Steel Band / Tobago

Trinidad Carnival: Steelbands of Trinidad & Tobago

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A collection of recordings made in the panyards of various luminary bands prior to the Panorama competition in 1989. The album starts out with a wonderful rendition of "La Bamba," set to the tune of a surprisingly small 19-member contingent of a band. After this, many slightly more traditional calypso works set in. Notables such as Phase II Pan Groove (with Len Sharpe), Carib Tokyo (with Ray Holman), and the Amoco Renegades (with Jit Samaroo) all appear with various works. According to the liner notes, the reason for recording the selections at panyards, as opposed to at the actual Panorama competition, is to reduce first the ambient noise, and secondly to allow a more relaxed recording at a less frantic tempo, with multiple takes allowed (there aren't studios big enough to hold the full 100 member bands). In theory, not a bad idea, but one might be missing out a bit with the slower tempos. Still, these are beautiful recordings of the bands, and part of a nice series on Delos that covers more songs and bands from the steel band tradition than any other label yet. Pick it up if you're even vaguely interested in steel band.

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