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To: The panpeople of Switzerland
From: Eric "Shorty" Lewis, panman, Trinidad

My friends and family, what I say here is coming from my heart.

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 the world.

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!

Yours truly,
in this movement together!
 
 
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