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‘Different Me’ snatches $1million prize

Monday, February 8, 2016
First Citizens Supernovas placing second with their performance Breakthrough by Roderick Gordan Chuck Gordon for the judges at the National Panorama Finals Saturday night at the Queen’s Park Savannah. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL

Desperadoes Steel Orchestra ended a 15-year drought of Panorama wins on Saturday night when it captured the 2016 National Steelband Panorama title and $1million prize at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain.

Playing a Carlton “Zanda” Alexander arrangement of Different Me, composed by Jovan James and sung by 5 Star Akil, the band from the hills of Laventille registered its eleventh victory at the 53rd edition of the annual steelband contest presented by Pan Trinbago by amassing a score of 285 points.

The last time Desperadoes won a Panorama title was in 2000 playing a Clive Bradley’s arrangement of Oba Sinnette’s Picture On My Wall. 

Appearing in the penultimate position among the ten finalists in the large band category, Despers created wild excitement among its fans with a rekindling of the distinctive musical sound of the 1970s and 80s that distinguished it from other steel orchestras, clearly indicating to them that it was a “different me” they were listening to from the one heard during the past ten years.

Placing second by a narrow one-point margin (284) was First Citizens Supernovas Steel Orchestra doing an Amrit Samaroo arrangement of Breakthrough, composed by Mark Loquan and Amrit Samaroo. 

The successful “breakthrough” by the former small conventional band into the rank of the large conventional bands category this year earned the Lopinot-based musical aggregation $700,000 in prize money.

Phase II Pan Groove (in partnership with Hadco) and bpTT Renegades tied for third place with 283 points each. The Phase offered Len “Boogsie” Sharpe’s arrangement of his composition Madd Music, while Renegades played Johann Chuckaree’s composition Music Inside Meh Head, arranged by Duvone Stewart. Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) Invaders, scoring 281 points, placed fifth with Take Dat, composed and arranged by Arddin Herbert.

Defending champion Massy Trinidad All Stars had to settle for sixth place with a score of 280 points for its interpretation of Clive Telemaque’s Leave We Alone arranged by Leon “Smooth” Edwards. 

In seventh place was PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars (277 points) playing Panoramic, composed and arranged by Liam Teague. Tobago’s RBC Redemption Sound Setters doing Chris “Tambu” Herbert’s No, No We Eh Going Home, arranged by Michael Toby and Darren Sheppard, placed eighth (276 points).

Ninth place went to NLCB Fonclaire (272 points) for Ken Philmore’s arrangement of Bass on Fire composed by Mark Loquan, Seion Gomez, and Gregory Ballantyne. Skiffle placed tenth (266 points) for Damien Etienne’s How She Like It, arranged by Kendall Williams, Odie Franklin, and Marc Brooks.

In the Medium Conventional Bands category, Pan Elders Steel Orchestra of San Fernando completed a hat-trick of victories when it won the 2016 title and $600,000 prize doing “Me Eh Fighting For No Man,” composed by Leston Paul, sung by Bally (Errol Ballantyne), and arranged by Duvone Stewart.

Tobago steel orchestras NLCB Buccooneers and Petroin Katzenjammers placed second and third respectively. Other placings were as follows: Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille, NGC Couva Joylanders, NGC Steel Xplosion, Curepe Scherzando, Melodians, Carib Dixieland, and West Side Symphony.

On the occasion, Pan Trinbago presented awards to tuners Bertrand Kellman and Wallace Austin; steelband contributor Damien Holder; and steelband leader Curtis Pierre for their services to the development of the steelpan. 

Pan results:
Large Conventional Bands:

1. Desperadoes
2. First Citizens Supernovas
3. bpTT Renegades
3. Phase II Pan Groove (in partnership with HADCO)
5. CAL Invaders
6. Massy Trinidad All Stars
7. PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars
8. RBC Redemption Sound Setters
9. NLCB Fonclaire
10. Skiffle

Medium Conventional Bands:
1. Pan Elders
2. NLCB Buccooneers
3. Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille (Tie)
3. Petrotrin Katzenjammers (Tie)
5. NGC Couva Joylanders
6. Curepe Scherzando (Tie)
6. NGC Steel Xplosion (Tie)
8. Melodians
9. Carib Dixieland
10. West Side Sy