"We Ting?"

Dey Say…
We created it and as a result no one does it better! Does that still hold true? From the heart and soul, from the bosom of mother Trinidad Pan was born and nurtured into a wonderful instrument and also as an orchestra that fascinates people around the World. We have not stopped in the development of the pan and have now introduced the G Pan to continue this fairy tale story. However, we have not treated this instrument and the men and women who labor at it with the respect they deserve.
Indeed we can boast that  Trinidad is obviously the University of Pan with geniuses like Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe, Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore, Jit Samaroo and a host of others creating and arranging music to fascinate and drive people delirious during the Carnival festival. There have been many great arrangers who have passed on and many will rise to the top of the art form in the future. Panorama is 'de best' as most Trinis would say. So it is with interest that I recently read about a few Trinidadians studying music at the University of Illinois.  They are studying Pan as part of their music major. Why there and not in Trinidad?
I am curious and interested in knowing about the ‘Pan Major degree’ that the students were part of at the Northern Illinois University. Maybe it is the presence of Liam Teague (Pan Master) and fellow Trinidadian's accomplishments that has lured Mia Cormandy and other Trinidadians to the university.  However, this situation still needs to be questioned - what a shame (that we can't provide the same services at home). If that is the case (studying for a music degree majoring in Pan) then, why is it that Trinidadians have to leave the birthplace of pan (the true pan university) to get a degree?
Why doesn’t "UWI" offer this course of study? Ok, I am not naïve and understand that the study of music is a part of most American Universities and may not be that important in the Caribbean region. However, something about Trinidadians attending a foreign university to get a degree in Pan leaves a burning sensation in my stomach.

We are talking about Pan –“we ting”, as most Trinidadians like to say.

So can someone please enlighten me, help me to understand this concept where Trinidadians must leave the homeland to study Pan in a foreign land? It is interesting to note that Mia Gormandy (an attendee of this course) is the niece of one of the steel pan's genius arrangers, Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe. My ignorance has once again befuddled me and warrants your enlightenment. The video clip provided beneath is that of Mia Cormandy playing a concerto for the steel pan. Do you see this as the future for "Pan" or does this belong to another society? Is this the future for this, our national  instrument?  On the other hand, as a Trinidadian can we see beyond the "Panorama" competition in the Savannah and put the pan on the same level as the violin or piano?  Let's hope that with the new Performing Arts Center and the numerous Universities dotting the landscape in Trinidad that we could awake from this slumber and provide the courses and degrees in the land that gave birth to the instrument and art form. The players don't beat pan anymore so let play to a new drum beat because the nation  deserves it!  We can only hope.  What is your opinion?

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‏قال Unknown
I enjoyed your article and it is a very valid point. It seems like everyone else in the world loves our instrument except us (Trinidadians). I recently played at a Trini wedding in which fellow trinis didn't even mention a word about the pan nor took a noticeable interest in the music being shared. Conversely, when I've played at non-trini weddings, the attendees flocked around the instrument before it was fully set up.
‏قال Santiwah
Isn't that amazing... you are correct and that is a very sad statement to make about our people. We don't appreciate that which is ours. We have to hear it from foreigners. We only cry foul when we hear other lay claim to 'We Ting'
Thank you for your commentary 'hear steel drums play'. Hey don't be a stranger you can participate in this venture. I accept guest posts just add you self to the "Followers" - We can star to make a change together.
‏قال غير معرف…
You have made a valid point. In order for Trinidad to reach to this level, Trini Panmen must learn to read music. For the most part they play by 'ear.'
Pan is an instrument, and the most beautiful one at that, however until pannists can learn to read music, the instrument would never gain the respect that it is due.
Real musicians study the rudimens of theory, and know how to read music.