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Monday, May 26, 2014
Che Cedeño

My name is Che Cedeño and I played in all three of my pan side’s Junior Panorama Championship second hat trick.



It takes me five minutes to walk from home to Renegades’ panyard. I could hear the pan from home in Quarry Street. So I could hear if I’m late for practice. But I try not to be late for anything.



You would think with such a famous background—Che Guevara, the great revolutionary—there would be an exciting story to me getting named, “Che”. Not even close. My mother had a penchant for unique names. My older brother is Reese, but not R-e-e-s-e, R-h-y-s. And my younger brother is Chazaiah. All of us have “h” as the second letter in our name, including my mum, Sharon.



My surname is Spanish. Is more pronounced, “Say-dane-yo” because it has a tilde on the enn. But is easier for most people to pronounce it as, “Say-dane-oh”. So that’s what they’s do. Spanish last name, Spanish first name, Spanish heritage.



My mother is a huge influence on who I am, not just as a person, but also as a musician. She’s not a musician but it was under her decision I went to Renegades’ panyard for the first time. Honestly, I didn’t want to go.



I’m a middle son. In a sense. My mother has three children. My father has more, from previous relationships. But, living as a family, I consider myself a middle child.


My older brother has a different father but we don’t consider “steps”. Steps is for houses and climbing. We have no steps: is your brother, uncle, cousins, that’s it! It helps produce a lot of good times and generates more affection and love within the family.



The middle child is always the rebellious one. Is a hard position to play in the family field. You not the big one. You not the little one. So you make yourself special by making yourself rebellious. But, once everything’s hashed out, because of the love in the family, the rebellious middle child calms down a little bit.



I’m doing a part-time certificate in music at the university. Most days I have classes, but they’re usually evening.  I had two 10am classes last semester that made my life a living hell. Well, I had to get up very early to reach to school on time.



Apart from the panyard, I really wouldn’t say I have an outdoors lifestyle. But, as I get older, maybe things will change. I try to be open to new experiences. I could end up hiking somewhere, some time. You never know.



I started doing music when I was eight with TAGS—Trinity All-Generation School of Music. But I didn’t like music theory at all. So I just stopped. My mother sent me and my brother to play with Renegades, practising for our first Junior Panorama, which ended up being the band’s first hat trick.



Two days before the competition, my brother and I got dropped. From that moment, I said, “I’m never getting dropped from another band!” And, so far, I’ve kept to that.



Renegades is all about family. Our captain, how she portrays everything, is, “One person can’t make a band: is everybody working together who make the band”. Gay, straight, black, white. I know the history and a lot of steel bands were [very rigidly masculine, intolerant of gays]. Renegades particularly so. But, as times change, people change. And, as management changes, certain policies as well. It’s always a good thing to be more open to and accepting of people.



My mother has always put it in my head that each generation must do better than the last. So, in the future, I definitely want a family. [When] I could provide properly.



The best thing about playing in a hat trick-winning junior pan side is, with the skill level I had, I was a frontline player. The bad side is, when you get large numbers of people like that together, sometimes there are contrasting personalities.



Trinis are happy people. Even in serious situations, somehow, we find a way to make a joke about it. Some make jokes that go a little too far.



Trinidad & Tobago to me means so much: is the birthplace of steel pan, calypso and soca. Is a beautiful country. But it could be so much better if everybody would get past certain discriminations and understand how good we truly have it.



• Read a longer version of this feature at


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