Stephen “Goldteeth” Clarke
Stephen “Goldteeth” Clarke is a 19-year-old member of the Maltese Falcons, a steelband in the slums. He is passionately committed to the Falcons and convinced that a new type of steelpan, a larger one made from an oil drum, would put the band ahead of all others. When he steals a drum to demonstrate his theory, he brings the police to the panyard, where they humiliate Fisheye, the leader of the Falcons. Goldteeth flees to an aunt living in the countryside, where he persuades another band, Boom Town, to try out his oversized pans.
Roy Clarke, Goldteeth’s 13-year-old brother, is equally committed to the Falcons, in which he hopes to be accepted as a member. There is a deep bond between the siblings, even though they are awkward expressing their love, and Roy admires Goldteeth. It is Roy’s attempts to impress his brother in the violent world of gang warfare that lands him behind bars, and projects Goldteeth into a new role in the embryonic steelband movement.
Fisheye, the captain of the Maltese Falcons, 30, is tough and decisive. At a time when bands fought like street gangs, Fisheye is protective of his boys, including even a hanger-on like Roy, and willing to go to war in their defence.
Big Mack, the captain of Red Army, the most popular steelband in the country, until it is dethroned by Goldteeth and his country boys in Boom Town. Red Army remains the most combative band, however, and they do not take their musical defeat lightly. So when Roy laughs at them, they give him a licking.
Mr. Ottley, a Probation Officer, works with gang members and is familiar with their senseless gang fights. When Goldteeth approaches him to ask his assistance, Mr. Ottley feels exasperated and impatient. However, he is committed to solving the social problems posed by violent territorial steelband feuds, and he sees a way he can get the Falcons to be part of the solution.
Jevanni Clairmont’s grandfather, the late Hugo Peschier, a founding member of the Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra, abandoned his family to spend all his time in the band. As a result his daughter Takeish Clairmont hated pan. So when her 10-year-old son Jevanni awoke one morning in 2012 and declared that he had dreamt he would play in Panorama for Trinidad All Stars, Takeish was horrified. The boy insisted, however, so his grandmother took him to the panyard and he began to practice. Already it was late in the year, however, and the 2013 Carnival season was short and it was doubtful whether Jevanni could become proficient enough to play in the Panorama.
Raven Urquhart was sent by his mother to learn pan when he was a child, against his wishes, for therapeutic reasons. He suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity. The instrument immediately captivated him. Now he studies percussion at the Academy of Performing Arts and plays with several bands for Panorama. The combination is grueling because he has to learn in a few minutes what takes other musicians hours. Can he juggle all these commitments and still be chosen to play for his first steelband love, Phase II Pan Groove?
Shivana Ragoonanan was introduced to pan when she was four years old by her father. He played, and still plays, in Tunapuna All Stars, the band that pioneered Indian music on pan. Shivana has played in Panorama with birdsong and Exodus, but her focus remains the small ensembles that play private gigs at Indian functions.
Eva Goldstein came with 30 other members of the Parisian Calypsociation steelband to play in birdsong. Unlike the others, however, Eva was on a more personal mission: to fulfil the dreams of her father, a pan-lover who introduced his daughter to pan as a child, but died a year ago without visiting Trinidad. Now Eva has undertaken to play in Panorama finals, as her father longed to but never did. Unfortunately, birdsong seems likely to be eliminated at the semi-finals. Can Eva successfully change horses mid-race and get into Desperadoes, a band itself desperately trying to reverse a losing streak started last year, when they too were eliminated at the semi-finals?
Keith Marcelle was born and grew up in the US. He studies music at Berklee College. His father, however, was a panman from Trinidad. And Keith visiting Trinidad to play pan Keith is creating a hybrid identity that combines US and the Caribbean. To internalize his Trinidadian heritage, however, he must first understand it. So his visit is also an adventure of exploration and discovery.
Onishi Yukari, Tagaw Sayori, Sasaki Kentaro and Ninomiya Chihiro
Onishi Yukari, Tagaw Sayori, Sasaki Kentaro and Ninomiya Chihiro are from Japan, where they developed their love for pan. Yukari, who has come to Trinidad seven times before and speaks English, moved to Toronto, so it’s easier to visit Trinidad. Sayori, Kentaro and Chihiro live in Japan, however, where they must save continuously from their free-lance and part-time jobs for the annual pilgrimage to the Mecca of Pan. With no English, are good enough to learn the tune and play on the Phase II Panorama team?
Alfred “Sack” Mayers: bamboo-to-pan veteran
Neville Jules: founder, captain, tuner & arranger for Trinidad All Stars
Lennox “Boogsie” Sharpe, Phase II Pan Groove
Leon “Smooth” Edwards, Trinidad All Stars
Andy Narrel, birdsong Ray Holman, Fonclaire
Beresford “Berry” Hunte, Trinidad All Stars
Errol “Ninja Turtle” Skerritt, Phase II Pan Groove
Dennis “Charlie” Phillip, birdsong Nestor Sullivan, Pamberi
Patrick Worrel, birdsong
Herman “Guppy” Browne, Desperadoes
Other Secondary Characters
Alexander D Great, calypsonian
Xavier, Santa Cruz Drum Circle