‘Pan and Powder’ fills ‘Trini’ streets

Members of the National Steel Orchestra 'vibing' as they entertained the crowd at the Queen's Park Savannah during the Pan and Powder event held on Wednesday night (Vishani Ragobeer photo)

– Guyana’s National Steel Orchestra stuns crowd

THE street steelpan parade dubbed “Pan and Powder” filled the streets of Trinidad on Wednesday night as thousands enjoyed Trinidad’s national instrument.

The front row of players of the National Steel Orchestra enjoying themselves during their spirited performance (Vishani Ragobeer photo)

The parade began with a showcase in front of the City Hall, in Port of Spain and the mammoth crowd there was treated to rousing steelpan music.

Before long, the parade began making its way towards the Queen’s Park Savannah, as thousands of persons ‘chipped’ down the road to the sweet steel pan music.

Leading this parade were two marching bands from Barbados and Guadeloupe. The band from Guadeloupe got the attention of the masses since the delegates were adorned in their carnival costume and their fairly simple March routine was easy to grasp. Behind them were few Trinidadian masqueraders and popular Trinidadian steelbands: Exodus and the Silver Stars.

Trinidadian Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly also joined the parade as the sun set and the bands were getting closer to the Savannah.

Members of the National Dance Company were there with the Golden Arrowhead to show their support for the National Steel Orchestra (Vishani Ragobeer photo)

At the Savannah, on the Grand Stage, the nightly “Country Night” presentations were ongoing. But after Antigua and Barbuda finished their presentation, Guyana, which did its country night presentation since Sunday, took to the stage once again. This time, it was the National Steel Orchestra showing that they were worth their salt when it came to playing the instrument birthed in Trinidad.


The National Steel Orchestra performing in front of the crowd at the Queen’s Park Savannah (Vishani Ragobeer photo)

“Since Carifesta is being held in Trinidad, the home of [steelpan], we’re trying our best to carry as large and as representative a set of steelpan players from Guyana to the home of pan so that we could really represent what the Guyanese steelpan culture is all about,” Guyana’s reigning Senior Soloist, Hanani Ben Lewi had told Guyana Chronicle.
On Monday night, that is exactly what happened. The Guyanese band eased into their performance but by the time they started playing the local soca tunes, patrons in the Savannah were forced to admit that Guyana did not come to play. In fact, at the end of Guyana’s performance the emcee for the night welcomed in Trinidad’s famous “Renegades” steelband, by mentioning that Guyana set a high bar for them to follow.