To: The panpeople of Switzerland
friends and family, what I say here is coming from my heart.
From: Eric "Shorty" Lewis, panman, Trinidad
As a Trinidadian in Berne, I have been watching the pan movement in this
country for the past 3 1/2 years, and thanks to the Panyard, I can freely
give my views about it.
On my first visit here in 1991, pan was not so prevelant as I see now. I
have noticed a vast improvement in this regard over such a short period.
I've seen many bands emerge each year, I've seen that there are more and
more festivals for the steelbands, and many other things to make a great
steelband movement in this country. In some ways, it reminds me a bit of the
movement in Trinidad in its beginning. Much struggle, much fights (and I
don't mean physically). I am glad to say that on my arrival this time, I was
very impressed as straight from the airport I went to see that beautiful
steelband festival you had in Zug, and I felt really proud to see so many
bands came together for two hectic days of playing. To me, that was a
wonderful experience. When I think about some of the situations that you go
through to practise, plus the effort it sometimes takes for coming together,
it's amazing, but it tells me one sure thing: the steelband in Switzerland
is destine for high places. For this, I commend you, but there is something
happening that's a little bit disturbing to me. The fighting amongst each
other to control this movement with such a brilliant and clever beginning,
to spoil everything before it starts. That's disturbing. I think, with the
same reasons the steelband movement in my country has to work twice as hard,
because there are times, no one knows whom to believe, when they want proper
information. Therefore, there is a certain lack of interest in some things
that might be of a helpful nature to the movement.
My advice (like it or not), you should come together and pool your resources
in order to have this movement continued in vein, you should encourage
people to be a part of this growing process, and not apart of it. Then in
this way you can become one of the biggest and best steelband movements in
You have the resources, the panmower, the talent, the technology, so put
them together and use them wisely for your own good, and not for your worst
nightmare. Then, and only then, you will have a beautiful relationship with
pan and panpeople in this country.
Another thing you should pay more attention to is making the pan a little
bit more of yourself and not just another thing. I sometimes wonder about
the ideas that are given to the pannists in this region. Yes, I agree that
some of us use the pan to relieve the stress of the day, at home, or at work
(beautiful). But let be a little more concerned about our instrument, again,
try treating it like a part of you. And I think then, and only then, you
will get the desired results.
I hope I did not offend anyone? Sorry if I did.
Stay up, panpeople of Switzerland, and keep on keeping on!
in this movement together!