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High hopes to impress in semifinals

Written by: Shenae Williams

Edited by: PanoGrama Entertainment

Olivier Wiren (France)
Olivier Wiren (France)

During the May 6-8 PanoGrama preliminaries, 24 pannists from 9 countries graced the virtual stage to share their talent with pan enthusiasts. By the end of the three-night display of musical competence, 20 pannists advanced to the next round. USA, Canada, France, and T&T held the top positions for the preliminaries, while Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, St. Lucia, and Grenada complete the list of countries that will be represented in the semifinals.

Olivier Wiren of France, who finished 14th in the preliminaries with his rendition of Chick Corea’s Armando’s Rhumba, is elated that he will feature in the next round.

“I’m glad and proud to be in the semis, and that the judges appreciate my work. I received some good feedback from people also. It is a good feeling because I put in a lot of work.”

Olivier also shared that it was fellow countryman and participant Mathieu Borgne who encouraged him to participate in PanoGrama.

“It’s Mathieu who motivated me to do it. I was not very confident, but I did it to challenge myself. When you look at your performance, and when people congratulate you, it’s a good result. Great feeling!” he added.

CEO and Founder of PanoGrama, Nevin Roach, stated that “talented pannists like Olivier are building their confidence, learning, and employing new musical tools, and in essence growing through the PanoGrama experience. That for me is the biggest reward from hosting this competition.”

PanoGrama founder, Nevin Roach (left), and his co-host Aundrea Wharton (right) moments before announcing the semifinalists for PanoGrama 2022
PanoGrama founder, Nevin Roach (left), and his co-host Aundrea Wharton (right) moments before announcing the semifinalists for PanoGrama 2022

Like the other 19 semifinalists, Olivier has high hopes to impress the adjudicators and book a spot in the 10-man finals. There is no doubt that Professor Liam Teague, and his team will have a tough decision to make, as they scrutinize each performance and allocate points for Intro/Ending, Variations, Execution and Performance.

David Yundi (USA) will attempt to hold onto the top spot at the end of the semifinals and fend off strong challenges from Mathieu Borgne (France), Gabriel Chartrand (Canada), and Shaquille ‘Flogo’ Forbes, who were all nipping at his heels in the preliminary round. All pannists will start with a clean slate.

The semifinals will stream on May 29 at 8pm AST and promises a diverse selection of music. An all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas, 1 brand-new Perfect Steel tenor pan and case, $1,000 USD, and a private session with a world-renowned steelpannist are up for grabs by this year’s champion. Persons interested in watching the show can join the mailing list on to receive show links, or email for more info.

The order of appearance and song selections for the semifinals are:

1. Gabriel Chartrand (Canada): Mariage d’Amour - Paul de Senneville

2. Maurisha Potter (Antigua & Barbuda): Could You Be Loved - Bob Marley

3. David Yundi (USA): Feel the Love - DJ Private Ryan x Freetown Collective

4. Aquila Pereira (T&T): Vivir Mi Vida - Marc Anthony

5. Olivier Wiren (France): Je me suis fait tout petit - Georges Brassens

6. Alexander Evans (Belize): Welcome to Belize - Leela Vernon

7. Déja Cain (T&T): Mas Que Nada - Sergio Mendes & Brasil’ 66

8. Mathieu Borgne (France): Sour Apple - Lord Kitchener

9. Emmanuel Joseph (T&T): Love and Affection – Pressure

10. Simeon Superville (T&T): Hulk - Blaxx

11. Tevin Shockness (T&T): Hear My Cry Oh Lord - Marvia Providence

12. Jaron Woodsley (T&T): Just the Two of Us - Grover Washington Jr.

13. Al Alexander (St. Lucia): Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson Ft. Bruno Mars

14. Shaquille Forbes (T&T): Spain - Chick Corea

15. Christopher Neale (T&T): Pan Night and Day - Lord Kitchener

16. Jamel Cadette (T&T): Sir duke - Stevie Wonder

17. Malik Smith (Antigua & Barbuda): Close to You - Maxi Priest

18. Mikiel Smith (Grenada): Pan by Storm – Designer

19. Hanif Goodridge (T&T): This Masquerade - Goerge Benson

20. Marcus Prince (T&T): Can’t Stop the feeling - Justin Timberlake

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