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Woman an pan?

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March 8, 2014 by Fensic

Women an pan.

It have ah clearer example of how tings does change dan dat?

Ah few years ago, when de event in Toronto was still called Caribana, ah was on Lakeshore Boulevard, Drive; whichever, wid must be hundreds an hundreds ah udder males enjoyin de scenery. Ah happen tuh notice how plenty people was eyein dis one woman in de band ah was in. De fact dat she was beatin pan is what had dem. Dey never did see dat before. Is like she was from outer space de way dey was starin she dong.  Fuh ah while it was me watchin dem watchin she.

Now, after watchin Panorama 2014 an all de woman beatin pan, ah fascinated an curious mihself. Ah want answers tuh all de various permutations ah de question of Woman an Pan?

Like when did woman start beatin pan? How it happen? Why it happen? What it mean fuh pan goin forward? Oh yeah an how come some ah dem so young. Imagine dis one dey interview say she 11 an was ah section leader. Not only dat buh she does teach udders pan. At eleven years yes. Couva Joylanders ah tink was de ban.

Who remember when steelbands used tuh clash all de time? De late great Lord Blakie sing about why he was never goin an jump up in ah steel band in PoS again.

In dem same days ah gyul gorn wid she freshness an tell she fadder she new boyfriend is ah panman an is out he house he puttin she oui. Ah could hear one such conversation all now.


“Yes Sharon, what tuh want?”

“Dahdeeeee? Yuh listenin?”

“Yes darlin, ah listenin. What yuh want?”

“Daddy ah want tuh tell tuh someting.”

“Tell mih ah listenin.”

“Daddy, ah have ah boyfriend. He real nice.”

“Ingrid! Come an hear about we daughter boyfriend!”

“Mammy done know daddy”

“Before me? Wait! Doh tell mih dis boyfriend does beat pan?”

“Buh he still nice daddy, ah want yuh tuh like him.”

“Ingrid? Start puttin yuh daughter clothes in ah grip. She leavin dis house now now. Sharon? No daughter ah mines eh havin no badjohn panman as ah boyfriend yuh hear. All ah dem fellas is hooligans from behind de bridge. Go help yuh mudder pack yuh clothes. Yuh cyar stay here no more.”

All what happen tuh change tings since dem days?

Ah friend was askin mih why I tort tings are de way dey is. Like I go know dat. All I know is what ah does see.

Is all kind ah females beatin pan now; young ones, real young ones, ole ones, professional ones, like de one wukkin fuh CAL who son beatin pan wid she too. It have Indian beaters, Chinee ones, Syrian ones, grandmudders. All kind ah Trinbago women. I does tell people eef dey want tuh know de true state ah tings in T&T society, watch tings like de entertainment at carnival. Trinbago far more complex dan de dotish an simple analysis people, includin me, does put out dey at times.

All dat an ah still eh no closer tuh answers tuh mih questions. Ah really want tuh know how women went from not being able tuh have steel band men as boyfriends tuh becomin steel band women; correction, “pannists”.  Sharon gorn from gettin put out she daddy house tuh where she, she daughter an she granddaughter is pannists.

Ah wonder what role pan in schools play? Could dat one move by itself start de demise ah dem daddies who ban dey daughters from datin “hooligans an badjohns”? Was pan in schools okay fuh dem as long as de school wasn’t co-ed?

What about de results ah promotin pan overseas? People not familiar wid de history ah pan only hearin dis fabulous musical instrument an want tuh play it fuh deyself? When we see women from overseas playin pan it help push Trini women tuh play pan too? Yuh eh tink so? Too dotish ah suggestion yuh tink? Alright.

How about fuhgettin foreigners an just studyin de history ah de pan movement? If women wasn’t familiar wid de trials an tribulations ah pan would dat draw dem tuh pan as pan started gettin accepted? What about eef dey familiar wid de history? Would dat draw women tuh pan?

Ah do ah lil readin tuh see who torkin about Woman an Pan an what dey sayin. Ah couple tings ah pick up might be part ah why or how women so prevalent in pan.

Ah pan historian name Dr. Kim Johnson tork about flag women in ah article. He say dey was arong when steel bands was de major musical force on de roads fuh carnival. Ah next man question just how much flag woman it really had. I leave dem tuh argue dat one.

I was interested in de statement about de steel band no longer being de main providers ah music on de roads. Dat transition start ah long time ago. I remember people takin sides; one like brass bands, de udder stickin wid pan. Me eh need no historian tuh tell me dat cause I was dey when de history was makin. So wid dat element ah pan changin, de road was open fuh woman tuh join steel bands? When was de larse time two steel band clash? Was women beatin pan in numbers yet?

Ah article ah read say dat de first woman beatin pan in St. Vincent was doin it in de 1950s. While dat was before my time, ah would tink when my time did reach ah would ah notice woman beatin pan.

What ah used tuh hear couldn’t be right. People used tuh say dat dem woman who was tight tight wid panmen was jagabat an wahbine. Ah doubt it.

We cyar fuhget dat pan had ah tough time growin up. Sharon fadder might seem funny now buh in dem days he was probably de norm fuh daddies protectin dey daughters from what dey see as de dangers an vulgarities of steel bands.

Ah next article tork about de influence ah Hollywood in de 1940s.  Flims influence band names. Yuh had Hell Yard – All Stars; Merry Boys – Casablanca; Laventille Boys – Desperadoes and River Lady – Destination Tokyo.

Pan is now grown up an in wid anyting dat grow up an evolve, people who would or could ah never touch it, cyar get enough of it now.

While it have more woman in pan now eh mean woman takin over pan. Even eef dey could an did, what would dat mean? Ah cyar answer dat. All ah know is dat woman in pan. How hard it is tuh understand de combo?


Places dat help mih make mih mind up:

Doh fuhget Blakie: 


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