Written by: Sandra L Blood
It was on July 3, 2020, between 8:15-9:15PM, during the Panograma Entertainment’s fourth PanMotion virtual, live, international concert, when the world got to realize how, abysmal, concerns of domestic abuse and black consciousness resonate worldwide, in the mind and heart of people with a conscience.
After preluding his 10-rendition concert with the soft strains of a Melanie Hudson’s I Will Always Be There for You, winner of the inaugural international Panograma competition in April 2020, 10-year USA citizen, casually-attired pannist, T&T’s Earl Brooks Jr. took center stage.
Brooks Jr was a Berkeley College music student, is a researcher, full-time music tutor, composer, and garment designer.
Configured in his music studio ensuring all apparatuses were close-by, he offered his salutations then jumped right into the meat of the night with a tune that’s very close to his heart called Asami, composed by Brooks Jr., sung by Derrick Seales. Asami was actually one of Brooks’ close friends.
The song was engineered out of domestic abuse on Asami and many other people close to Brooks, and her related demise.
Performing it in her honour, a very passionate Brooks used the platform to piercingly advise women that “there are many men who are willing and ready to protect and defend you,” while urging to “choose the right ones. If your senses say something (is wrong) follow it, as a woman’s intuition is usually right, especially mothers’,” extending blessings to all mothers.
He dedicated his next piece – the Michael Jackson’s global classic, Heal the World – to black consciousness, in solidarity of the black power and black-lives-matter movements’ attempts to “tilt the unbalanced scale more centered” for equal opportunities, rights, treatment and recognition of black people; for black people to respect each other and others; wake-up and recognize their worth.
Got Me Wrong by USA’s Lyndon Gray, and Xouk composed by his dad, Earl Brooks Sr. while Jr was in his early teens, would follow, closing off the first half.
In multi vernacular articulation from the start to end of the concert, engaging a majority Caribbean audience no doubt, the 1600 viewers would then relax during intermission to an interlude of instrumental versions of I Will Be There for You and Heal the World.
At 8:47, the second half of Brooks Music journey resumed, with a bit of oral and pan free styling of American’s bassist, Ben Carr’s Throw Back Volume 1, which was released in May.
Six minutes following, Brooks Jr. delivered his winning piece at the inaugural Panograma competition, Thriller by Michael Jackson.
Extending love to the Caribbean and black people, and realizing the world is still wonderful, “bounced off memories and feelings of the unsettling circumstances disturbing the world today,” saw a version of What a Wonderful World being offered.
Closing off the night was an untitled composition of his as inspired by a bus journey through Senegal.
Brooks explained how the tune emerged, but preceding the performance, he would encourage to “push soca, the culture and pan more global,” while coincidingly, educated on some of what he learned in the first world music industry.
Brooks Jr. admonished the Caribbean music producers and marketing industries to “sell the music and culture the right way before actually trying to sell it; package and market, then sell,” instead of vice-versa.
Brooks Jr. spoke to his business of music: Brooks Arts Academy, and his Brooks Music label stating he’s focused more on creating his own music instead of playing cover music.
In addition to showing off his personal-designed shirt, and brimmed hat designed by a friend as worn during the second half, he also acknowledged his support team for the concert: Alex of Lunatics Studio, T&T; Creative Studious, Union, NJ; Irvan Alves; Delandro; and T&T, his country of birth.
Giving regular support during the virtual attendance were some regional pannists and pan organisations including, Earl La Pierre Jr., Kern Summerville, Armani Gomes, Leeandro Noray, sole female competitor at the inaugural Panograma competition and People’s Choice winner, Tyeesha Alexander; BP Renegades first female tenor section leader Jossane Kerrice Felix; Republic Bank Exodus Steelband; Jesse Quinlan, World Governing Body for Pan situated in T&T, Pan Trinbago; Troy Baggoo; and Diop Balbosa.
Scheduled to perform at the fifth instalment of the PanMotion virtual pan concerts on July 9 is Guyana’s Darius Austin.
Panograma advises: It does not own any Rights to the music played (used), and that music played (used) is strictly for entertainment and not for commercial use.