Nurse's Lounge: Tribute to the Pan Poet

>> Monday, April 27, 2009

Saturday night was a big birthday celebration for a very special friend and colleague of mine, Mr. Jesse Andrews.  In the poetry world, he's known as the pan poet.  As a pannist, his love for Trinidad's national instrument led to him to writing and publish a collection of poems that magic drum, and the land of his birth, entitled "Port of Pan". 

 Jesse's fam was ringing in his 60th birthday at a sweet soca bashment in Mississauga, complete with a live band (called Whatever!...bless up guys, pleasure meeting you all), full out Caribbean buffet, open bar, and of course...a DJ!  So I went.  Got snazzed up for it too.  Pressed the hair, donned a pretty dress and some good shoes.  Didn't want to miss it. 

I admire this man more than he probably knows.  To me he is an outstanding example for our community.  He loves God, his wife and children, his craft and his work with Correctional Services.  I just think he's an amazing guy.  To be honest, I was really just humbled to be invited to celebrate with his family.

We met several years ago when I used to host a weekly performance event downtown Toronto called La Parole.  He attended whenever he could make it.  He would share his poems, and on a couple occasions he brought his tenor pan along to play renditions of his favourite spiritual music.  It was great to have his support as I ventured out as a young no-name poet.  His presense in those memorable sessions upstairs at Flava was to me like a stamp of approval from a generation of Caribbean artists who I deeply respect and still hope to learn from. 

I ended up co-editing an anthology of Black writers living in Toronto called T-Dot Griots in 2004.  Should you ever get your hands on it, be sure to read Jesse's poem,  'From "Steal" Drum to Steel Drum'. 


Unfortunately, duty called before I could really party it up with the Andrews family.  It's a pity I didn't get to see Jesse and the Mrs. rent-a-tile to some back in times tunes.  I don't doubt he put some of the youngins to shame for the new songs too.  

A little behind the scenes issue at the Tribal Knights band launch pulled me back into Nursekarendom for the night.  After I filled my belly.  I had to say goodbye.  Jesse introduced me to Oscar nominated film director John Singleton.  He was a guest too.  I'm sure there's a great story there, but it's completely irrelevant to the story at hand.  

Jesse P. Andrews, Happy 60th Birthday!  I struggled to figure out what to offer you as a gift.  I believe you have given me so much.  For that, I will always be thankful.   Here's to at least 60 more great years of pan, poetry...and great memories!

4 x 2 cents (comment, nuh!):

Diane Voisin April 29, 2009 at 1:34 PM  

That was a very lovely tribute!

Anonymous May 8, 2009 at 10:45 AM  

I am Jesse's Niece in law and i really love the tribute. he is a really wonderful and talented person. lots of love goes out to uncle Jesse. :-) Wendy Andrews

Pan Poet January 6, 2012 at 4:51 PM  

The poetry styling/presentation of Jesse Andrews "Pan Poet" is essentially Trini in rhythm
and is called 'Dejambolassi" poetry style.

Pan Poet January 6, 2012 at 4:55 PM  

The poetry style of Jesse Andrews "Pan Poet" is high energy in presentation and essentially Trini in its rhythm. His delivery style is called "dejambolassi style".

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