Tobago.”

Ramsey said Tobagonians did not just support Katzenjammers and other Tobago-based bands but all the bands in the competition.

He commended fellow arranger Richards for leading Pan Elders to a second-place finish.

“It is just a musical war, so don’t take anything personal. I congratulate him on his second place.”

The finals attracted a large crowd with spectators divided into general covered seating and the uncovered greens.A big screen and large speakers allowed patrons in the latter to enjoy the performances. One bareback male patron was seen wining and doing push-ups as he enjoyed one of the performances. A rhythm section also kept the greens entertained during the break between bands.

One female patron in the greens told Newsday she came to support the Tobago bands. However, she complained that the grass should have been cut lower.

Many patrons came prepared with their blankets and outdoor chairs and enjoyed the competition.

(With reporting by Stephon Nicholas)


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