Written by: Sandra L. Blood
If the national instrument of T&T, the steelpan, wasn’t to the world as healthy blood is to the body and water’s to plants, the world wouldn’t be consciously infusing it in its body or gulping it in big mouthfuls.
T&T should feel proud.
Indigenous to T&T, the one-of-a-kind instrument still raises hefty acclamation for ingenuity, development and off-shootings thereof, seeing the G, PHI, Jumbie Jam, E Piti, 12-inch, Mini Steel Tongue, among too numerous a quantity of traditional acoustic pans, having made their debut.
Roughly one decade before last year – pandemic 2020 – after carnival seasons, a handful of related pan activities would be enjoyed in the actual space of the events, but as the pandemic played its first note, pan activities of all descriptions became the online entertainment centrepiece on the global table.
One such activity was the first online international solo steelpan competition, PanoGrama, hosted out of Barbados by PanoGrama Entertainment (PGE) – a business that specialises in virtual steelpan events – as directed by Nevin Roach.
A panist himself, Founder and CEO of PGE, Roach is also vice-president of the Segway Polo Club Barbados and Sports Administrator for the Academy of Sports at the UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados, and has a passion for youth development on a general plane.
The inaugural soloist event was aired on Instagram, only. Panists from the US, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda, Guyana, St. Maarten, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago, participated. Each panist drew attention from a very diverse audience ages 18-34 years representing 41 percent fan base, which tantamount to 23 percent women.
This edition garnered healthy media coverage in leading papers including the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, television, too.
With a vision to become the most distinguished steelpan entertainment company in the world, PGE’s annual event seeks to promote steelpan in the international community; contribute to the holistic personal; musical and professional development of pannists; provide wholesome and family-oriented world class entertainment provide opportunities for musicians to showcase their talent on an international stage; and make charitable contributions towards the development of the steelpan industry and other worthy charitable causes.
Apart from creating history by hosting the event:
was officially endorsed and sponsored by Pan Trinbago, the World Governing Body of Steelpan;
reached over 32,000 Instagram accounts;
· attracted international, Caribbean and regional viewers inclusive of the US, Canada, UK, Japan, France, Italy and Germany; and
· afforded a generous donation to the Pan Trinbago Social Prosperity Fund.
PGE speaks of thriving better this year.
“We feel proud to have hosted a successful maiden competition, despite some unexpected disruptions compounded by not being successful at attracting the required sponsors, but Pan Trinbago saved the final-night day releasing monetary prizes.
Dubbed from this year, The World Cup of Steelpan, with the bar set much higher, gained experience and time in hand, PGE is beckoning sponsors to the fold: “…to stand out among others in the digital world,” or “if you are passionate about the performing arts and development. We need you. Apart from cash sponsorship, in-kind sponsorship is welcomed.”
By public demand, PanoGrama is stepping forward with a slate of panists already gearing up, having recalled the experience last year as the event encouraged, and “encourages the international steelpan community to live, love, play and enjoy steelpan”.
Looking backward and forward, artistes say they reminisce on the joy they got from just soothing the world last year, and realise that this year requires the same attention.
The new countries anticipated to participate are Dominica, Canada, UK, Grenada, St. Lucia, Cayman Islands, US Virgin Island and St. Thomas, in addition to the countries from last year.
· Dates & Time: Preliminaries: May 7-9, Semi-finals: 13, and Finals: 16. 8p.m. (AST)
· Maximum of 30 competitors
· Increased appearance fees and prizes
· Expanded broadcast to Facebook, YouTube and Television
· Seminars on:
o Personal and professional growth
o Musical Development
o Career guidance for musicians
To sponsor or for further information:
To find PanoGrama:
· Instagram: instagram.com/pano.grama
· Facebook: facebook.com/pano.grama1