Dominican-born pannist, Nevin Roach, has used the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown of many across the world, to highlight and shed a positive light on the pan community, through his brainchild project, PanoGrama.
Roach explained that on April 13, 2020, he found himself watching live entertainment on Instagram, when the idea to host a virtual steelpan competition hit. “When I saw how entertaining Instagram live was, I thought I could do something similar for steelpan”, he said. Apart from providing fresh entertainment, he also saw the idea as a way in which pannists could potentially earn through the offer of cash prizes, while simultaneously providing a platform for musicians to showcase their talent internationally
With a real passion for the arts, Roach went to work immediately. After much planning and consulting, PanoGrama 2020 – solo edition was ready to take flight. The first edition saw 20 pannists showcase their talent to the delight of an international audience on Instagram.
The preliminary rounds of the first virtual steelpan competition were streamed live on Instagram @inev88 from April 24 to 25, where judges David “ZigE” Walcott of Barbados, Northern Illinois University graduate Kenneth Joseph, and Ojay Richards of Trinidad & Tobago, had the arduous task of narrowing the field to the 15 semi-finalists who performed on April 30 and then the top ten finalists who performed on May 3.
As stipulated by competition rules, each musician was required to select a tune from any genre of music and perform for the live Instagram audience and judges, who paid close attention to the technicality and melodic interest of variations and solos executed, dynamics and presentation among other criteria.
Scores of viewers from across the Caribbean region and international countries such as the US, UK, Japan, Germany and Spain, tuned in night after night to witness the captivating performances of each pannist. The competition also featured entertaining acts from the 2019 Vincentian Ragga Monarch, Hance John, Monk/Riddim Tribe dancer, Nandi, 5-time Barbados Power Monarch, Mikey and ace pannist Jadon Phillip of Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra, Tobago, much to the delight of the virtual audience.
President of Pan Trinbago, Mrs. Beverley Ramsey-Moore, delivered special remarks on the night of the finals, which saw Earl Brooks Jr. of T&T being crowned the Inaugural PanoGrama champion. His thrilling performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and a random tune selected by Roach, garnered him 107.67 out of a possible maximum of 110 points.
Dubbed historic and a success by many, PanoGrama united the international pan community, which showed appreciation through congratulatory messages and donations. This enabled PanoGrama Entertainment to make a sizeable contribution to Pan Trinbago’s Social Prosperity Fund, which was started to assist members of the steelpan community facing financial hardships.
A true experience for spectators and performers alike, PanoGrama will definitely be back in 2021, bigger and better, Roach promises.
- Earl Brooks Jr, TT – 107.67
- Dejean Cain, TT –106
- Kersh Ramsey, TT – 105.33
- Keishuan Julien, TT – 104
- Mark Forde, Barbados – 103.67
- Kern Sumerville, TT – 103
- Hashim Durant, Barbados – 102
- Tyeesha Alexander, TT – 95
- Amarni Gomes, Antigua –93
- Isidore “Dow” York, St Maarten – 92.67
CONNECT WITH PANOGRAMA