Dey want pan, dey want pan, dey want pan.
Dey want the sweet, sweet rhythm of de steel pan . . . .
Dey want the ping, pang, pong
And de ping, pang, pong . . . .
Dey want de ping pang, ping pang,
Ping pang of de steel drum . . . .
These lyrics by Mighty Liar (with she adapted to dey) best described the feeling of Barbadians this past weekend as they feasted on a diet of pan. It started with the first course of Pan Fusion, hosted by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on the grounds of his official residence Ilaro Court on Friday night.
There, the band considered the best in the world, The Royal Barbados Police Force Band, teamed up with the likes of the masters Pan Extreme for a performance of Red Plastic Bag’s hit Something’s Happening, and surely enough Biggie Irie’s riveting Nah Going Home, which message must have been taken by all.
Steel pan with a difference came from the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra. The best way to describe their music was a jazz fusion, filled with artistic complexities for the modern ear. Seal’s Kiss From A Rose was given new life by Fourchestra, ironically a trio, that boasted Scales on the pans, Phil Bronson on the drums and Cody Wright on bass.
Earl Brooks Jr had promised to thrill, and that he did, dishing out the Luther Vandross favourite Never Too Much to tremendous cheer from an appreciative audience. He teamed up with our own sax virtuoso Arturo Tappin for When Horn Meets Steel –– The Conversation. And it was just that a lively discussion between one of the newest instrument of the 20th century crafted right here in the region and the saxophone whose origins date back to the 1800s.
And the pair had the grounds of Ilaro rocking when they did the Jackie Opel spouge piece You No Good and Earth, Wind And Fire staple September. Big People Party by Farmer Nappy would be an addition.
When the curtain eventually came down on the event, it was clear every year since the National Cultural Foundation has been hosting it, it continues to get bigger and bigger; and the quality of persons performing has been soaring.
One wonders how they will top it next year.