Arranger Kersh Ramsey sweeps THA Pan Champs

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Arranger Kersh Ramsey gestures as Katzenjammers performs at Panorama medium band finals on Sunday, at Parade Grounds, Bacolet. – Photo courtesy THA

ARRANGER Kersh Ramsey swept the THA Pan Champs 2024, with victories in the large band, small band and single pan categories on Tuesday night, at Parade Grounds, Bacolet.

The results mirrored that of 2023 with Katzenjammers, T&TEC New East Side Dimension and Metro Stars taking the top honours.

Katzenjammers, fresh off their victory in the Panorama medium band final on Sunday, collected $120,000 for the Pan Champs win in the large band category.

The competition, which showcases the island’s best in steelpan, featured five large bands, eight small and two single pan orchestras.

Katzenjammers, the band out of Black Rock, retained their title scoring 283 points with their selection of the 1985 soca Rock It, sang by Merchant.

In second place, there was a tie between Carib Dixeland Steel Orchestra and NGC Steel Xplosion with 269 points, playing This Melody Sweet and Both ah Dem, respectively.

In the small bands category, T&TEC New East Side Dimension of Belle Garden topped the category with Kitchener’s Toco Band. The 2024 Panorama small band champions won $80,000 for Tuesday’s performance.

In second place was Uptown Fascinators with 275 points playing Chutney Bacchanal, with Tobago Panthers settling for third place with 269 points, playing Teaser.

Metro Stars won the single pan competition with 256 points, with a rendition of Devon George’s If ah Rude ah Rude. They earned $55,000.

In second place was Natural Mystic with 236 points, playing Tourist Leggo.

All three winning bands were arranged by Ramsey.

Advisor to the Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Dr Charleston Thomas said Tobago is in a very good place where pan is concerned. Thomas said Tobago is witnessing a spectacular exhibit of musical talent, melodies and arrangement.

“The rich story and history of the steelpan need not convince us any more of the value of this instrument and of the different aspects of our lives, as we produce and keep nurturing our civilisation. If nothing else, beyond giving us a musical experience like no other instrument can, it has provided livelihoods for a wide range of people, wide cross-sections of the society, and it has enhanced our own way of experiencing what we call Trinidad and Tobago.”

He said Tobago boasts stellar arrangers such as Duvone Stewart, Ramsey and Ojay Richards.

“Through their work, younger people on the island and elsewhere – the larger nations – see what creative labour looks like and see what creative excellence means as an outcome.”

He added: “As part of our own cultural richness, the division continues to pay particular attention to the development and enhancement to everything we call artistic. The music industry has indeed been (through) too many challenges over the last few years – one of which has been the covid19 pandemic…

“Notwithstanding that, challenges are a natural way and a natural process in the whole business of music and artistic development.”

He pledged the division’s support to Pan Trinbago and to all other members of the musical and artistic fraternity in Tobago, and by extension Trinidad and Tobago.

Chairman of Pan Trinbago Tobago Region Brian Thomas said Tobago steelbands continue to dominate the national Panorama competitions.

“I take this opportunity to congratulate all the bands which participated in this year’s Panorama competition. The region extends our undying gratitude to the THA, and by extension the Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation and the Tobago Festivals Ltd, for their continued support, assistance and development of the steelband fraternity in Tobago.”