Sunday 25 October, 2020

Steelband Foundation revived to make pan profitable

Founding members of the International Steelband Foundation

Founding members of the International Steelband Foundation

A new steel band body is insisting that it has no intention of competing with Pan Trinbago, the governing body for the national instrument. 

The founding members of the International Steelband Foundation, on Wednesday, told the media that they are different from the steel band body which primarily oversees competitions.

“Pan Trinbago is in the business of staging Panorama and whatever else Pan Trinbago does. We are looking at developing the commercial aspects of the steel pan as an industry so you find we will stage a festival not a competition. We will not be in the business of organising competitions or representing steel bands like Pan Trinbago,” said Michael Marcano of BpTT Renegades.

Marcano, Nigel Williams of Massy Trinidad All Stars, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Martin Cain of Desperadoes and Ainsworth Mohammed of Republic Bank Exodus are the founding members of the Foundation, which was established in 2010 by the late attorney Teddy Guerra.

Marcano said the non-profit organisation was established in a time when diversity of the economy was being touted and it was felt they should unite to develop the steel band industry.

Though no one from Pan Trinbago was present at the media launch, Mohammed said former Pan Trinbago President Patrick Arnold was advised about the Foundation and a lot of the executive were present for the formation of the company.

A non-profit company, the ISF has, among its, mandate the benefit of all persons associated with playing the steel pan, the provision of research and development to materials, acoustics, and development of new pan tuners, to organize youth programs, stage concerts and festivals, manufacture and sell steel pans and provide advice on the marketing of the players, instruments and the music.

Mohammed said the organisation has been defunct since it was established and has only been recently revived.

“The steel band movement seem to be experiencing some difficulty at this time and the large bands, we have to come out and say something on behalf of the steel band movement and that is what initiated this, we have to do something at this time,” said Mohammed.

 Though the ISF is open to other bands, the members said they still have to decide how the other bands will be incorporated.

“Some of the things we have to work out is the capitalisation of the company and our projects. We have to determine the long-term, medium–term and short-term projects that we have to do. So even in terms of bringing other bands into the Foundation, the mechanics have to be worked out, we have to determine ownership and how to deal with that aspect of it, whether we can or should remain as a Non-Profit company That is one of the reasons we brought on consultants,” said Marcano.

Among the major projects the Foundation has undertaken is a project to produce prototype pan stands out of Japan and a pan concert on July 22 called Big 5: The Pan Concert.

The concert will feature the five large bands and guest artistes.

Asked his thoughts on the Foundation, Boogsie said their aim is to make money for the pannists and facilitate touring which has dwindled in recent years.

“Bands used to out of the country four or five times a year. There are so many festivals around the world and nobody tapping into it,” he said.



Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: