The sweet sound of pan
—National Steel Orchestra does Guyana proud at CARIFESTA 14
DPI, Guyana, Monday August 19,2019
Guyana’s National Steel Orchestra, on Sunday evening, had patrons beaming and tapping their feet in time to sweet pan sounds. The band’s wide repertoire included snippets from several Michael Jackson tune to Guyana’s 2019 Mashramani Monarch Brandon Harding’s ‘Alive’.
Their performance in the birthplace of the steel pan did not go unnoticed and was lauded.
Ravi Sahatoo, a resident of Trinidad, said that he was simply blown away by the powerful tunes drummed out by the young talents.
“Taking an instrument from Trinidad and playing like that is exceptional… it was really good, I enjoyed it. I do not normally listen to pan; I like classical music however, this kind of music I thoroughly I enjoyed it.” Sahatoo told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that he will be looking out for the team during the remainder of the festival, in hopes of once again being pleasantly surprised.
Sasha John, also from the twin-island Republic, said that she was caught off-guard by the sweet sounds coming from Guyana’s National Steel Orchestra and noted that that also rival her homelands’ ‘Desperadoes’ steel pan band.
“We did not know what to expect from Guyana but hearing the pan played here, it meets up to our Trinidad band as well,” she remarked. John hopes the team will continue in this vein, as her homelands’ steel band would not mind healthy competition from their Caribbean neighbour.
Grace Cannin-Andrew, said that while she could not recognise all of the tunes, the playing piqued her interest enough for her to stop and listen. “I did not know the tunes they were playing but the way they were playing…they made me want to dance, you know.”
The members of the National Steel Orchestra have represented Guyana at several international, regional and local events such as Pan-o-rama or during Mashramani. They told DPI even though they are seasoned performers, it is always a welcome treat to be appreciated.
Newcomer to the festival, Tameka Castello said “I was excited, you know…going to practice has been a challenge but I took it on and I am glad that I did because I am here enjoying this experience.” Her fellow band member Jovanka Williams, was also proud to represent Guyana on the regional stage said: “Every time we come to CARIFESTA it gets bigger and better and we are loved where ever we go. We brought everything to our performance, we had vibe, we had hype and a wide variety of music to bless people with.”
The band will continue spotlighting the talent Guyana has to offer, for the remainder of the festival.