Local panmen want Government to pass laws which would compel radio stations in T&T to play local music.
Up in arms by the lack of airplay given to pan music, Pan Trinbago's president Keith Diaz said although there were more than 10,000 pan players in T&T, it was only during the Panorama season their music was played. "People are making CDs to present their work but they are not getting any radio stations to play it," he said. "We would like for Government to change the law so that local stations play local music," he added.
Diaz was speaking during the launch of activities marking Steelpan Month, to be held in August. The launch took place at the La Fantasie Learning Resource Centre, St Ann's. He said steelbands travel worldwide and pan music is accepted and appreciated internationally, but hardly in T&T. "Why are our people in radioland using only foreign music and giving royalties to foreigners?" he asked.
"We have enough music in the pan fraternity to be played and that doesn't only include Panorama music, but R&B music too," Diaz said. His sentiments were backed by Richard Forteau, Pan Trinbago's secretary. "We have tonnes of pan music that could be played," he said. He noted that the pan fraternity had moved from an era of playing "old time" music into playing new age music from international artistes such as Alicia Keys. He said Pan Trinbago was on the verge of getting a radio frequency which would have allowed it to air "total local" music. He said this opportunity fell through as "someone with a buck more came along."
Meanwhile, Diaz said the steelpan body had sought $1 million in assistance from the Government to fund the steelpan events in August. He said the organisation's entire executive met recently with Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston Peters and was expected to meet with him again to finalise funding. "Before we could receive the money, there are teething problems that have to be sorted out since we are no longer under the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs," Diaz said.