Whey De Panman

Music & Lyrics by Mark E. Loquan
Arranged by Jason Dasent, Mark Loquan
Pan by Andy Narell
Sung by Mark Loquan
© September 1, 1999 All Rights Reserved
Published by MLQ Music Ltd., email: mlqpan(at)hotmail.com
Released 2000 for the Passion for Pan Album


“Doh leh we waste away! There’s more to life than just making a living”

At that time, I was wondering what happened to all the many pannists, arrangers et al, and where they all went after Panorama. Most of the members I performed with from Super Sonics in Pan is Beautiful IX ended up going to Japan, most are now with the group CFS Pantasy. Some people were going on cruise ships, and looking for work outside the Panorama event, mainly outside of Trinidad. The headquarters for the pan organization had burnt down on Edward Street, many empty pan racks could be seen in overgrown areas outside of panyards, and there was a feeling of general disgruntlement in the pan community with players not getting paid. Some simply gave up and never played their pans again. Ironically, Trinidad and Tobago was hosting the World Steelband Festival in the year 2000. Not surprisingly, we see today a shortage of players for Panorama, and even well known bands advertising in the newspapers for players.

This song was recorded in the US, UK and Trinidad, and presented a real challenge for me. Jason Dasent, who I had been working with to record the Passion for Pan album, went to England for a study period, leaving me to send him rough demos electronically, and him sending me his arrangement electronically. At the same time, 
I was most fortunate to have Andy Narell agree to perform the background pan tracks on the vocal version, only to send and receive tracks via ADAT tape from California where he was based. This then had to be converted and synchronized with Jason’s music, with the vocal tracks finally done at Jason’s studio in Trinidad which was operated at the time by Ian John.

"Boogsie" does the pan version, and was amazing to watch. It was the first time, that I had met the Mozart of pan, Len "Boogsie" Sharpe. He literally came to the studio, heard the song once, and immediately recorded his pan tracks, with perfect interpretation, and not asking about any chords or key. He may have spent
40-45 minutes in the studio for the most. Incredible!

Years later, Kareem Brown would arrange (and score) the song for the Lydian Steel Ensemble for the Pan in Education CD. Thanks to Dr. Pat Bishop for believing in the project.
» Sanch Electronix Ltd. 
» eCaroh Caribbean Emporium

I thought a video would visualize what I was trying to say in this song, 
» which can be seen at YouTube


Have ya ever wondered where de panmen does go
Ask after Panorama, just to see who know
Know some fellas gone away to... gig in Japan
Mus’ be better than staying here and be forgotten

Sad to see some panmen starring... just once a year
When all is said and done vanish into thin air
One man take a work on a cruise ship... “fellas ah gone
Ha to leave meh wife behind, and meh newborn”

Ah want to know whey de panman go
Foreign shows, whey dey appreciate us all
And whey dey go, de dollars flow
What happening, dey making a living... making a living

Tell meh whey we going when de head ha no home
Yet we hosting World Steelband Festival all on we own
Panmen still waiting for payment... from the year before
Some living from hand to mouth, is dis what we about?

No one could doubt we have de talent and skill
Every week we could entertain, it just takes some will
Sometimes ah really wonder... how big we could be
Let’s get organize, and think globally

So leh we know whey de panman go
Ah realize, dey so underutilize
We cyar deny, de movement growing
Open your eyes, is outside it flowing... outside it flowing


Panmen running panmen in a literal sense
Why we doh stop “dis is we ting” nonsense
Doh leh we waste away, ah even hear some say
Whey de panman?

We might be lucky if we on a stage side
Is a way some ah us does keep we selves occupied
Meh pardner look like a badjohn... surviving from pan
He could get on, and blow ya mind in any competition

Ah doh know whey de panman go
Well ah say, stop learning de hard way
Moving on, to another dawn
Ash Wednesday morn, ask whey de panman, ask whey de panman
Ask whey de panman... gone

(Ad Lib)