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Pan in the atmosphere
George Goddard remembered With Carnival now completed, dusted off and put away, De Fosto’s calypso Pan in the Atmosphere came to life last weekend with much activity by the national instrument. Pan Trinbago staged another successful Champs in Steel Plus (Champs in Concert) last Saturday at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of- Spain. From very early the venue was filled with visitors from overseas, many eager to see and hear the season’s champions of pan, calypso and mas. They were not to be disappointed.
This is the 33rd year that Pan Trinbago is staging this production, one which has the distinction of one of the very few cultural events staged locally to begin at its advertised scheduled time of starting.
This year was no different as promptly on the stroke of 8 pm, with flagman HP Diaz, HBM standing rigidly holding the national flag aloft, young pan players from Junior Panorama (Primary Schools) champion band St Paul’s Anglican School played the national anthem on tenors. After an innovocation by Urslin Blackette, radio personalities Ken Simmons and Sharon Pitt got proceedings on the way by introducing St Paul’s Anglican School, the night’s first act, to play Blue Boy’s Soca Baptist.
Apart from St Paul’s, eight 2014 champion steelbands performed on the night, including Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove, Pan Elders, Super Novas, San Juan East Side Symphony, Pan Jammers, Juniors bp Renegades and Providence/QRC. Winners of the Text to Win People’s Choice competition—Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille and Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars—also made guest appearances. This year’s production featured some of the finest exponents of mas, calypso and chutney soca on one stage providing a fitting end to this year’s festival.
These included senior and junior King and Queen of Carnival, inclusive of Quars Al Sahara Desert Sting (Wade Madray); Zamara Mirage of the Oasis (Peola Marchan); Promise of the Rainbow (Gyasi Philbert); and, Angel of the Buccoo (Cyan Lue Shue), as well as the “most outstanding mas presentation of 2014,” including presentations by Red Cross/Downtown Carnival Junior Band of the Year Rosalind Gabriel’s Colour My Culture and Junior Carnival Band of the Year Carnival Babies’ Colour Me Carnival.
Also making the playbill were some of the season’s hottest champs and contenders including the National Calypso Monarch Roderick “Chucky” Gordon; Political Commentary winner Mr Shak; Young King Monarch Bevon St Clair; Calypso Queen Candace Robinson; Junior Calypso Monarch Ronaldo London; Junior Soca Monarch Sasha-Ann Moses; Extempore Monarch Brian London and runner-up Lingo; Chutney Soca Monarch Kris “KI ”Persad; and, International Soca Monarch runners-up Farmer Nappy and Iwer.
Kelly Green & Harmony provided musical accompaniment.
Pan action actually commenced from as early as Friday when Panicle Company hosted the inaugural edition of the George Sonny Goddard Town Hall Meetings, at Starlift Complex, off Mucurapo Road, Woodbrook. The late Goddard was the president of the National Association of T&T Steelbandsmen (NATTS) and Pan Trinbago.
Facilitators of the discussions included George David Goddard, his brother George Gerard and Emile Borde. Among the experts and intellectuals moderating proceedings were Hugh Borde, Royce Russell, Dr Brian Copeland, Dr Kim Johnson, Diane Duprey, Keith Maynard and Vanessa Headley.
The event was attended by a number of pan players and afficionados, including Martin Daly, Ray Funk, Bertel Gittens, Roderick Toussaint, Tommy Critchlow, Steve Taylor, Douglas Williams, Gerard Clarke and Emmon Berkeley.
Throughout the day, discussions were intense and poignant. Some of the topics addressed included Defining the Steelband Movement and the Politics of Pan and How we balance steelband tradition with innovation in the 21st Century.
Supposedly a five-panel event just three were completed, causing the organisers to make this exercise and ongoing, year-round forum.
When an article by Trinidad born Indra Dwarka-Koch in November, 2013 about the launching of Carnival in the town of Niedernhausen in Germany was published, no one realised what a wave of sensation it would create.
The Carnival Council of Eleven was so impressed that they invited Koch to be guest of honour at its Carnival Gala at the town Entertainment Centre, held on February 1. At this Carnival Gala the T&T Guardian was praised by the committee’s president, Martin Kunst, for putting Niedernhausen on the other side of the world. The committee president himself has fond memories of being in Trinidad with his parents as a child.
The Carnival Council usually consists of a group of 11 men from the town, mainly professionals ranging from doctors, lawyers, businessmen and trades people. This institution started in the 19th century with its roots going back to France. In this mainly male-dictating world, the council plans events and social functions for carnival and the local charities.
At the Entertainment Centre, artists of various genres brought the festival of over 500 masqueraders to a hilarious peak. The later the evening the higher the spirits soared, and the more excited the crowd became. Whether it was the ventriloquist with his dinosaur, a play back Elvis Presley, local sports group performing their acrobatic skills, Brazilian rhythm dancers or even the bitter satire of both local and international politics, the audience got the best of Niedernhausen showbiz.
Even the new young and dynamic Mayor of the town of Niedernhausen, Joachim Reimann, took time off to accept an original clipping of the T&T Guardian’s article “Launching of German Carnival Season” from Koch. This shows the appreciation of conveying the German culture to the people of T&T.
The Council of Eleven and the Mayor of the Town of Niedernhausen profusely thanked the T&T Guardian for the publication and exposure, with some of them hoping to be in Trinidad to actually experience Carnival 2015.