BP Renegades triumph in Panorama semis, aims for top prize

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

BP Renegades players in action during their performance of Feeling to Party to top the large steelband category of the 2023 Panorama semifinals, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Sunday. – Andrea De Silva

They may have been the last band to perform for the night, but the BP Renegades steel orchestra were in no way left behind as they topped the list of performers for the Panorama Semi-Finals in the large conventional bands category at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Sunday.

Beginning just before 7 pm, the large conventional bands category featured 14 steelbands, 12 of whom advanced to the finals of the competition on Carnival Saturday.

Even as they took up position with their instruments on stage at around 12.15 pm, Renegades performers were met with cheers and applause from patrons, many of whom began to show signs of fatigue.

Despite the late hour, energy from patrons was still high as many spectators in the North Stand rose to their feet and packed the first few aisles to see the performance.

As silence fell over the savannah, Renegades performance of Black Stalin’s Feeling to Party began.

Players guided by the on-stage antics of drill master Andrew Charles grooved to the beat of the music as patrons sang the lyrics of the tune and danced from the comfort of the North Stand.

Ending their performance with a stream of confetti, the BP Renegades received an uproarious applause as the savannah shook from the crowd’s response.

Speaking with Newsday on Monday, president of BP Renegades Colin Greaves says while the band was pleased with the top spot, they were cautious not to become too comfortable with the results and promised they would continue working towards the top spot for the finals of the competition.

He said the song selection of Black Stalin’s Feeling to Party was in keeping with the band’s desire to pay homage to cultural icons and their legacies.

Republic Bank Exodus rock to Tourist Leggo during their second-place performance in the large steelband category of the Panorama semifinals, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Sunday. – Andrea De Silva

“This year our approach to the song is definitely in keeping with our concept of paying homage to legacy and as we celebrate the legacy of Black Stalin it is our 75th anniversary, we would have recently have a portion of Charlotte Street renamed after Renegades as Renegades Way, so in the celebration of legacy for us the energy and spirit of Feeling to Party is one of celebration as we celebrate Dr Leroy Calliste, the Black Stalin.

“What you saw in the semifinals is people sharing in the celebration with us, they are celebrating the music, they are singing along, we made sure the arrangements flowed a particular kind of way to make sure that we get a lot of crowd engagement.

“We decided to go that route of creating what we hoped would be a legacy music team and we just want to encourage people to comfort and support and sing the song, dance, hug up and enjoy the music.”

The Renegades last won a Panorama in 2019, following their victory in 2018. They placed second in 2020.

Republic Bank’s Exodus came in at second place with their performance of King Short Shirt’s, Tourist Leggo earning 273 points, while the Hadco Phase II Pan Groove came in at third place with their performance of Aaron Duncan’s new single, We Come Out to Party, earning 270 points.

Contacted for comment, Exodus drill master Khan Cordice said while he was happy with the results, he promised the team would continue to focus their efforts on securing the top spot for the Panorama finals.

“The Republic Bank Exodus and the team to include the captain Ms Julie Williams and the manager Ainsworth Mohammed and our arranger BJ Marcelle would have really put a lot of work in the background just to ensure that the band is not just competing this year, but competing for the top spot.

“Exodus is one of the best bands anywhere in the world and we continue to show the quality that exists within the organisation.”

Exodus manager Ainsworth Mohammed said while he was also pleased with the results, the hope of the band was to place first in the sem-finals, but said they were not discouraged and would commit themselves to winning the competition.

“Naturally we want to win, we would have liked to be the top performer last night but the more important thing is to win on the final night.

“From the preliminary night we would have followed the judge’s comments, they would have made certain recommendations which we followed and stuck to the letter of their comments, the letter of the law so to speak and it was really a matter of cleaning up.

“For the final night there will be some surprises that I’m not at liberty to talk about.”

The points were awarded on the basis of general performance, tone and rhythm.

Defending champions Desperadoes were part of a three-way tie in ninth place with NLCB Fonclaire and the Nutrien Silver Stars with all three earning 262 points.

Hadco Phase II Pan Groove’s performance of We Come Out to Party earned them third place in the large steelband category of the Panorama semifinals at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Sunday. – Andrea De Silva

On February 2 it was reported that Desperadoes tied in 12th place with the Tobago Bucooneers.

Newsday attempted to contact arranger for the Desperadoes Carlton Alexander but was unsuccessful up to press time.

While they may not have earned top spots in the judge’s final tally, the Proman Starlift steel orchestra delighted spectators with fire breathers and moko jumbies during their rendition of the Mighty Sparrow’s Witch Doctor.

Speaking with Newsday after their performance music director for Proman Starlift Dante Pantin, who also wore the costume of a witch doctor in keeping with the theme, said he was happy to introduce another dimension to the performance to enhance the music.

“The song was given to me by the late Dr Desmond Waithe and this song was all in tribute to him.

“We already knew we wanted to come and portray a story, it’s all about theatrics, it’s all about theatre because Panorama isn’t just about music, it’s about putting on a show and making sure the people who are here for this eight minutes of music, can also see something that takes them on a journey.”

While the performances were the highlight of the event, another focus was the much-anticipated return of the North Stand as patrons had a direct view of the action from the comfort of their seats.

One patron said the return of the North Stand completed the Panorama experience as it allowed spectators to better socialise and mingle in between performances.

“It’s something we really missed. There is a whole party up on these aisles and we just didn’t get the same vibe and energy when it wasn’t here.”

Another spectator said while he was happy the North Stand was back, he hoped it would not only be a fixture for Carnival but remain year round.

“I just think it’s wasteful to have it for a few weeks then tear it down just to do it all over again the following year.

“There are a lot of events and shows where a stand like this could be useful not just for Carnival.”

Panorama semifinals results

Large Bands

1. BP Renegades– Feeling to Party, 277

2. Republic Bank Exodus – Tourist Leggo, 273

3. Hadco Phase II Pan Groove – We Come Out to Party, 270

4. Massy Trinidad All Stars – Stage on Fire, 267

5. Shell Invaders – Bun Dem, 266

6. Heritage Petroleum Skiffle – Bun Dem, 266

7. NLCB Fonclaire – Long Live Soca, 264

8. T&TEC Tropical Angel Harps – Hall of Fame, 263

9. Desperadoes – Long Live Soca, 262

9. NLCB Bucooneers – Bun Dem, 262

9. Nutrien Silver Stars – Engine Roo, 262

12. First Citizens Supernovas – Jubilation, 261

12. Proman Starlift – Witchdoctor, 261

14. RBC Redemption Soundsetters – Long Live Soca, 258