Gunslingers Steel Band to Trinidad for competition

POSTED: 08/6/15 6:52 PM

St. Maarten – The Gunslingers Steel Band will participate in the first international conference and panorama competition in Trinidad from August 4 to 9, where 27 countries will compete at the historical Queens Park. A 40-strong delegation of the Gunslingers will perform King Timo’s hit song Pan Revival.

The week of events has something to offer even the most seasoned pan aficionado. The conference begins next Tuesday with an invitation-only business session as PanTrinbago meets with international delegates about international cooperation in the world of pan and the role Pan Trinbago in facilitating this.

Aldric Benjamin, public relations officer of the Gunslingers Steel Band told this newspaper that the group is excited about representing the island. “We are traveling with a big group, you can have a maximum of forty and we decided to go with a full delegation. The competition will be tight but we are confidant to put our island on the map.” The competition consists of an eight minute round and will focus on the pan composition.

The conference is structured to explore seven major pan-related themes ranging from history and development of the steelpan, science and technology and social dimension to education, performance, economic and industrial development and steelpan organizations. A major focus will be on the construction of the instrument itself and several talks are set to explore ongoing studies into pan and metallurgy.

Hameed Shaqq will talk about Anthony Williams’ use of physics in the design of pan and leading Canadian pan tuner Ed Peters will talk about creating standardized courses for teaching pan tuning. Soren Maloney will discuss his exploration of new processes for dishing pans and UWI professors Clement Imbert and Brian Copeland will present research of various aspects of pan manufacturing.

The overall winner can win $250,000 for the first place in the competition while second place gets $200,000 and third place $150,000. Benjamin says a panel of eight judges will judge the competition. The Gunslingers are ready to compete against the other steel pan groups in the world.

Gunslingers have two dimensions – a band and an academy of steel pan music. “Basically we teach you all the basic of musique, solfege, notes and chords for example. Everything that a music school should teach you, we teach you. You have to learn the history of the pan. We work very close with the schools, if you don’t have an average of 62.5% on your report card you don’t play pan. We are very strict with that, we have a lot of rules and regulations, rules of conduct. You don’t follow them you are out. The group is a very serious organization.”

The group will leave tomorrow and return on August 11. The competition takes place every two years. Trinidad is known for steel pan and has a rich culture of panorama

The full conference schedule is available at

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