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Pan stars shine bright
What a weekend it has been, one in which I thoroughly immersed myself in pan music and, though under the weather, was vitalised by some beautiful music.
Greatly contributing to this elixir of pan music was Supernovas steel orchestra, a relatively new aggregation out of Surrey Village, Lopinot, and under the musical direction of Amrit Samaroo, son of pan legend Jit Samaroo.
Registered with Pan Trinbago in 2010, Supernovas participated in this year’s National Panorama competition and placed third in the small band category.
Samaroo, however, aside from coming from good pan pedigree, has had past experience in the annual Carnival pan contest.
He arranged for bpTT Renegades in 2008 and 2009, taking the Charlotte Street steel orchestra to the final on both occasions.
Speaking to Samaroo this week from his Lopinot home, he said: “The band (Supernovas) is on a developmental trend right now. At present, we have a lot of young players, so we have Jit’s cousin, Peter Maltin, and Kelly Ramlal, doing tutoring with the young musicians.
“We are also in the process of raising funds so we can have our own panyard as we have been sharing a space with the community in their centre. Though extremely grateful to the residents in the community, we have outgrown this facility. Next year, because of a lack of finances, we will be back in Panorama, in the small band category.”
The dictionary defines a supernova as a star that suddenly increases very greatly in brightness because of an explosion.
Well, there certainly was a pan explosion across the land this Independence weekend but none shone as brightly as Supernovas did.
Performing alongside the long established Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove and Republic Bank Exodus last Saturday, at the annual Carib Woodbrook Playboyz Independence Day brunch, Supernovas caused all in attendance to take notice with its enticing repertoire and “panmanship.”
The band’s repertoire included Live Your Life Like you’re Playing Mas (Kees & David Rudder); Sailing (de Mighty Trini); It’s Now or Never (Elvis Presley); a Lady in Red ’80s salsa medley; Love Story; Portrait of Trinidad (Sniper); a Shadow medley of I come out to play, Bassman and Dingolay; a Lord Blakie medley of Hold the Pussy, Maria and Steelband Clash; a Sparrow Medley of 60 Million Frenchmen, Du Du Yemi and Statue; SuperBlue’s Fantastic Friday; and, Kitchener’s The Carnival is Over.
Also contributing to my weekend of scintillating pan music was Witco Desperadoes, headline performer at the open-air concert on the pavement of Western Main Road, St James, staged by Lisa Mc Kenzie, widow of Smokey & Bunty co-owner Ricardo “Smokey” Mc Kenzie. The Laventille band played all its fans’ favourites including Ordinary People, Jammer and Rebecca, against the background of fireworks lighting up the Independence night sky.
On Sunday, the Independence pan feast reached its pinnacle when Playboyz blocked off Tragarete Road, between Maraval Road and Cipriani Boulevard, Newtown, to hold its 2013 Inde-Street Fest. Again, Supernovas held its audience captive with a riveting performance.
The evening’s live entertainment package also featured Phase II Pan Groove; bpTT Renegades and Exodus, Desperadoes, CAL Invaders, Solo Harmonites, White Oak Starlift, San City and Playboyz. Also performing were Pelham Goddard & Roots, reigning Road March champion and joint International Power Soca Monarch SuperBlue, Scrunter, Rootsman and Poser.
This week, Pan Trinbago made me the perfect gift in the form of a copy of its 50th Golden Anniversary of Panorama publication.
A definite keepsake and collector’s item, this glossy book is filled with archival material of pan and Pan Trinbago, from the inception of the organisation, the birth of the annual Panorama competition and stars of the 50-year competition.
Among its riveting articles are documentaries on late iconic pan technician Bertie Marshall; past president the late George “Sonny” Goddard; past Desperadoes leader Rudolph Charles; and celebrated arrangers Ray Holman; Len “Boogsie” Sharpe; Ken “Professor” Philmore; Seion Gomez; and, Terrence “BJ” Marcelle.
Among the authors of articles are the late Ian “Teddy” Belgrave; T&T Guardian’s David Cuffy; Selwyn Tarradath; Merle Albino-de Coteau; Dr Jeannine Remy; Pan Trinbago vice-president Bryon Serrette; and president Keith Diaz.
The publication is filled with several enlightening stories, photos and anecdotes. For instance, it reveals the only person to this day to lead T&T steelband “association” under all of its three names, including Pan Trinbago.
He was also the only president of any of the three to be re-elected to the post, not once, but (at least) ten times. Also poignant is the fact that up to the first official instalment of Panorama in 1963, the overall winner received a first prize of $350.
The 50th Golden Anniversary of Panorama is currently on sale at Pan Trinbago’s head office, located at Victoria Square North, Port-of-Spain, at the reasonable price of $60.
Young Sparrow cops Emancipation calypso title
Sergio Francisco, son of the legendary Mighty Sparrow, is the winner of the 2013 Emancipation Calypso Competition, hosted by the National Action Cultural Committee (NACC), in association with First Citizens and the National Youth Action Committee (NYAC).
Held on August 24 at City Hall, Knox Street, Port-of-Spain, Francisco, who bears a startling resemblance to his father, topped the 24-35 age group in the competition.
This year, Francisco sang in two calypso tents—Generation Next and Klassic Russo—and made it to the final of the Young Kings Monarch competition, placing in the top five.
In winning the Emancipation title, Francisco sang Know Thyself.
2013 Emancipation Calypso Competition results
7-14 age group
1st Melina Smith —My Guardian Angel
2nd Timel Rivas The Emancipation Story
3rd N’Janela Duncan-Regis Determined and Strong
4th Tsahai Corbin Emancipation Story
5th Tyrese Williams Teach Me the Truth
6th Zakiya Grant Dance of Freedom
7th Jeremiah James The Evidence
15-23 age group
1st Sasha Ann Moses Lies
2nd Shradah Mc Intyre Dey Doh Know
3rd Helon Francis Emancipation Heroes
4th Tenisha Weekes Thank You
4th Jerrisha Duncan Regis NUFF Respect
6th Ferdinand Smith One for Mandela
7th Aneka Collins Stand Up and Be Counted
24-35 age group
1st Sergio Francisco Know Thyself
2nd Marion Paponette Ek Wiloom Woon
3rd Khadja Antoine Pay Us Now
3rd Kerine Williams Berbice Revolution
5th Arnold Jordan Africa In Me
6th Alicia Paponette Turn Ah New Page
7th Philman Africa On De Rise