The curtains fell on the immensely popular PanoGrama virtual steelpan competition on Sunday night to much fanfare. A total of 10 talented pannists representing five countries – USA, France, Belize, T&T and Grenada – pulled out all the stops to entertain and impress the judges. Mathieu Borgne of France emerged victorious.
Barbadian upcoming artiste opened the event with a captivating performance of the PanoGrama anthem, before esteemed adjudicator Dr. Mia Gormandy-Benjamin delivered special remarks.
Dr. Gormandy-Benjamin was happy to see academic institutions such as the University of Trinidad and Tobago and Northern Illinois University represented and shared that “the future of pan is bright.” She also registered her excitement for the future of PanoGrama and encouraged youngsters to participate because “it is a wonderful experience”.
Performing from a chemistry lab, Emmanuel Joseph (T&T) set the tone for the night playing Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison”. Each pannist ensured that their setup and outfit complemented their tune of choice, much to the delight of the virtual audience. Aquila Pereira (T&T) captured the essence of his tune “Portrait of Trinidad” by the Mighty Sniper with colourful imagery of well-known venues throughout Trinidad and Tobago, while Grenada’s Mikiel Smith showed that he was ready to help people survive in his doctor’s coat, complete with a stethoscope. He played Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive”. Shaquille ‘Flogo’ Forbes’ (T&T) electric performance of Michel Camilo’s “Caribe” concluded the pannists’ performance with piercing runs, confetti, and pyrotechnics.
Neptune’s Riddim Section, under their leader Jahvin Neptune, entertained the audience with an ecstatic medley of infectious beats, skillful dancers and carnival characters before the results were announced. Borgne’s calypso version of Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee” got the judges’ nod for the top spot, while T&T’s Hanif Goodridge’s heated performance of Maestro’s “Fiery” copped him second position. Forbes, who won the semifinal round, had to settle for third.
The Frenchman will travel to the Bahamas courtesy the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture – Bahamas. He will also receive a Perfect Steel tenor pan and case, $1,000 USD and a private session with a world-renowned steelpannist. Shaquille ‘Flogo’ Forbes won the award for ‘Best Dressed’ while David Yundi of the USA walked away with the special prize for ‘People’s Choice’.
The results were as follows:
1. Mathieu Borgne (France) – 95.7 pts
2. Hanif Goodridge (T&T) – 94.7 pts
3. Shaquille Forbes (T&T) – 92.7 pts
4. David Yundi (USA) – 91.3 pts
5. Aquila Pereira (T&T) – 86.0 pts
6. Alexander Evans (Belize) – 85.7 pts
7. Jaron Woodsley (T &T) – 83.3 pts
8. Mikiel Smith (Grenada) – 82.3 pts
9. Tevin Shockness (T&T) – 80.0 pts
10. Emmanuel Joseph (T&T) – 77.7 pts
Best Dressed – Shaquille ‘Flogo’Forbes (T&T)
People’s Choice – David Yundi (USA)