“ Pan 'needs more respect' ”

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Liking the steel pan is not the same as respecting it, says leader of the Mosaic Steel Orchestra David Ziggy Walcott.  Even as today’s event, Pan Pun De Sand, staged by the National Cultural Foundation at Brandons Beach, is expected to attract thousands of spectators, Walcott does not believe it is enough to pay homage to the instrument and its culture.“Respecting pan means getting involved in its development, appreciating what is happening with it. A lot of people in Barbados would come down to Pan Pun De Sand and after that, that’s it; nothing more until the next year,” he complained.  While he recognised  national efforts to train players, he was concerned there was no reinvestment in orchestras.“A number of bands came out of classes and workshops but they are not regenerating players. There is a need for regenerating people to come into bands, particularly those who played pan at schools and in workshops,” he said.Walcott recently aired similar views on the Starcom Network’s Crop-Over radio programme Fireworks with host Dennis Johnson.He developed the point recently in a conversation with the SUNDAY SUN.“After the big event, very few people come and say I want to get involved in steel pan; I want to become a member, even a non-playing member,” he said, explaining his group had a number of ancillary members who were all vital to its development and he wished the same for other groups.“It allows people to get involved and use skills they might have professionally to help build the culture.” (MS)