Pan Enthusiasts Served up Plenty in Finale

pan.Neal Massy Trinidad All Stars 2014

Joshua Surtees (Guardian Media) gives a summary of the highlights of the National Panorama final performances in Trinidad. Here are excerpts:

Interviewed at the front of the stage, calypsonian David Rudder looked as fresh faced as a teenager as he beamed, soaking in the afterglow of a stunning, hilarious National Panorama final performance by the NLCB Buccooneers in the medium band competition.

To the live radio broadcasters, he revealed that he had been “in the engine room” onstage with the band from Tobago. He didn’t say whether he was beating a pan or some kind of percussion instrument, but he declared himself honoured that one of his old songs, Madness from 1986, had been chosen to be performed all these years later. It’s a perfect song for a pan rendition, but the beauty of the performance came from the delicious comedy the Tobagonians served up. [. . .]

In the end they narrowly lost out to Pan Elders by just three points. But they did Tobago proud and could easily have won, which would have been a rare victory for the smaller island. Last week, this T&T Guardian reporter, staying in Buccoo for the weekend, heard Madness rehearsed over and over. A glorious sound. But nobody could have anticipated those onstage hysterics. There was a buoyant atmosphere amongst the pan aficionados, but none of the debauchery that accompanied the semifinals in the north stand and on the greens.

[. . .] Some people took the occasional forty winks as the draw for the final had saved the best for last. All Stars, Phase II and Renegades were bands 9, 10 and 11 to perform and all ended up in the top three, while Desperadoes, who performed fourth, finished fourth. [. . .] The eventual winners by just one point, Phase II, was the only orchestra to play an original composition, a tradition Len “Boogsie” Sharpe has maintained throughout the 42-year lifespan of his Woodbrook band. Perhaps the originality of the music earned them that winning extra point. It was, after all, too close to call for many in the crowd.

Trinidad All Stars, who had been victorious in the semis, seemed favourites to win and, after their final performance, the crowd justifiably assumed they had just witnessed the new champions.

[. . .] Phase II won, retaining their crown, and now get another chance to go for the elusive hat-trick next year. [. . .]

For full article, see

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