Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 3rd 2014 Contents A28
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, March 3, 2014
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From Page A27
There was a buoyant atmosphere
amongst the pan aficionados, but none
of the debauchery that accompanied
the semifinals in the north stand and
on the greens.
Elder patrons, ministers and specially
invited international guests mingled.
The competition, which began at 7 pm,
ran late into the next morning. The large
orchestras did not begin until 11.45 pm
and the final performance was around
Some people took the occasional forty
winks as the draw for the final had
saved the best for last. All Stars, Phase
II and Renegades were bands 9, 10 and
11 to perform and all ended up in the
top three, while Desperadoes, who per-
formed fourth, finished fourth.
An army of Despers fans had walked
onstage with them. But their chosen
song, Spankin by Superblue, had per-
haps become a little tired given it s con-
The eventual winners by just one
point, Phase II, was the only orchestra
to play an original composition, a tra-
dition Len "Boogsie" Sharpe has main-
tained throughout the 42-year lifespan
of his Woodbrook band.
Perhaps the originality of the music
earned them that winning extra point.
It was, after all, too close to call for
many in the crowd.
Trinidad All Stars, who had been vic-
torious in the semis, seemed favourites
to win and, after their final performance,
the crowd justifiably assumed they had
just witnessed the new champions.
All Stars delivers unique sound
As they had demonstrated in the
semis, All Stars delivered a sound on a
different level to the other bands.
Whether it was the tuning, the way
their instruments are made, or the way
they strike the steel, the sonic sensation
rang clear and harmonic, like a 100
sweet cowbells, 200 kettle drums and
a dozen deep resounding timpani.
They bounded about non-stop, grin-
ning with deranged glee. As they struck
off the final notes the roars from the
grand stand went on and on.
But the very next performance robbed
them of victory by a solitary judge s
Phase II should not feel guilty at hav-
ing "tiefed" the win, as some pan fans
commented on Facebook thereafter.
They have themselves lost out by a
point on more than one occasion.
Midweek, the T&T Guardian had vis-
ited the Phase II panyard on Hamilton
Street, Woodbrook and watched as
Boogsie drilled his players over and over
again on his composition, Jump High,
until some of the players faces took on
dead-eyed, disbelieving expressions that
seemed to say "Why are you doing this
to us, Boogsie, we wanna go home!"
The two Japanese girls who play with
Phase II looked drained at the late-night
rehearsals. The youngest member, Ruth,
aged just 11, remained cheery enough,
bright eyed and smiling despite it being
way past her bedtime.
It paid off. After their triumph in the
early hours of yesterday morning, they
can all now sleep contentedly for a week,
starting Ash Wednesday.
Onstage at the Savannah, with Destra
Garcia vigorously waving a green flag
wearing a t-shirt and dungaree shorts,
the drained visages of Phase II had dis-
appeared, replaced by lit-up smiles.
They were focused and determined
despite having to wait until nearly 4
am to play and despite somebody being
stabbed in front of the band as they
practised on the drag.
Their crescendo finish, building up
from an almost inaudible pianoforte to
a crashing forte, left their supporters
squealing excitedly and the audience
knew then that the judges decision
would be tight.
Phase II goes for
hat-trick next year
Phase II won, retaining their crown,
and now get another chance to go for
the elusive hat-trick next year.
The following day, the T&T Guardian
spoke to Junior Telfer, a foundation
member of PanTrinbago and a Phase
II supporter since the band s inception.
He waved a flag onstage on Saturday
night with a lion on it, a tribute to his
"In the 1950s I had a great friend
called Eamon Thorpe, the leader and
arranger of a band called Crossfire, from
St James," Telfer said.
"He said to me, Junior there s a young
pan player I want you to hear. He was
about seven years old and they used to
put him to stand on a box so the crowd
could see him. That boy was Boogsie."
Later, in 1972, Boogsie would form
Phase II with some of his friends.
"He is from the heart and has been
since the beginning. We who have been
fans since day one love him and his
Telfer went on to sound an important
cautionary message about the future of
the national instrument and its propo-
"Phase II, like so many of the steel-
bands, have had a struggle to maintain
the space for their panyards and it s
time Government stepped in. Usually
they occupy a piece of land they don t
He said those in power in T&T would
make a lot of political capital by getting
the land valued and then buying it for
the bands to keep as their own.
"With the huge amount of money
coming from the petroleum industry
and with the steelband being the defin-
itive creative work of art to come out
of that industry, since all the original
instruments were made from oil drums,
they should put enough money aside
to purchase the pieces of land and sign
them over to a committee determined
by the bands themselves."
Petrotrin Phase II would certainly
drink to that as they toast their well
II retains crown
A member of Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove reacts excitedly on hearing their first place in the results of the
Large Band category while members of second-placed Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars take in their placing
after the final at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain on Sunday morning. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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