By Stephen Spark
United Kingdom | Sunday 4 September 2016: 10:10 BST
In the age-old Panorama rivalry between Ebony and Mangrove steelbands, the loyalties of the crowd are as fiercely held as those of the players. This year, it was Ebony’s supporters whose hopes were crowned with success, as their band took first place with Duvonne Stewart’s arrangement of Cheers to Life at Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance on Saturday 27 August. 5Star Akil’s Different Me was a popular choice at Notting Hill’s 2016 Panorama, but it was Mangrove, with Bertrand Kellman’s arrangement of the tune, that took second, followed by Metronomes with Annise Hadeed’s version. Nostalgia was fourth-placed Real Steel’s choice, then in fifth position came Endurance Steel Orchestra with its take on Different Me – a commendable result for a young band in only its second Panorama. Brixton-based steelband London All Stars chose Soca Ruption as its entry, which took it to sixth, while in seventh position Endurance’s near-neighbours Croydon SO played – you guessed it – Different Me. Just one point separated CSO from eighth-placed CSI playing Pan by Storm. Real Steel may have been disappointed with its Panorama showing, but a few hours later the youngsters from Devon took top honours at the British Association of Steelbands (BAS) J’Ouvert Bomb Competition with Samba Masadena. The hypnotic rhythm was perfect for chipping along Ladbroke Grove while being liberally splattered in paint and lubricated by something warming from a flask. Ebony (Isn’t She Lovely) and London All Stars (Sound of Music) took second and third respectively. Finally, the BAS/CAPCA Junior Panorama results saw another victory for Ebony, with Allez Allez. Forest Hill-based Endurance ought to have been pleased with second place, beating Croydon SO by four points. Metronomes, Northern SO and Eclipse took up the remaining positions. After some years when steelpan’s presence at Panorama and Jouvert seemed to be waning, it’s good to see that the steelbands are back in force.