Monday, 30 July 2012 02:30
By D Francis
Antigua St. John’s - Rupert “Papie” Mussington wants to see more emphasis placed on the promotion of pan music during the annual Carnival celebrations.
This well-known phenomenol entertainer, who is famous for his signature “horn” music blaring through the air during major events like cricket and Carnival, said he believes that the steel bands should have a separate route from the hi-fis and jam bands during Carnival events and parades.
“I think so , I mean Carnival is just about the only event that brings a lot of visitors to our shores every year from all over the world and most of these visitors love pan music so I think there should be separate tracks or paths for the steel bands. Every year, the Hi-fis and Jam bands ‘drown’ out the steel pan music during the parade, you hear some sweet steel pan music coming down the road and within a few minutes, the sounds fade as the jam band s or Hi-fis before or after it take over with their powerful speakers,” he said.
Papie or “Happy Papie”, as he is also called in some cases, has had a strong history with pan having started to play with Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra a year before Carnival started in Antigua and Barbuda.
“I was involved in pan long, long time, way back in the 50s. We used to play at a place called Maple Johnson, a building below Girls’ School where Country Pond be.
“I stayed with them until 1978 when I formed my own steel band called Dunk-Q or D-Q which was captained by Dennis Byam alias “Nonnie”. D-Q was very successful as one Mr. Kiss or Corn Man - a white man was the manager and he put a lot into it. After a while, things went down for Corn Man and so did the steel band. But those were the good, old days; steel pan played a big part in Carnival back then,” Papie fondly recalled.
He was asked how his “love affair” started with the bugle, since he takes it nearly everywhere he goes.
“This … this bugle was given to me by “Jughead”. Everybody knows Jughead, the steel pan veteran, God bless his soul. He is now in eternal rest, but he gave me this bugle many, many years ago, and this has left many happy memories for people all over the world.
“I have two other bugles, smaller though, but I don’t bother with them they take too much out of me when I blow them.”
Papie spoke of his signature tune “panapana-panapana” - with the crowd response, “Yea”, saying: “I build that tune; that tune was made by Papie nobody build that tune but me and it still moves the crowd up to today.”
Many remembered when Lord Satalyte/Krokus drove Carnival City into a “frenzy” a few years ago with his “OK Papie” tune.
Papie fondly recalls, ‘It was a great year; I was proud that it was highlighted in this way. I was on stage with Krokus doing my thing (and) it was great to see how the crowd reacted to this. It was good for Carnival, good for calypso.”
In terms of the future for Papie, he said: “I’ve basically done it all. I was the first black man to have a glass bottom boat. I’ve worked with tourists, made a lot of great friends and promoted my country.
“Now I am older now and have given up that to my grown sons who have their own water sports business. I am just relaxing at home now with my bugle and when the opportunity arises, it will rise to the occasion and with “panapana-panapana-yea”, everyone will be just as happy as “Happy Papie.
“As long as I have breath, my bugle will be heard loud and clear!”