Muhammad Abu Bakr Speaks on Mas

Pan Yard
Pan Yard

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Pan Yards should be used as Community Centres

Staff Article
Interview Recorded: April 24, 2005
Posted: April 30, 2005

The same is with the sponsorship. Look at Chinese Laundry kept a big thing in the Savannah and brought out all those bands. You want to tell me the Carnival body cannot do that. We bring out the biggest part of the population in Trinidad Carnival. Why can't we bring out something at least twice a year in the Savannah, and the same bands that want us to give them seventy-five and eighty five thousand dollars cannot come and play so that we could make money to help them when the time comes?

Trinidad is too dormant for the kind of culture and the kind of richness we have here. If you want to go somewhere today, you do not have a place to go, nothing cultural. Long ago you could have gone to the gardens, you could hear pan, you used to look forward to go somewhere. When you go to church on a Sunday morning you know in the evening you could go and listen to a little pan in the Savannah. People were more involved, it was so nice, and they didn't have time to think about any nonsense. When you come back from church you cleaning your little shoes and pressing your clothes. In those days it was real psychedelic shack, I used to dress psychedelic with tomato red pants; so it was nice.

The culture could do a lot for Trinidad and Tobago. For example, you have Casablanca band right around the corner. That is a band with history, and if you know the history of Casablanca, then you real know the history of Casablanca. They are one of the oldest bands with a very good history, and they are right opposite Belmont Intermediate, a boy's school. If they could make it mandatory, a part of the curriculum, to get these youths to come across and learn music there, learn to play the pan, that means you could have a band and you will have players and you would be keeping the youths away from stupidness. At lunch time these youths and them walking down the road, they may get into fights, dock in some place and smoke, or they go back and get kicks off the teachers. I see it because I grew up in it. If they could utilize these children's time it will be good. They say the youths do not like pan, but that is not true. I could tell you that because sometimes when you go under a stage you will see the amount of youths that are playing pan. The youths are not being encouraged. The Pan Yards should be used as Community Centres. When you have a pan yard being used as a community center, you can create young musicians. Instructors can come in and work with the kids. They can learn to play pan, start building themselves. You can get real musicians out of these kids, because they have talent. I work with a lot of youths and you would be surprised to see the kind of discipline they have, you would wish it never ends.


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