Earl Brooks Jnr is the winner of the first ever Panograma solo pan competition. The final, held on Instagram on Sunday night, featured ten competitors, six of them qualifying from T&T. Other finalists represented St Maarten, Barbados and Antigua Barbuda.
Four of T&T’s pan players filled the top four position. Brooks Jnr was followed by Dejean Cain, Kersh Ramsey and Keishaun Julien, respectively. Fifth place was filled by Barbadian pannist Mark Forde.
Performing in position five, Brooks Jnr gave a well rounded performance opening his act as a ghoul to compliment his tune of choice, Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Based in New Jersey, USA, Brooks Jnr is the co-arranger of Hatters Steel Orchestra, a designation he shares with his popular father Earl Brooks Snr. He also attended Berklee College of Music.
Performing David Rudder’s Hammer, Roadblock arranger and crackshot tenor player Dejean Cain placed a close second to Brooks Jnr. Also closely placed in third position was Ramsey, having Chick Corea’s Spain as his tune of choice. Fourth-placed Julien performed Toni Braxton’s Unbreak My Heart, while Forde performed Mikey’s Feting Family.
Panograma 2020 was produced by Nevin Roach, a panman of Tobago’s Uptown Fascinators, winner of this year’s National Panorama (Small) title. The winner of the final will receive a US$500 first prize and each finalist will get a US$100 appearance fee.
Speaking to Guardian Media after the competition, Roach said: “It was a packed house for the final of this inaugural Panograma final. We surpassed 1,000 viewers, with approximately 1,800 people in total.
“Executing this was no easy task and, despite a number of hiccups tonight, I am very happy to cross the finish line with this year’s Panograma. I am very excited about what can be achieved next year and beyond with a bigger and better Panograma.
“There was non-stop excitement in the comments from the viewers as they created a vibrant and participatory atmosphere. Each finalist showed up on @INEV88 live, dressed to impress, wearing outfits that were relevant to their respective tunes of choice. The music was nothing short of amazing and the judges really had a hard time to arrive at an eventual winner as every finalist was a winner.
“I must express my profound thanks and gratitude to the main panel of judges for their hard work throughout the competition, as well as the substitute adjudicators.”
Sunday’s final was judged by a panel of international pan players including David Zige Walcott (Barbados); Kenneth Joseph (USA); and, Ojay Richards (T&T). Alternate adjudicators were Rodney Small (St Vincent & The Grenadines); Andy Chichester (Grenada); and, Rikky Robley (T&T).
Making guest appearances on the night were popular Barbadian Monk/Riddim Tribe dancer Nandi, St Vincent & The Grenadines 2019 Ragga Soca Monarch Hance and Tobago’s Katzenjammers ace panman Jadon.
Roach said: “I could not have done this without the support of my judges, family, friends and those die hard pan fans globally.” Panograma 2020 was sponsored by Panman Consultants, E-pan, Stickland Pansticks, #1 Steepan App GOLD, Run246, Steelpan Tutor, LCA Designs Tobago, Duvonne Stewart, attorney Jaydene Thomas, US Steelband Association and Pan Trinbago Inc.