Pan goes international in August

By Alicia Sealey

If you are a steelpan fan, courtesy of the internet, you were able to take in both London’s UK Panorama and Trinidad’s Pan on the Avenue last Saturday.

Out of a field of six steelbands in London, defending champs – Real Steel – won for the third year in a row. Their performance of Pan in the Atmosphere (267 points) was arranged by Leroy Clarke. Second place went to Metronomes Steel Orchestra with their rendition of Carnival Tabanca (265 points) arranged by Anise ‘Halfers’ Hadeed. Third place went to Mangrove Steelband who performed Big People Party (262 points) arranged by Andre White.

Graham Carr, an avid pannist and member of Mangrove Steelband, said, “It was a bit cold but we played well.” Al Foster, arranger for Toronto’s steelpan champs Pan Fantasy, saw the competition via the internet. “The quality of the internet feed,” Foster said, “did not represent the true sound of the pan. That’s always tricky when forming a judgment.”

In Trinidad & Tobago, August is Pan Month. TV4 showcased a live broadcast of Pan on the Avenue. Billed as a celebration of pan arrangers, this show started at 6 p.m. All the arrangers were presented with commemorative awards before the many steelbands started their parade along Ariapita Avenue in Woodbrook. Thousands of spectators took in performances from a plethora of major and community steelbands who performed in a relaxed atmosphere with no judging pressure.

“I wasn’t able to see any of Pan on the Avenue,” said Foster, “because I was in practice for NY Panorama.”

NY Panorama will talk place in New York City on Saturday. Pan Fantasy will perform third.

“Second to T&T Panorama,” said Carr, “NY and Toronto are the next best thing.” For details of a potential live broadcast of NY Panorama, check When Steel Talks at

“When Steel Talks,” said Foster, “acts like a middle man. They don’t film it; they get the information and share it on their page.” Carr concurred. “I can always rely on WST to find out about anything about pan. That’s the hub for everything.”