Pantonic, Dem Stars & CASYM
 ...a Pan Weekend in New York


With Pantonic doing three performances on Saturday 9 August alone, Dem Stars two the same day, and CASYM also being part of the brew, its obvious that pan is almost as plentiful as the rain has been for the last week or two. But then again we are smack in the middle of the New York pan season with the Panorama itself coming up in the next three weeks on August 30.

The award for the hardest working pannists this weekend surely goes to Pantonic Steel Orchestra's  stage side, which had a ‘marathon’ of pan playing within the last thirty-six hours, and they with yet another performance scheduled for Sunday August 10 at Pan Ambassadors' Annual fund-raising barbecue, before their weekend's toil would be done.

Their marathon started off in the Pantonic pan yard on Veronica Place on Friday night, when arranger Clive Bradley 'gave them the music' for a part of their Panorama selection - in what must have been for Bradley an inspiration-led session, which was to take them until six AM on Saturday morning! Then ten AM and earlier found the stage side's core membership 'setting up' at the back of the U-Haul in readiness which for their participation along the Empire Blvd. /Washington Ave. route of the Panamanian Day parade.

Pantonic's appearance in the parade could have been a prelude to J'ouvert on a Labor Day morning in Brooklyn.  Brimming with confidence they confidently dished out for the first time outside their practice sessions in their yard, a 5-minute preview of their 2003 Bradley-arranged Panorama choice "Trini 2 De Bone" to the delight of all, including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who chipped along and sang, proudly declaring that 'of course knew he the tune - David Rudder, Trini 2 De Bone!' having had himself quite a time with it during in Trinidad and Tobago during the carnival season earlier this year.

To cheers and comments like 'oh such beautiful music!' from the mainly Panamanian population along the route, Pantonic played to a dancing audience.  The many Panamanian parade participants included dance contingents and drum and bugle call groups, including one which did an excellent version of Lift Every Voice and Sing aka 'The Black Anthem'.

Next on Pantonic's list of appearances was the Vanderveer All-Day Street Fair on Foster Avenue.  They joined CASYM and Dem Stars, who performed first, with City Councilmember for East Flatbush, Kendall Stewart- who is up for re-election - looking on approvingly at the band's performance.  With Dem Stars setting a blistering pace and warming up the atmosphere which threatened to release rain at any minute, Pantonic followed suit with a slightly shorter musical set with an energy level that bellied an early morning performance already under their belt along with what had been for many of them a sleepless night.

As soon as Dem Stars finished, they packed up their pans and stands to go on to perform at the Farragut Park venue a few blocks down.  Pantonic too followed suit when they completed their stint, rolling their racks along Foster Avenue to the Park to join Dem Stars in what would be their third and final performance for the day.

CASYM then became the center of attention at the Street Fair, with some community members looking on while youngsters opted for tearing up and down on their bicycles, in between their elders, all along the block and with the rare freedom allowed out all vehicular traffic for one day.  The pan players from CASYM enjoyed themselves thoroughly as usual, always putting on a show wherever they go.

So far the ever-threatening rain had not opened up, and that good fortune held for the community crowd gathered in Farragut Park for their Annual Citizen's Participation Community Day.  Marty Markowitz who had been seen at the Panamanian that morning made a brief appearance along with the string of artistes who performed.  Eventually toward the end of the evening finally it was the turn of Dem Stars to introduce the pan segment on the community day entertainment card.

The only matter of concern was the disrespect accorded the steelbands by the simultaneous featuring of a Martial Arts exhibition at the opposite end of the park, complete with the DJ blasting accompanying tracks for it.  Nonetheless for those who gathered around for the pan performances, they got the full benefit of sweet sounds of steel.

With the continuing credible account of themselves, Dem Stars went through their repertoire under grey skies which were turning darker partially due to the time of day, but also because the overhead rain clouds were markedly more visible.  Pantonic after them with a by-now-extra-exuberant performance of Trini 2 De Bone delivered with that out-of-the-blue burst of energy that comes with a 'final performance', which it was for them, marking for the band the end of a music-filled and hectic thirty-six hours.


By CP - Basement Press Release Writer





Date: 8.11.03




Pantonic Steel Orchestra and Panamanian participants in scenes from the Panamanian Day Parade along Empire Boulevard and Washington Avenue, Brooklyn



Brooklyn Borough President MARTY MARKOWITZ enjoys Pantonic's rendition of 'TRINI 2 DE BONE', eventually dancing away to the music



Dem Stars performed first at the Vandeveer Street fair; Kendall Stewart organized the event




Pantonic -  on the second leg of their Saturday 'marathon' also performed second at the Vandeveer Street fair




Last but not least, CASYM  played at the Vandeveer event




 Dem Stars and Pantonic at Farragut Park




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