Written by Simeon L. Sandiford
Thursday, 21 July 2011 22:18


Panorama is a unique steelband competition indigenous to the culture of Trinidad and Tobago, inaugurated during the Carnival Season of 1963. Steel orchestras consisting of between 20 and 120 members playing Panorama Music compete before a panel of judges for the title of Panorama Champions. The competition is usually held in three phases- preliminary, semi-finals and finals.

Panorama Music is a ten-minute steelband arrangement of the melody of a calypso, which is originally about ninety seconds to two minutes long. These arrangements when fully exploited are varied, interesting and challenging. The structure of a typical arrangement includes an introduction, statement of the melody, harmonic and melodic developments, changes of key, changes of rhythm, modulations, improvisations and a finale.

This album (CD0001) is a compilation of Panorama compositions played at reduced tempo, and recorded live at steelband panyards in Trinidad and Tobago and St. Thomas. It is intended to demonstrate the principles of sound-staging as applied to large steelband ensembles. Panorama Music is intrinsically sweeter when played at coasting speed and this allows the listener to understand more clearly how these complex arrangements are structured.

©2000 Simeon L. Sandiford