...and believe in the steelbands for
the next generations... (TAMBU 1988)
The pan is a gift to the world whatever it means for the people. The man
music of the early years was a cultural counter movement to regain own ways
of expression against supression. The Trinidad pan music of today still is
'a big sound from a small people'. Again it is a cultural counter movement,
nowadays against the predominance and neo-colonialism of the international
rock and pop music companies. It still lacks international appreciation of
those who are engaged in arts und culture.
The assumption of a worldwide pan movement is an illusion. Too big are the
differences between those interested in music and culture and those who
reduce the pan to fulfill their utopical dreams. Too strong are the
rivalries between bands, arrangers and tuners, too weak is the solidarity
among them. Too deep are the gaps between the musician's and publisher's
attitudes, opinions and philosophies about the pan.
Never could I say how the Trinidad bands and arrangers could reduce their
rivalries and heighten the esteem of their music by musicians, artists and
publishers all over the world. But I am sure what we, the editorial staff
and the writers of the Panyard magazine can do for the pan music, and how we
can express solidarity with a people's cultural movement from a poor country:
we should get better.
We have to write better articles, go closer to the people's experiences,
give up our myths, see the contradictions and dialectics in everything
individuals and societies ever created. We mustn't give the word to
steelbands and arrangers who misuse us and the journal by glorifying
themselves. We should publish articles essays and thoughts from writers,
musicians, and musicologists. And we have to find and ask this people.
In case of success we would have to live with people's attempt to make
everything mediocre, calling us an elite. Let's turn it upside down: it's
not a reproach, it's a compliment.