Steel bands need more, says ZigE
Coming from “pantastic” Crop Over weekend, many are still talking about some of the great performances, and reminiscing.
But one of Barbados’ most renowned pannists, David ZigE Walcott, is concerned about the lack of development within the pan community.
ZigE, who performed with his band Mosaic at Pan Pun De Sand last Sunday, told Bajan Vibes that if pan was not treated properly, it would die of natural causes.
“I think corporate Barbados should support the local steel bands a little more. I basically run Mosaic from my pocket. It’s a little hard; but if we don’t do it, Mosaic doesn’t perform. It’s a lot of sacrifice. But if we had assistance
it would be great.
“Even if a business would come forward and say, ‘Let’s sponsor them for the day, so they can have some cash flow to tune the bands; for uniforms’. There is a lot of fine-tuning that goes into steel bands; you don’t just set up and play. Maintenance is very expensive.
“There is a lot we need help with; if not we will die a natural death,” he said.
But apart from sponsorship, ZigE said he believed the development of pan in Barbados had a long way to go. He offered some suggestions on how the island could further push pan for the interest to grow.
“At the community level, if we can have zoning –– put 50 steel pans in the north, east, west and south; and straight off the back you have four large steel bands. The schools that currently have steel bands can open the doors for the community to come in and use them with the right training; have a structured programme that can create a panorama, or even another Mosaic.
“Pan is not as big as it should be. Yes, we have a big following for pan, and you can see that from Sunday. But there is not enough pan that you can go out there and support various bands,” ZigE complained.
However, he still recognizes the “high love for pan, at least among patrons”. This he said was evident in the massive crowd at Sunday’s Pan Pun De Sand.
“I think it was a great event. The crowd keeps getting bigger and bigger each year; and I think it’s an event that should be continued.
“For the audience it was great. For the band it was great. We just want to continue to soar,” he said.
And ZigE is definitely speaking from a place of authority and genuine concern, because any conversation held about pan in this country with out ZigE would simply be off-key and out of tune.
Speaking specifically of the band Mosaic, the pannist said he was proud of how far it had come and he was looking forward to doing even greater things with it.
“Mosaic for me is like the phoenix. It’s about seven to eight years now we have been together. The name came about because we had members from all different bands and communities, and so on.
“It’s like I came up with the name because we wanted to do all forms of different music. That’s how Mosaic basically came about.
“It is fun being with the band. I love it. I direct the band, but I let them lead it. I have to give credit to the band captain who is a very good leader. His name is Tyrone Anderson.
“Roston Wiltshire, the son of RPB, arranges. I’m just trying to give the young arrangers a chance to show off their skills,” ZigE explained.
He added that they are more things on the horizon for the band.
“We may be doing some things at Party Monarch, and a few more things which we are really looking forward to.”