Use steelpan music to boost tourism product
Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz wants the powers-that-be to make greater use of the steelpan - the national musical instrument of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) in their efforts to address the tourism challenge that presently confronts T&T.
He is convinced that once given a prominent role, the steelpan can help reshape the country’s tourism product, for the better.
Diaz recalled the early days of the legendary Casablanca Steel Orchestra when the band’s address was Argyle Street, East Dry River, Port-of-Spain and a high level of cultural and tourism centric activity was a key feature of the band’s operations.
“When you going up the hill on the left hand side, Casablanca panyard was there, and they used to put on a show with limbo for the tourists. They used to bring tourists in buses on Observatory Street and park up, and the tourists would walk up to the panyard,” said Diaz.
He added, “A tourist boat coming to Trinidad (and) nobody ain’t seeing no limbo. They ain’t seeing no pan. And, they ain’t hearing no calypso. They (tourists) just walking around or driving in a maxi taxi going around the Queen’s Park Savannah, looking at NAPA, (National Academy for the Performing Arts) looking at seven houses you can anywhere in the world (Magnificent 7) which they say is the master piece of Trinidad. They see White Hall. They see the Emperor Valley Zoo. Nobody ain’t want to see no zoo. They can see a zoo any part of the world. They want to hear the culture of T&T.”
The Pan Trinbago president lamented that decision makers were not prepared to properly address the issue.
“They feel that the steelband people ain’t do nothing. Silver Stars used to carry on a show in the panyard and the tourists used to come there for 45 minutes. They clapped. They had a good time, drink some Carib and the band get some money. Nobody entertaining these things.”