Who / What is a Panjumbie? - Panjumbie Page 2


My interest in steelpan has taken me to Trinidad Carnival annually for almost 25 years, to Brooklyn for the Labor Day weekend Caribbean Carnival events for over 20 years, to Notting Hill Carnival in London, as well as local Caribbean carnivals held here on Long Island.  Most Caribbean styled carnivals involve a major steelband competition often called a "panorama."  In Trinidad, many of the steel orchestras that compete each have as many as 120 musicians.  In Brooklyn, competition regulations limit each orchestra to a maximum 0f 100 musicians.  If you have not heard or seen a steelband of that size, you are missing something special. 

Another aspect of Steelpan involves the occasional Steelband Music Festivals which usually take place in Trinidad.  Here, the emphasis is often on classical music or original compositions in the classical or jazz style, as opposed to calypso or soca.  Hearing a steel orchestra play such music is a phenomenal experience.

When I get the opportunity, I make audio recordings of steel orchestras, as well as other mostly acoustic instrumental and choral music.  I have been involved in the audio/video business for over a half century, beginning when I was in the junior high school A/V club.  Most of my professional career, I have spent designing, installing, repairing, and using professional audio and video equipment.  Audio has been my specialty.  Much of that time I have had to teach others how to use the equipment and, in order to do that, I had to be able to do it myself.  I also had to develop critical listening skills, in order to troubleshoot audio problems, particularly subtle ones.  For many years, as a part of my involvement with radio stations, my work entailed recording and editing audio. 

Over a period of time I purchased some professional equipment and started doing my own recordings.  When I got involved with steelpan, I immediately wanted to record the instrument, and my equipment and technique has evolved over the years.  I have recorded many hours of pan music, some of which has been commercially released.

Not being satisfied with listening to and making my own recordings of live performances, I collect recordings (CD's, DVD's, records and tapes) not only of steelpan, but also of calypso and soca.  I can listen to pan day and night if I wish.  The quality of the recordings varies greatly: Some are excellent, some mediocre, others awful.  They are, all too often, technically deficient recordings of excellent performances.


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