What can panmen look forward to in Budget 2012 when it's read in Parliament on Monday? An increase in Panorama 2012 prize money? A decrease? The completion of their headquarters as promised by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar? Now, let's get one thing clear; Kamla didn't promise any prize increase, only the building of the headquarters at Orange Grove, Trincity. This frame of shame has long been an eyesore on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, and an insult to pan people in terms of its expenditure of a reported $3.7 million. Will there be a re-instatement of the full stipend of $1,000 to pannists after Panorama C2K12? This year panmen had to settle for $800 from the Government coffers, with Pan Trinbago taking up the slack. The cutback of the stipend by Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston "Gypsy" Peters caused much anxiety and ill-will among panmen, resulting in a call to boycott Panorama 2011.
However, good sense prevailed when the Prime Minister stepped in with her charm, solving the problem and promising a home for pan. What's more in the Budget for panmen? Maybe, just maybe, Minister of Budgets (Finance) Winston Dookeran might waive duty on the importation of drums, and we're talking jobs here. Pan tuners have been complaining about a shortage of drums. Government-owned National Petroleum has been assisting with the manu­facturing of drums, but a machine to get the job done has been down for the past months with mechanical problems. Pan Buzz understands drums are available in England, Holland and Denmark.
Dennis Smith mixes pan and prayers
He's back on land these days, chilling out in Fyzabad. I'm talking about 1993 Pan Ramajay champion soloist Dennis "Smithy" Smith. Normally, Smith goes missing for months at sea, playing on cruise ships, with his band Sugarcane. This T&T pan ambassador misses Christmas so often, he has forgotten how black cake tastes. Smith, however, has washed his foot and jumped in the pan song arena after a few years. For 2012, he extols the pan and mixes it with prayer with the inspirational Pan in Yuh Face, with vocals by his sister Diane Saunders. Smith has previously regaled us with Congrats, Pan Unity, Play Yuh Pan and Jump Up and Play Yuhself.This accomplished composer/arranger plays all instruments on +Pan in Yuh Face, except guitar played by Eugene Bass.
Renegades Seniors decorates Daisy
Renegades Seniors recently held its presentation of awards ceremony at the band's pan theatre, Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain. Among the honorees were female pan pioneer Daisy James Mc Clean, her nephew the irrepressible Cecil "Jimo" James and Eddie "Guna" Yearwood. Also getting an award for their contribution to the development of the steelband were Casablanca's Augustus Mark and the famous "Eddie Boom" Fields. Mc Clean, the oldest living female pan player in the land, praised the Renegades Seniors for recognising her. "I am truly appreciative of the Renegades Award," she told T&T Guardian. Mc Clean has received numerous awards at home and abroad, and is one of pan's most decorated soldiers. Yearwood has reached a significant milestone, celebrating six years with Bashment Radio. He has pioneered pan programmes on radio in a talk format.
Professor deserves a diplomatic passport
The man I am talking about is one of T&T's most beloved sons-Ken "Professor" Philmore-who's as busy as the proverbial bee these days. He has been busy promoting Trinidad and Tobago all over the world, a feat I feel deserves some kind of diplomatic passport from the authorities. You name the place and Professor has been there-South Africa, England, USA and across the Caribbean. Now, he's preparing to head to Nigeria. Come Panorama 2012, this pan ambassador returns to NLCB Fonclaire, and the Mark Loquan/Destra winning combination with two pan songs.
Expect one from 'Brooksie'
Pan songs are rolling like thunder. Expect some bad 2012 Panorama compositions songs from Earl Brooks and Natasha Joseph in the next couple months. Already released, though, are Million Dollar Song (Carwash); Pan In Yuh Face (Dennis Smith); and Pan Turbulence, a Jason "Peanuts" Isaac/Anthony "Lexo" Alexis collaboration, sung by Natalie Yorke and produced by "Sir" Leston Paul. A massive launch is being planned for Pan Turbulence on October 23, from 10 am to 2 pm, at De Nu Pub (The Mas Camp Pub), Ariapita Avenue and French Street, Woodbrook. Alston Jack's Voodoo Woman is another of the Panorama 2012 songs just released.