Pantopia Project

Behind the Scenes: Pantopia


Culturally, if not politically, the 1970’s was an era of revolutionary change in the Caribbean. In Trinidad and Tobago specifically, the period saw the rise of Winston Bailey, the Mighty Shadow, overturning the Kitchener-Sparrow road-march hegemony, Black Stalin and Brother Valentino bearing the Black Power legacy in calypso and the emergence of new forms within the music – rapso and Lord Shorty’s sokah. In steelband, the breakthrough year was 1972. For the first time, an original composition by a steelband arranger entered and swept its way to the finals of the Panorama competition. ‘Pan on the Move’ ranks Ray Holman among the creative revolutionaries of the 1970’s.

‘Pantopia’ draws on this signal moment and the sustained output of this composer as an example of the kind of creative courage needed to fashion change in any entrenched system of behaviours and values. This is not a Holman documentary; rather, the characters emerge from the situations and intent of the story. In its turn, the story takes us through the period of the 70’s to the present.

Canboulay believes in the importance of celebrating our creative talent as an obligation of gratitude and a necessity of self-definition. If our artists prove to us that we have moved from a motely sprinkling of ethnicities to what might be considered a nation, the celebration of their works indicate that we share an even larger identity as a civilization, one we can proudly call ‘Caribbean’. Equally significant at this time is that we can join Ray Holman in celebrating, not only his work, but his 80th year among us.