Welcome to the Research Archive Data Base of the Steelbands of Trinidad and Tobago on www.seetobago.org
  Data Base
Research Archives
The Steelbands of TT
Back to List: From the Steelbands Archive Database Down to Page bottom

The Steelbands (Pan) of Trinidad and Tobago ARCHIVES Database
eEd - tobagojo@gmail.com
  [x] Square brackets delineate and number the end of each page for reference purposes; or enclose [corrections].
  ARCHIVE COPY - RADS_v04_edit2.doc

Reflections on Aspects that Define the Steelband Culture
Trinidad and Tobago

  Dr. Jeannine Remy D.M.A. and Jeremy G. de Barry P.Dip. E.E.Eng. - June 2005

Under the theme of a society in crisis, the changing aspects and social issues that have evolved with the Trinidad and Tobago steelbands, throughout the decades of their existence, will be chronologically address[ed] to examine where, and in what areas of this culture, it may now be perceived to meet the definition of being under stress; and where so and if applicable; to outline how an institution of higher learning may attempt to be effective in progressing its part of the national vision of '2020' in using its resources, and the steelpans, to meet the new needs of this national cultural art-form. [i]
In Submission to:

The Second International Symposium
In Arts Education Programme


June 27th to June 30th 2005

The University of The West Indies

Trinidad Campus - St Augustine
Faculty of Humanites & Education
Centre for Creative & Festival Arts
in collaboration with UNESCO

World Steelbands 2005

No   Country Totals   % World
1   Bahamas 1 0.1
2   Barbados 1 0.1
3   Canada 39 5.2
4   Denmark 5 0.7
5   Finland 2 0.3
6   France 11 1.5
7   Germany 4 0.5
8   Israel 1 0.1
9   Italia 1 0.1
10   Jamaica 1 0.1
11   Japan 13 1.7
12   The Netherlands 2 0.3
13   Saint Lucia 1 0.1
14   Sweden 14 1.9
15   Switzerland 154 20.4
16   Trinidad & Tobago* 144 19.1
17   United Kingdom 30 4.0
18   USA 330 43.8
No   Country Totals % World
18   World Totals 754 100.0
* All Panorama 2005 Bands + Junior Panorama 2004 Bands; but NOT Pan in Schools Bands
Note: Steelbands may be of any size; an ensemble to Panorama max
Source: Islands Research - 24 June 2005
http://www.seetobago.org/trinidad/pan/world/data/wsbc2005.htm [ii(a)]


Nation, Demographics & Population 2005

  Country name:      
  conventional long form:     Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
  conventional short form:     Trinidad and Tobago
  Nationality:   noun Trinidadian(s),
      adjective Trinidadian, Tobagonian
      local adj Trini*
      locl collective noun Trinbago (business use)*
  Languages:   English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish, Chinese
  Population:   1,088,644 (July 2005 est.)
  Population below poverty line:   21% (1992 est.)
  Unemployment rate:   10.4% (2004 est.)
   Ethnic groups:        
  East Indian**
Chinese & Other
  Roman Catholic

* not from reference
** East Indian (a local term - primarily immigrants from northern India)

CIA - The World Factbook -- Trinidad and Tobago - 14 June, 2005
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/td.html [ii(b)]



Nomenclature, Syntax & Definitions

Where 'local cultural name' = 'lcn':

Master Pan Tuner = (lcn + use) = A person who can make and tune a pan; definite.

Pan Tuner(s) (lcn + more use) ~= Pan maker (lcn + use) = A person who can make and tune a pan. It is specific that the 'tuner' can do both functions; but a 'maker' may not necessarily have the skill to 'tune'.

Tune (lcn + use) = Blend (lcn + use) = The ability to bring a pan 'shell' to the correct pitch expected of the fundamental frequency = (0,0) mode; + the correct pitch expected of the set of the 1st octave harmonics = (1,0) (0,1) (1,1) modes; + the correct pitch expected of the set of the 2nd octave harmonics = (2,0) (2,1) (0,2) (1,2) (2,2) modes; the actual ratios of the relations of the harmonics used, in beyond the scope of this document.

The hammer (lcn + use) = The knowledge = (lcn + use)= In the context of steelpan; “The ability of a person to[] make and tune a pan”: are cultural iconoclastic phrases; carry a weighting of respect, coloured with a slight degree of awe, for anyone thus talented.

(Became homogenised into the islands cultural consciousness by the early 1960's. The terms have been reinforced with use in the islands local cultural song-forms of Calypso and Soca. (www-8))

Pan(s) (lcn + use)(plural) = Steel drum(s) (lcn) = Steeldrum(s) (lcn) = Steel Pan(s) (lcn) = Steelpan(s) (lcn + use):
Pan = A percussive musical instrument on which 'tuned pitched' notes, of which there may be more than one note, and the note takes the form of 'a loosely supported oscillating shell structure', where the 'loose support' forms the boundary between the note, a nearby note, or the 'note face' material onto which the note 'shell' has been indented; as required, and as required within it, the area of 'loose support' that may make up the boundary around the note 'shell' may be separately indented onto the 'note face' material to form a 'groove', called a 'pan groove', that sets the 'appropriate size' for the required note; the 'note face' material has the property of good ductility but high tensility and is usually made of steel, or a material with the 'desired properties' of 'manufacturability' and of being able to 'hold the pitch' of the note for a reasonably acceptable period of use, after being 'tuned', and being 'played'; to attain the 'desired properties' the 'note face' may have to undergo processes of mechanical deformation, and/or chemical treatments, and/or thermal (heat) treatments, before and/or after the note 'groove' and/or 'shell' has been indented on it; the 'note face' surface material may be, the surface of a drum made of steel, or the surface of a drum made with material specifically metallurgicaly designed for the purpose of pan manufacture: if a drum; the 'skirt' of the drum may remain uncut and the opposite surface face opened; or the 'skirt' of the drum may be cut to a 'height suitable' to the 'type' or 'voice' of pan being made; if not a drum, the 'note face' surface material may be attached in an appropriate way to a 'skirt' pre-manufactured to a 'height suitable' to the 'type' or 'voice' of pan being made: as appropriate to the stages of manufacture, placement of holes need be made; holes in the notes 'loose support' area for a 'bore' pan; holes in the 'skirt' for a 'bore skirt' pan; holes anywhere suitable for supporting the pan to its playing 'stand' or 'rack' and so positioned as to derive an 'appropriate angle' for playing the instrument: once ready, the pan may have its notes 'tuned' to the appropriate individual 'pitch': as required and/or as appropriate to the process and the materials of manufacture: the pan may be appropriately cleaned: either; as suitable to the surfaces, a suitable durable protective coating, coloured or uncoloured, may be applied to the pan; or by whatever available process, such as electroplating/spatter/ion-implantation/diffusion or otherwise; a protective coating of; nickel (Ni), and/or chromium (Cr), and/or any other suitable element/alloy as appropriate, to provide a suitable durable protective coating; to the pan: as appropriate, the pan may be polished: for the pan instrument thus described; the history of its invention, its development and its use are the subject of part of this document. [1]

Two schema define a generic 'type' of a pan; the number of pitched notes it contains; and the relative positions of these notes on the 'note face', oriented to a players perspective, that provide its note pattern or 'style'.

The number of notes made into the 'note face' may be as high as around 36 notes in the tenor (soprano) 'class'; or as low as 2 notes for a bass 'class' pan; the notes on a single pan may not necessarily be chromatic, but when 2 or more pans of generic 'class' are placed together, the overall range of notes within that generic 'class' may be chromatic.

'Class' and 'Type' of Pan

The evolved pan instruments each fill a specific range of registers within the audio spectrum. Each pan instrument may be made with one or more pans to an instrument set. Each pan instrument set falls into a 'class'. Within each 'class' may be a sub 'type'.
The sub 'type' is defined by the 'style' of its note pattern. The note patterns may very in (a) the number of notes; (b) the position of the notes and (c) the range of the notes; the range variation not sufficient to change the 'class'.

Note: A full sub 'type' classification is beyond the scope of this document; but may be used here only to illustrate a point. e.g. A Tenor 'class' pan may fall into sub 'type' = A, C, D or Low C; each with a slightly different note pattern.

The pans are now collected into well defined 'classes' of sub 'type', that cover a specific portion of the register. The 'classes' may overlap in range, but they collectively cover the 'pan usable' range of the audio spectrum.

The high registers are covered by the Tenor 'class' and Seconds 'class'; the middle registers by the Cello 'class' and High Bass 'class'; the low registers by the Bass 'class'. The Quadrophonic falls in a 'class' of it own.

The Pan instruments by 'Class'

The range in pan that make up the 'class' and (near) standard sub 'type' of pan instrument voices in use today is as follows:

Tenor (1-pan)(lcn + use) = Tenor pan (lcn + use) = 'Trinidad Tenor' = Soprano; Double tenor (2); Double seconds (2); Guitar (2-Cello)(2); 3-Cello (3), 4-Cello (4), Quadrophonic (4), Tenor Bass (4), High Bass (4), Low Bass (6,7,9,10,12).

The collective range of musical pitches encompassed by these musical instruments is around 5 octaves where; the notes are generally chromatic within each 'class', but may overlap in higher or lower parts of the scale when compared with a different 'class' of pan. The Quadrophonic for example, will have notes that are represented on the D-T, D-S, 3-C and 4-C. The pan instruments collectively range in chromatic pitch rising from around G6 to G1; where the pitch frequency A4 = 440.00 Hz., is the 'tuning' standard.

Standards in Pan

It is the variation in 'style' of the sub 'type' applied to the generic 'class' of pan, as adopted by different pan makers or 'pan tuners' as they are called, that has made the standardisation of the pan 'type' so very difficult.

Added to this is a second variation in the number of possibilities that arise when within the respective 'class', there are more than one pan to the 'class'; which then applies to most pan 'classes'; and which may vary as: [2]

  1. The 'order' in which each sub 'type' of pan in the respective 'class' is 'hung' with respect to the 'forward facing pan player'; and defined arbitrarily here as pans 'numbered'; from the left of the player clockwise to the right of the player; pan 'number 1', pan 'number 2' etc. to pan 'number n'; where n defines the total number of pans within the respective 'class'. This determination gets a little more complex when addressed to the 9/10/12 Bass range; where the pans may make up a second 'layer' around the first; where the numbering 'continues', in best fit, from left to right; from 'inner' to 'outer' layers; until 'n' is reached. In use, the standard may very by 'panyard hanging'; where each 'steelband' (hence 'panyard') may have a preferred sub 'type' pan 'number' interchanged within this arbitrary standard.
  2. The 'orientation' of the 'note face' of each sub 'type' of pan in the respective 'class' with respect to a 'forward facing pan player'; which itself defines an arbitrarily standard; in use, may very by 'panyard hanging'; having a preferred sub 'type' pan 'orientation'; more left (anti-clockwise) or more right (clockwise) within this arbitrary standard.
  3. Any standards that exist, to 'official' or to 'panyard hanging', are more simply illustrated on a 'pan layout' diagram; which shows the preferred use for; all 'classes'; and 'class' sub 'type' pan 'numbers' and 'orientations' drawn with respect to a 'forward facing pan player'.

Suffice is to say that, over time, the present 'pan tuners' have adopted a 'style' for each generic 'type' that varies from about standard for the high register tenor pan 'class'; very near standard in the seconds 'class', low standard in the middle register of the cello 'class', near standard in the 'high' bass 'class'; to mixed standard in the low register of the bass 'class', where only the 6 and 9 bass 'types' are near standard.

Some examples of some odd pans and standards still in use: Various world steelbands/ensembles (The Mannette) 'Invaders F' tenor (obsolete); Hatters Double tenor (non standard 'type'); Deltones 6 Bass (non standard 'panyard hanging'); Kalamo Kings 'surround' 9 Bass (non standard); Fascinators Pan Symphony 'Triphonic' (3 pans) (non standard 'class'); Harmonites and Sforzata 12 Bass (one of which may be the only existing standard).


Pan stick(s) (lcn + use) = mallet: A pan stick is used to play a pan; usually two sticks are used, one in each hand; For the higher pan voices only, skilled players may use 3 or 4 pan sticks. Pan sticks are made of slim round shafts of wood, polymer or aluminium tubing. Over the tip of the stick is placed a 'rubber'; to cushion the shock of strike, and to impart the correct level of impulse energy to resonate the pan note, without over-stressing or damaging it. The sticks very in length and weight, as does the tip 'rubber' thickness, matched to the voice of the pan to be played; the lower the voice, the larger the stick. All bass range stick 'rubber' is different; in that a specific type of synthetic 'spongy toy ball' is used; half a ball, split down the for the Tenor/High bass; and a full [ball used for the Low bass pans]. Pan sticks may be decorated.

Pan stand(s) (lcn + use) = Single instrument stands that accommodate each of all the 1 to 4 drum instrument voices; or single drums in the Low Bass range.

Pan rack(s) (lcn + use) = Stand that accommodates a collection of instruments, all the same or in mixed instrument sets; and are usually on small wheels. The T, DT, DS and Guitar pans may be mixed; the 3-C's, 4-C's, in 2 or 3 unmixed instrument sets; the T-Bass and H-Bass in sets of 2; and the 6,7,9,10,12-Bass in single-rack sets; a rack may have a fixed or removable canopy.

The Steelband

Steel Band (lcn) = Steelband (lcn + use) = A group of players using steelpan instruments. Does not include a Soloist pan player; but ranges to include an ensemble where the median or majority of players use steelpans; with one or more players on a standard percussive instruments like a drum or drum-set, or the Trinidad percussive instrument 'Iron'. As the number of players increases, and when the point is reached so that most of the available 'class' range of pans are represented, but not necessarily including some of the overlapping instruments (eg Quadrophonic, tenor/High bass, or all [3] of the 2/3/4-Cello range), the status of a full steelband is reached. This and a larger size steelband, can be defined as a Steel Orchestra (lcn + use).

A steelpan ensemble or steelband is usually identified by a name. In Trinidad and Tobago steelbands have grown into named institutions with long histories and strong community identities.

Arranger(s) (use; a local definition) = A person responsible for 'giving' the 'music' to the pan players; this person may or may not have any accredited musical training; this person will have the ability to understand the functions of all the pan voices; and the range of notes on each pan voice; and above all understand the idiom of the music to be performed and how to 'spread' the music in correct orchestration onto all the pan voices, giving consideration to their percussive nature; and to include other standard percussive instruments in this treatment; and to have and hold full authority over the players in this activity; and to have the ability to bring playing into full unison from the start to the end in performance of the 'music'; additional ability of being able to change the music to suite the abilities of any specific player(s) an advantage; the ability to compose the music is expected; the ability to read and/or write music is an advantage; to possess accreditation as a conductor an advantage; an ability to play one pan, rising to any pan, is a rising advantage; the ability to 'drill' the band an advantage.

Driller(s) (lcn + use) to drill (verb) = A person who practices the band; will have the ability to understand the functions of all the pan voices; have and hold full authority over the players in this activity; and to have the ability to bring playing into full unison from the start to the end in performance of the 'music'; understands the idiom of the music to be performed; applies to the act of fine-tuning the product of the bands 'music', in parts or as a whole; this person may or may not have any accredited musical training; the ability to read and/or write music is an advantage; to possess accreditation as a conductor an advantage; an ability to play one pan, rising to any pan, is a rising advantage;

Pan yard(s) (lcn + use) = panyard(s) (lcn + use) = The original name stems from the times of the early groups of the early 1940's, and refers to the location where the 'pans' were crafted and fired in the 'yard'; where the pans were tuned, and where the group gathered to practice. In those days, a pan making area and a practice area were synonymous. Today few panyards have pans made in their yard (there is little specific data available to quantify this; but from experience it is less than a 25%), as most pan makers have moved to industrial type units or separate yards for their purposes. The panyards per say have become the homes and seats of the institutions of the steelbands, and are used mainly for pan storage, music practice and recreation; where some of which may be available for commercial hire, for outside group functions.

Management of Steelband = Beyond of the scope of this document.

Steelband Protocol = Beyond of the scope of this document.

Steelband Constitution = Beyond of the scope of this document.

Steelband Code of Conduct = Beyond of the scope of this document.

Steelband Membership = Beyond of the scope of this document.

Steelband Functions = Beyond of the scope of this document. [4]

The Home of Pan

Trinidad and Tobago is internationally recognised and accepted as the birthplace of the steeldrum (pan) musical instruments, whose origins come from a “grassroots” society. As these instruments were developed, and their use evolved into the art-form of the steelband; the role and social values of the steelband society itself has changed over the intervening decades since it's inception in the early 1940s. Today the instrument is recognized as the National instrument of Trinidad and Tobago; and is known throughout the world.

A Culture out of Steel Drums

The developmental stage of pan lies between the mid 1930's to the late 1950's. It is that during this time that, the practice of playing rhythmic patterns on basically wooden instruments changed; to the practice of playing rhythmic patterns on iron and steel instruments and changed again; to the practice of playing rhythmic music patterns on crude iron and steel musical instruments. It is this evolution of all these phases [that] took place by the end of the 1950's.

It would take an additional 2 decades for these crude iron and steel musical instruments to be transform into the high purity steel musical instruments emerging in the 1980's.

The instrument was developed under social duress, mainly from an African strata of society who were trying to find a musical response to social pressures. Unlike the East Indian population, who arrived later and whose culture remained virtually intact, the African peoples had their culture decimated by the strictures of slavery, had in the main to assimilate and adapt to European culture; and even here, a constant battle of the banning of instruments by the ruling classes, forced them to invent new ones. Ironically, if it had not been for the banning of African drumming, and later the newly created tamboo bamboo itself, the steel drums as we know them today, may not have even been invented in these islands. Trinidad and Tobago were lucky, the march of science is littered with a history of duplicity of inventions arriving from unrelated parties within a short time; providently, they got there first.

The road to social acceptance of the emerging steel drummers was not a smooth one. Some aspects of the struggle for acceptance remains even today, some 60 years after the steelband culture had begun to establish itself. It has been pointed out that ...there were three factors that would be working against them, and an extraordinary 'rights of passage' would need to be endured (www-1) along this road.

The “bad-john” social attitudes of the youth gangs who were the early innovators who ...were living on the fringe of behavioural acceptability, bordering on criminal, even within their own communities, did not help matters (www-1). The social and racial prejudices that existed strongly among the authorities of the late Colonial era would be biased heavily against members of the lower socio-economic classes, of which steelbandsmen were mainly part.

This polarised attitude of the authorities would continue into the mid 1960's and have steelbandsmen goaled without bail, or even hunted from their homes and goaled for the slightest perceived misdemeanour (Blake). And the knock-on social response to all this bad [5] news and behaviour; where children of many social backgrounds were forbidden from visiting 'panyards' or associating with steelbandsmen.

Steps towards encouraging acceptance of the steelpan as a serious art-form began through the formation of that early Steelbands Association in 1949; the precursor to the current chartered organisation Pan Trinbago. The formation and travels of the steelband the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO), encouraged by the Governor presiding, was yet another vehicle used towards the goal of social acceptance (Blake). We shall return to these later. Added to this was the entry of steelbands as a category within the Colonial Biannual Music Festival in 1952. Thus the steelpan eventually became channelled into more sophisticated arenas of performance, and hence by association, needful and accessible to institutions of education.

Roots from African

The steeldrums, or steelpans as they became named in the culture, were created on the island of Trinidad around the time of the great World War, WWII. The cultural roots of the instrument can be traced back to West Africa. As slaves were brought over in the late 1500's, first by the Spanish, and then by the French in the late 1700's, African drumming and music provided to them their only link to their homeland. Stripped as they were of their family ties and languages, the slaves found music as a refuge. When the British took control of the island in 1797, the social divide between the upper classes and the slave population was elevated; the Spanish having been less prejudice (CR Ottley). The British being a more class oriented society, and having to control a new wave of immigration to Trinidad, were more prone to social paranoia and became fearful of secret messages being sent through African drumming, thus undermining order – a legacy of thought promulgated by their experiences of explorations in Africa. In 1838, when emancipation occurred in Trinidad, the French tradition of Mardi Gras was replaced with Canboulay. The ruling classes denounced the festivities.

Even after the introduction of indentured labourers of mixed nationality from Eastern Asia; beginning in quantity from the 'Indian Arrival' in 1847, social tensions continued to rise. The under classes practices of ...stick-fighting and drumming had a rebellious appeal. By 1868 the practice of playing drums or dancing to them, along with the bangee or chac-chac or the carrying of any lighted torches were banned - All types of drumming, even at East Indian and African religious meetings, were banned (G Maxime). The unpopularity of this ordinance escalated into the now infamous Canboulay riots where ...there was violence in the Carnival of 1884; and attempts were made to break up the Hosay festival which include Tasa drumming. Thirteen persons were killed and several were wounded - There were riots in Arouca in 1891. Police were attacked by stick fighters. Reinforcements were sent and drums were confiscated (G Maxime).

Despite this, the drumming went underground, and gatherings usually occurred in barrack yards by the lower classes. Today the Yoruba drumming traditions are still represented by a few Shango cults in Toco, Sangre Grande and John John in Laventille. As the elite classes set rules on drumming, the lower classes simply created other instruments ...by 1891 they began to experiment with Tamboo Bamboo (G Maxime).

The roots of the steeldrum as we know it today can be traced back through the practices of Afro-Asian drumming, tamboo bamboo, un-pitched and pitched metal beating. All creations of an oppressed population. None of these traditional four phases of steeldrum [6] development have been lost from the culture however. Around the Hosay festival Afro-Asian drumming remains. Around Carnival time, one can hear African drumming, tamboo bamboo bands and old-time metal beating. In the steelbands themselves, the rhythm section (engine room) utilizes the polyrhythmic layers, syncopated rhythms and instruments (congas) found in African drumming. In the steelpan arrangements, the strumming patterns of the chords hold Afro-Caribbean rhythms as vertical harmonic pillars that support the syncopated melodies.

The Transition to Pan and its early Development phase

There are many sagas about who was the first person to switch from bamboo to metal, and the inevitable queries about who was the first to invent the steeldrum. The fact remains that it was the creation of many of the unprivileged youths, seeking a louder instrument that could replace the recently banned tamboo bamboo bands around 1937 (Blake, 51). The movement from bamboo to metal containers was basically accidental. One such famous band that underwent this transition was called the Calvary Tamboo Bamboo Band from Newtown. Once they discarded their bamboo they changed their name to the Alexander Ragtime Band. Seeking a replacement for broken or splintering bamboo, metal containers were probably picked up along a Carnival parade route to keep the rhythm going. Metal beating was very popular in the 1930s; it was louder and more durable.

To acquire such metal instruments (such as metal dust-bins and biscuit drums) the youths would steal any type of metal container they could find to fill in the gaps of the layered melodic rhythms. The further idea of intentionally pitched metal, also happened by accident.

The art of isolating and tuning these pitches was experimental, especially during the WWII years (1939-1945) when Carnival was temporarily stopped, and as reminded ...The onset of World War II set the authorities to further security measures that banned carnival in the streets from 1942; this held for the duration of the war; was lifted for the VE Day celebrations in Trinidad on 8th May 1945, again for the VJ celebrations on 14th August 1945 and allowed carnival to return to the streets in 1946 (4th - 5th March) (www-1). It was during this time that early innovators such as Ellie Mannette, from Oval Boys/Invaders (1942), were developing their art-form (E Mannette has been credited for devising the concave shape of the note-face, the first use of a 55 gallon steel drum; and putting rubber on the sticks; among other accomplishments). Other early innovators whose accomplishments began in the early 1940's and progressed through the 1950's include, Anthony Williams, Winston “Spree” Simon, Neville Jules; and later in the 1960's Bertie Marshall and Rudolph Charles.

The early instruments (e.g. kittle, tune-boom, dudup, grumbler) were crude sounding, not exact in pitch, and of very limited note range. An original small lead drum had 4 notes on a convex face (Museum, PoS) which was a prototype to 'Spree' Simons reputed 14 note 'ping pong' of Carnival 1946 – the 'Tenor Pan' or 'Trinidad Tenor' pan, gets its generic name 'Tenor' from these middle-note pitches used on these early pans. (Kronman)

As with most musicians, and the majority who remain 'untrained', starting with simple things is nice. Four non-chromatic notes can play simple chants and hold rhythmic phrases; but the need for more notes is obvious. A non-chromatic major scale of 12 notes is very useful; and with 2 additional notes, 'Spree' Simon's pan was certainly musical. We understand that for those early 'untrained' pan-men, in their music the Shango rhythms [7] from African drumming were still evident; and the musical arrangements were competent but limited and less sophisticated than to those we are accustomed to today.

We also begin to understand a fascinating curiosity about the early pan makers and the development of the instruments where; as the panmen heard tunes on the radio, these “untrained” musicians tried to emulate the sounds on their instruments. If the tune went to a note that was absent from the pan, the pan-maker was asked to 'make the note(s) on a pan'. Consequent pans would have more notes/pitches (not necessarily all chromatic) and so the note range expanded. The curiosity begins where, as different bands tried their hand in the new art, their musical renditions and choices would differ, requiring different note extensions. Thus began the non-standardisation of the steelpan, a practice that remains to plague us even today.

On the other hand, once a group of instruments was established, players had to be taught, as a group, to play the music and together. Thus was born the pan music-teacher, the pan-arranger; and the method of rote-teaching and an attitude to music-learning that has been a key factor in the fascinating history and development of the steelpans. This is the 'jewel in the crown'; the heart of the cultural heritage that has been developed here in Trinidad and Tobago. This is that duel edged sword, that paradox; where the teacher and the students appear to be the most accessible as targets for new methods of education; and yet ...so softly must we tread, so carefully must we venture with our offerings of learning and new technologies, because it is here that the indigenous culture of pan is at its most sensitive. Here, within these two domains lie the centre of its creativity. It is the duality of the arranger and the players, their interactive chemistry, that defines this art-form. However, this province of arranger and players remains one of the most tractable to education. (See Summary).

Understanding violence

The presence of the American soldiers on the island started in 1941 during WWII, strengthened an influence, already present, but had been low key in the north or Trinidad, but high in the south; where American capital was already since 1902 building an oil industry; with a running refinery and oil fields to develop and exploit. The soldiers however brought a different face of America to these shores. Stationed at Chaguaramas, their forces radio station, and groups of off duty sailors, began having a strong influence on the north, particularly in Port of Spain. Their radio aired popular American songs, and the cinemas played the latest Hollywood shows; marines had nothing better to spend their money on than rum, parties and girls. This promoted prostitution and gambling; and the underground economy exploded. This was great for the girls, but trouble for the young men of Trinidad, as they had few resources to compete. However in typical copy-cat fashion, they adopted the saga boy attitudes to compensate; and used Sailor Mas as a tease.

Through the mid 1940's to the early 1950's, a 'bad-john' image was synonymous with being a member of a steelband and dressing the part. The early steelbands were territorial and were constantly fighting amongst themselves, proudly holding movie names such as Desperadoes, Casablanca, Invaders; emulating the American motion pictures popular at the time. These bands were really composed mostly of gangs of youths, consisting mostly of young men of African descent, low income families, who were not always in favour with the law. They were proud of their identity as hooligans, 'bad-johns' and 'saga' boys. Frustrated, economically deprived and pressed by the authorities on all quarters, the steelbandsmen, and many who gravitated towards them to identify with that districts [8] steelband, had no other outlet for their anger than to vent it onto other bands, in territorial defence or show of face.

The fighting between the bands caused many of the upper class citizens to shy away from allowing their children to be associated with the steelbandsmen. A perception that is an unfortunate legacy of that time, and still persists within the consciousness of TT society, but an attitude unwarranted today.

One such band of adolescent youth, who rooted their panyard in a middle-class neighbourhood, was Invaders. They had changed their name from Oval Boys in 1942, the leaders taken by the film 'The Invaders' of 1942. They had supporters in the community, especially on J'ouvert morning, that would regularly come to their rescue when members were often thrown in jail for serious misdemeanours (The Cobo Jack murder trial for example). Early Invaders were forced to fight to maintain their status and were at the centre of some of the most fierce battles of the time. Other steelbands were jealous of their upper class support and often targeted the band when they paraded in town (Port of Spain).

A general explanation on the causes for steelband violence can be summarised by saying, whether we like it or not; that the 'steelband wars' were mainly territorial disputes, interspersed with actions connected with retaining or collecting 'trophies of war'; and the usual 'women/man' relationship disputes prevalent to any society; and much of it aggravated by the low socio-economic status of its participants. We can get a glimpse of the 'Territories' by a scan through the names of some of the bands that have been 'recorded' to have had clashed (Blake, 86-95). St James (Sun Valley), Woodbrook (Dixieland and Invaders), Laventille Hill (Desperadoes), Basilon St/La Cou Harp (Renegades), John John (Tokyo and John John Steelband), Morvant (Ebonites) San Juan (San Juan All Stars). (Territories - Map – Blake, 19)

Creating music in the panyard was not the only reason for being there. These youths were gathered together first as friends, then as musicians. It was a sense of belonging, bonding, and socially interacting with each other. Whereas most people saw the steelbandsmen as a savage expression of the dregs of society, others would act as 'defenders of the faith'.

The 'defenders' would actively show support by employing their skills of writing, or use their position of authority or speciality, to act in a supportative way on behalf of the panmen. Notable among these were: Albert Gomes (both as newspaper columnist and as a government minister), Canon Max Farquahar (Anglican Priest), Lennox Pierre (lawyer/social worker), and Beryl McBurnie (dancer, choreographer, and founder of the Little Carib Theatre); most saw the potential of these youths' musical accomplishments and saw a need for a new approach to help focus these troublesome youths. True to her extraordinary strength of character, McBurnie may be credited to possessing a high degree of applied social psychology and common sense when she let her Little Carib be used by steelbandsmen for performances, despite criticism; and set an example by staging some of the first steelpan music competitions on the premises.

In their efforts to rectify the violence in steelband society, the Government appointed a committee in late 1949 to investigate the crisis. One result was the formation of the Trinidad and Tobago Steelband Association (TTSBA) which acted as an ombudsmen between the steelbands, which set goals for cooperation among the bands, which in turn would help the public perception that things were being done. [9]

History however records this principal aim as a failure. Although cooperation among the bands did begin, and bands had friends among other bands; a Steelband Association was not in hindsight a solution to economic depravity, the consequent social frustrations and an unduly socially prejudiced authority. These issues were the province of Government. The violence remained into the early 1960's, and subsided only some time after the islands attained Independence on the 31st August 1962; with the change in authority and with the slow improvement of the islands economic status. [10]


Beginning The Road to Acceptance

The word 'acceptance' is warm; like the greeting of a well known friend, who will stay a moment to 'mind' the children, while you go out to get the newspapers. Your friend is family, and has become trusted in the conversations of existence as you tread forward along the path of life. Your friend is 'accepted'; but it took some time before that was so. Pan would have to associate with the people for some 4 decades hence to achieve this.

The pan instruments were improving very rapidly after 1945 and over the 1950's; and the road towards societal acceptance of the genre had begun; but true acceptance would not arrive for another four decades. Expanded ranges were needed to perform the repertoires, and in turn new voices - expansions of the steelpan family of instruments - were created to facilitate pieces, giving grater depth to orchestration. These innovations and improvements were all important steps in making the instruments and the genre acceptable.


Spreading the word

Pan began to wonder off these shores when in New York ...some of the members of the Casablanca provided a rare treat for watchers of the parade on West Indian day in the late summer of 1947, playing with the unique steel band instruments. (CE Smith – www-6)

Probably the first ambassador for pan to a world audience in the UK, was a member of a renowned artistic family from Trinidad, Bosco Holder. With a small troupe of folk dancers and pan players, on a successful tour to London, England, with a show of “West Indian style of dancing ... and a steel band (that) uses instruments fashioned from brake drums and biscuit tins”, that was ultimately broadcast playing on the BBC in 1950. (Blake, 185)

In efforts to improving the acceptability of steelbands, the TTSBA, with some little support of the authorities, considered the idea of sending a steelband to perform in the 1951 Festival of Britain to gain musical acceptance and represent the Island Colony. Under the banner 'Operation Britain', the most extraordinary of steelbands, the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO), was formed. Its members were hand-selected by the TTSBA, in an island-wide search to select the two best players from each of the most prominent steelbands.

To accomplish its musical goal, a police band conductor from Barbados, Lt Col Nathaniel Joseph Griffith, was chosen to prepare the group. Griffith requested that the instruments they would take to England should be chromatic in scale. The idea of fully chromatic pans was foreign to the early innovators who were musical nobistists. Griffith's request were however realised by some of the pan-makers who were part of the band (Philmore “Boots” Davidson, Elliott “Ellie” Mannette, Anthony “Tony” Williams and Sterling Betancourt). Griffith was further innovative in devising a simple and workable form of notation in order to facilitate the learning of the repertoire.

Thanks to Griffith, TASPO became in its time the most technically advanced steelband in the world. The bands call to social acceptance of the genre was nearly immediate, its local popularity heightened by a sympathetic press. The tour to London, England, was a success, both for the band and the genre; its popularity widened by a radio appearance on the BBC. The band also played in France. After the 1951 tour, some of its members spread the genre further through the UK and to Europe (TASPO-Goddard/Blake).

Acceptance of the steelbands by the middle to upper classes changed when they discovered the faces of the steelbandsmen of the early 1950's were changing from the stereotype to [11] the more light-skinned of the middle class college boys of St. Mary's and Queens Royal College (like Ray Holman). All female groups such as Girl Pat (A group of school teachers and civil servants led by Miss Hazel Henley) demarked the change. Dixieland, captained by Curtis Pierre, was the first middle-class Band; followed by Silver Stars captained by Junior Pouchet.

Light-skinned middle-class parents couldn't stop their sons from beating pan. They had fallen in love with pan and became a part of the revolution without having to bear the full brunt of the struggle. Their involvement helped to diffuse the violence and in the process helped to liberate the steelband movement. It became glamorous and prestigious.” (www-2)

Pandemoniacs 'The steelbands unusual US Ambassador' as summarised (www-7); during 1957, is another note to ...Trinidad's contribution to the music world will make its first appearance at the White House Washington, next month, when Admiral Gallery's Steelband of Marines stationed at the U.S. Naval Base, Puerto Rico, tour the U.S. next month. ...The band was formed by its patron, Admiral Daniel V. Gallery, Commandant of Tenth Naval District of which Trinidad is part. The pans and other equipment were supplied by the Esso Steelband. (Trinidad Guardian – Ref-1)

Anthony 'Tony' Williams became Captain of North Stars of St James in 1950. He was also a budding arranger and an extremely active and prolific pan-maker. His band was one of the early recipients of sponsorship, from Pan American Airways in 1956. Between sponsorship and the early 1960's, with an airline behind them, the band became one of the early touring bands (Blake, 169).

Williams was innovative in placing wheels on the large pans, for mobility, soon after sponsorship began. This made an impact at the Panorama of later years (Blake, 169). The inevitable idea of mobile pan racks, probably stems from Williams's wheels.

Pans Golden age

The Golden Era of the steelbands may be roughly categorised at to fall between the late 1950s to the early 1970s; it was the time that they made the most progress in establishing all aspects of their art-form, and the time between which they made the strongest impact for their cultural identity.

The peak of this wave was in the 1960's that witnessed steelbands as the lords and music masters of the streets at J'ourvet; providing all the necessary music for the Carnival Mas bands; and providing music at established party venues, halls, hotels, parks and clubs, for many a carnival fete all over the islands. The DJ threat would come later.

Despite that apparent lightness and gayety of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, an established cultural tradition of some 240 years by the time the steelbands came about, it did however much serious promotion for this emerging new cultural art-form when, post 1962 Independence of the islands, the Steelband Panorama was incorporated into the festivities in 1963. This began to root the steelbands as a cultural icon of the Nation. [12]

The seriousness with which the steelbandsmen approached Panorama, particularly the way the arrangers developed the music-form, made a profound contribution to the acceptance of the art-form; both locally and later on the international stage.

The National Steelband Panorama competitions arrived in 1963. Anthony 'Tony' Williams, who would later become legendary, Captain and arranger of the Pan Am North Stars, began by winning the first events consecutively in 1963 and 1964; and setting the format for arranging Panorama tunes, for generations to follow. Guinness Cavaliers who were to follow for the South, in 1965 and 1967 (with Desperadoes in the middle - 1966) had Lennox 'Bobby' Mohammed as an arranger. 'Bobby' is famous for having set the standard similarly of pace for Panorama arrangements.

The new innovations of the 1960's

'Tony' Williams obsession with the tonal quality of pan, would lead him to eventually define the standard for the 'style' of the tenor class pans. It began with North Stars reputation in the early 1960's of having Stage Side pans of high quality, and Road pans of less quality; an unusual extravagance; but one that set them aside in the competitive arena (Blake). He is reputed to have made, probably in the mid 1960's, one of the first pans hand crafted directly from sheet metal. (Blake, 169) The next time this idea was used, and in quantity, was some 35 years later by 2 foreign pan manufacturer, one in Switzerland, PANArt AG (2000) and the other in the USA, Panyard Inc (2002). The path to a standard came first with his invention of the efficient note 'spiderweb' pan, a tenor pan where between the 'grooves' of the web, some 36 notes were placed. It worked, but remained very difficult to tune. With some rudimentary mathematics in ratios, and mindful to the art of tuning, Williams then set the standard of the 4ths and 5ths interval in 'style' for the tenor that remains with us today. We should respectfully call him our “Archimedes” of pan.

Bertie Marshall, an inventor, electronics technician and master pan tuner; apprenticed to pan in 1957 when he joined the Highlanders of Laventille; used his technical skills to 'mike and amplify' the band Tripoli in 1965; he would continue this interest to develop the system in 1971 to what was to be called the 'Bertphone', an early electronic sound-mixing system. The further developed equipment was unfortunately lost to a fire on the 7th May 1980; the ideas were not then pursued further by Marshall. (Blake, 170/1)

Marshall however is noted to have created the pan voice, the Double Tenors, somewhere around the mid 1960's. He became honoured for discovering, around 1969, how to “ring” the pan by tuning in the 2nd harmonics of the notes octave. This method of tuning was applicable to all the high range pans of the time; and changed the whole timbre and dynamics of the steeldrum as musical instruments. (Blake, 170/1)

The late 60s and early 70s saw strong elements of jazz appearing in the Panorama arrangements from people like Steve Achaiba, Earl Rodney, Clive Bradley and Ray Holman, as the capabilities of the instruments improved.

In the 60s the Steelband Music Festival competitions were filled with light-classics. Soloist categories spotlighted young virtuosos like Ray Holman, Jit Samaroo, and Harold Headley. The 1960s not only witnessed more middle class participation, but also an increase of East Indian participation. Arrangers like Bobby Mohammed from Guinness Cavaliers; and the rise of the Samaroo Jets (a family steelband) in 1967 (G Maxime, 216), out of which would come Jit Samaroo to begin making a very wide mark, just short of a decade and a half later. [13]


Pan in the 1970's

In the 1970's the role and function of the steelband in T&T society declined. It was no longer needed for live entertainment, or year-round functions; it was being replaced by the technical advances of the music industry; low cost, high power, sound systems – the advent of the DJ's. These systems, through simplicity, cost and shear range of entertainment offered, began to displace the steelbands from their cultural niches, both on and off the streets.

The 1970's saw the Steelbandsmen became more focused on the Panorama competitions (Panorama Syndrome) whereby one ten minute theme and variation arrangement seemed to be the only thing taught in the panyards. Playing pan now seemed to digress into a true seasonal activity. The absence of the Steelband Music Festival (biennial: 1974,76,78) did not help the matter.

1972 was the dawn of a new era for Panorama arrangers with Ray Holman being the 1st to compose and arrange his own tune Pan on the Move, played by Starlift (placed 3rd). This was a shift from using the traditional calypso drawn from the seasons renderings.

The pans were still improving in the 1970's with Rudolph Charles (29/03/1985d) from Desperadoes behind the hammer. Charles, an exceptional leader, innovator and specialist bass tuner; invented the quadraphonic pans in 1975 with the help of Tony Slater - tuned by Lincoln Noel; and succeeded with varying degrees of popularity to the range; in expanded the upper (Ying Yang, an octave higher and one note lower than the tenor bass – used only by Despers) and lower (9+12) bass range sets of pans. He is also credited to have experimented with the pan skirts (bass range) and extending this to the Despers 'Rocket Pan' (cello range) (Blake, 171-174)

Abroad, the steeldrum had arrived at University level before it was introduced at UWI, Trinidad. Northern Illinois University Steel Band, under the direction of G. Al O'Connor, had acquired a set of steelpans and offered steelband as a course for University Credit in 1973.

In 1976 Trinidad had its first Junior Panorama competition. The beginnings of recognition that the youth were important to the culture.

In 1979 there was No Panorama because of a boycott resulting from a dispute between steelbandsmen and the Government over participation incentives in addition to an appearance fee. At the time of the boycott, the National Preliminaries had already taken place at the Queen's Park Savannah on January 10th and 11th. (G Maxime) [14]


Pan in the 1980's

The late 1970s to the end of the 1980s issued in the Panorama Syndrome stage; the focus was on getting to the Mecca of pan (The Grand Stand, QPS, PoS) and to win.

Awaking from apparent apathy and realising a need for the diversity, Pan Trinbago brought back the biennial Steelband Music Festival in 1980; calling it Pan is Beautiful Too.
In the 1980's; the Music Festivals were dominated by All Stars, Casablanca, and Desperadoes; and the Panoramas were dominated by All Stars, Desperadoes, Renegades, and Phase II.

From the inception of Panorama, Lord Kitchener's calypsos had always been favoured as calypsos that lent well to the pan; he would write many of them specifically for Panorama. In the 1980's, three (1982,84 & 85) of Renegades four (+1989 by Barron) winning Panorama tunes, all arranged by Jit Samaroo, were Kitchener's.

It took 17 Panoramas before the domination of only Lord Kitchener's or The Mighty Sparrow's calypsoes, that had always appeared in 1st place, was broken by Scrunter's Woman on the Bass played by Trinidad All Stars in 1980.

1986 saw the inception of the biennial Rudolph Charles Pan Innovator Awards (RCPIA), set to honour outstanding contributors to the genre.

A new sound was heard in 1986; Denzil Fernandez's bore pan. (RCPIA 1988)

In 1987 (& '88) Lennox Boogsie Sharpe would be the 1st arranger to win a Panorama using tunes composed and arranged by himself with; This Feeling Nice (Woman Is Boss) played by Phase II. Sharpe could arranged for as many as eight bands a season; a practice Pan Trinbago would stop in the 1990's, limiting the arrangers to one Conventional and one Single Pan band only; ...“to give more young arrangers a chance”; and causing arrangers to complain for the loss of revenue. The complaint was ignored by Pan Trinbago; and the arrangers would ignore the rule by skilfully circumventing it.

In 1989 Pan Ramajay was initiated by Ainsworth Mohammed manager of Exodus. The first show in Exodus's panyard; as it grew in popularity it would move to the Queens Park Savannah, PoS. The idea of bringing together a combination of conventional and pan instruments presenting improvisations on themes in Jazz, Contemporary, Classical and popular music, with various guest artists from home and abroad in attendance, was a novel step forward for pan.

Ramajay was, and continues to be on a yearly bases, very popular. An example of some of its past Artists have been: Fitzroy Coleman (Sax), Raf Robertson (Piano), Arturo Tappin (Percussion); and Pannists: Earl Brooks, Kurt Edwards, Dane Gulston, Brent Holder, Hayden Ifill, Natasha Joseph, Andy Narrell, Ken 'Professor' Philmore, Len 'Boogsie' Sharpe, Duvonne Stewart, Liam Teague and Clive Telemaque.

Mohammed's show has become a 'house-hold word' in a pan-cultural expression:
To 'ramajay' on pan = To improvise with exceptional verve and ability. [15]

In 1988 (1st) the first World Steelband Music Festival was held in Trinidad, ending on the 5th November. Steelbands from (British) Guyana and Venezuela were invited; and competitions in the Conventional steelband and Soloists categories entertained. Only 1 of the 2 Guyanaese bands appeared, BIDCO Invaders, and the entrant from Venezuela did not make it (G Maxime). Curiously, this is not recognised as a World event by Pan Trinbago.

From the late 1980's the faces in the panyard were changing again, as more women were participating and practicing pan in panyards. This male dominated province was slowly moving towards equality of sexes. Most young women had been charmed by the instrument through school, from the Junior Panoramas and the Music Festivals; and wanted to continue. So they joined the major steelbands.


Pan in the 1990's

In 1990 the Pan Parang competition initiated for Single Pan Steelbands (SPB).

In 1990 The All Stars of the island of Montserrat is awarded the RCPIA for Teaching Techniques.

The period from 1992 onward, may be viewed as the acceptance stage of pan. In 1992 the Steelpan is declared The National instrument of Trinidad and Tobago by the Government. With this announcement plans were in preparation to include music courses at UWI.

There began in the mid 1990's a movement with an emphasis to bring steelbands back into the Carnival scene, retaining their stature previously lost to the DJ's; and to keep them more active the year-round.

In 1995 Ulf Kronman (Stockholm, Sweden) Author, Physicist, Steeldrum Tuner and Pannist started running WWWeb pages about Pan, out of Stockholm. This he called: The Pan Page - a Forum for the Steel Pan Instrument. In July 1995 Ulf placed an internet-ready version of his book Steel Pan Tuning, (paper published in 1992) on his WWWeb site. Ulf's The Pan Page has now grown to become the definitive World Forum for Pan on the WWWeb.

In 1996 Ulf Kronman's Forum for Pan posted the conventional Panorama 1996 Finals Results, emailed to him by tobagojo. The first Panorama results to be published on the WWWeb.

In December 1997 Jeremy G de Barry, tobagojo, (San Fernando, Trinidad) placed The Steelbands (Pan) of Trinidad & Tobago site on the WWWeb detailing early Pan History, a TT Steelband Events Diary and Competition Results. This was the first WWWeb site to deal specifically with Pan in TT.

In 1998 the Pan in the 21st Century [Conventional steelbands = Conv] + Pan Down Memory Lane [Single Pan steelbands = SPB] concerts were initiated.

Linked with the Miss Universe Contest that was held in Trinidad in May 1999; the last of the major steelband events to be held at the end of the 20th Century took place at the Queens Park Savannah on the 22nd May. The Tribute to Excellence concert/competition included only the 11 Panorama winners to date, playing one of their Panorama winning tunes (concert) and a tune of choice (competition). Desperadoes, Renegades, Harmonites, Trinidad All Stars, Starlift, North Stars[r], Cavaliers[r], Phase II Pan Groove, Hatters, [16] Exodus and Nu Tones appeared. Phase II won the competition playing Cherish the Love arranged by Len Boogsie Sharpe. [r = Band reconstructed for the event]


Pan in the 2000's

In 2000 the Pan in the 21st Century [Conv] + Pan Down Memory Lane (SPB) concerts are changed into respective steelband competitions.

The (2nd) World Steelband Music Festival 2000 held in Trinidad between 9th to 21st October; all steelband categories represented. 11 Soloists, 3 Duets, 6 Quartets, 7 Ensembles (4-TT; 1-Grenada; 1-St Lucia; 1-USA), 5-TT Single Pan Bands, and 17 Orchestras (10-TT; 1-Grenada; 1-Finland; 1-France; 1-Switzerland; 1-UK and 2-USA) attended.
The Ensembles were won by Florida Memorial of the USA.
The Orchestra event was won by Skiffle Bunch of TT.

This was an important event in the history of Pan. Occurring as it did at the juncture of the turn of the Millennium. For pan aficionados and those directly connected with the bands that would attend, there was a special left over Millennium euphoria that was added to the already expectant excitement of a World Steelband event that was perceived to be timely in occurrence, momentous in occasion and promised much in answers to a prideful TT. For those who were to be the visitors, this was to be the culmination of a long planned journey, a step into the unknown, a pilgrimage to the Mecca. When it was over, it was all these things and more.
A complex undertaking that showed weakness of management and planning on one hand; and yet enormous amounts of corporation and support on the other.

A few points on the negative side; the venue for the larger bands, the Jean Pierre Complex, Wrightson Road, Woodbrook, PoS, Trinidad showed its usual Music Festival weaknesses of being marginal and noisy for proper sound; poor marketing and under-planning had seen all preliminary/semies attendances worse than low, with over priced tickets and with enormous missed opportunities to have the place otherwise filled with schools of youth and senior citizens, who now missed so much in terms of their culture.

On a positive note; the music presented was wondrous in the extreme, it just kept getting better all the time. The foreign steelbands provided a wake up call to TT with a menu of music that was more than competent and one that put all perceiving critics on park.

The highlights of this incredible and historic festival may be encapsulated in the four comments that follow:

  1. The local bands were interpreting classical pieces and demonstrating Panorama calypso. The visitors were otherwise playing classical music and interpreting the calypso genre. What a staggering musical feast. (www-3)
  2. Despite everything, the crowds favourite steelband was the smallest; Steel Pan Lovers and their 26 music-literate adolescent members from Finland. ...playing from a score-sheet...so much impressed the spectators in the East stand, that they received the most enthusiastic applause for any band on this finals night. (www-4)
  3. Northern Illinois University Steel Band, for their intriguing efforts, commanded 2nd place in The Worlds Steelband Music Festival championships of 2000. Their great achievement at this event was not their place in these championships, but in showing with authority the directions in which steel drum music can grow. They [17] opened the mono-phonic ears of the Trinidad and Tobago pan community to the fact that steel pan music is multi-phonic, vibrantly alive and well - outside. (www-4)
  4. More pan than people. (www-5)

The ICTSC 2000 - Simultaneous with the WSMF2000, and taking advantage of the presence of possible foreign interests from the festival, was the first International Conference on the Science and Technology of the Steelpan (ICSTS). It was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad, 16th to 18th October 2000. It was jointly sponsored by Pan Trinbago and The National Institute for Higher Education Research Science and Technology (NIHERST) functioning through the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, Trinidad. Convened by Dr Anthony Achong of the Department of Physics, UWI-TT; it was well attended and attracted delegate speakers from the USA and Switzerland.

The ICSTS illustrated that although research was being carried out by groups at UWI in Trinidad, that their efforts were hampered by low funding; and that much of the important research was already underway and mainly being conducted abroad.

A further connection between science and the steelpan was made following this conference with the comments ...That the secrets of those 'sweet pan tones' have now moved from 'beneath the breadfruit tree' to become the puzzle of the mathematical heads of 'rocket science' to describe, should be of no surprise and amuse greatly many a calypsonian and pan fan alike. This is no unjust claim, as in order to play the calypso of 'symbols' on the theoretical acoustic 'shells' of pan; a thorough understanding is required of the differential calculus of Newton and Leibnitz; the functions of Fourier and Bessel, the vibrational properties of 'plates' by Chladni, Ms Germain, and more lately Leissa (NASA); and through to the works of the new masters of 'vibration' Fletcher and Rossing, (and the recent works on metallurgy by) Ms Schärer and Rohner; and in between very many others. (www-1)

The NSO - The 21st November 2000 saw the Induction of the Board of Directors and the Opening of the Head Quarters for The National Steel Orchestra (TT-NSO) at 13 - 14 Nelson Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad. The band is introduced and plays in entertainment. The members are selected from major steelbands around TT; and qualify as the most promising and of high playing skill. They are to be brought to a minimum of 3rd Grade musical proficiency and trained in musical arrangement for Steelband; and must play in concerts as scheduled for the NSO; and remain under NSO direction for two years, receiving a stipend. It is intended that they return to their bands and their communities to teach; their further music education, if so inclined, to be undertaken on their own initiative. The project operated under the patronage of The TT Ministry of Culture and Gender Affairs.

In 2001 Pan Trinbago launch 2 x 6 week Music Literacy Courses; open to all interested: Beginner, Intermediate or at the Professional level. The Professional level participation entertains themes of Jazz improvisation and is for those students with at least 5 years experience, or equivalent, in pan and music proficiency. The course is run by Trinidadian arranger, Rudolph F Wells, on sabbatical from the USA.
Time / Venue:
11th June to 20th July – Trinidad All Stars Panyard, Port of Spain.
20 August to 28th September – OWTU building, Circular Road, San Fernando. [18]

The (3rd) World Steelband Music Festival 2002 was held in Trinidad between 10th to 19th October 2002; all steelband categories represented. 26 Soloists, 11 Duets, 9 Quartets, [9] Ensembles (?), 9-TT Single Pan Bands, and 18 Orchestras (14-TT; 1-Grenada; 1-St Lucia; 1-France and 1-UK) attended. The Orchestra event was won by Exodus of TT.

Although it had been planned for with grater expectations, it suffered an event and an argument that nearly scuttled it; yet provided a musical piece of note, that was about the event that had clouded its success.

The horror of the events of the 11th September 2001 (911), will remain perpetually etched in the back of the minds of those old enough to remember, from all around the world, who were alive at the time at the beginning of this world crisis. The terrorist attack on the Pentagon, and the twin-towers of New York, shocked sufficiently to change[] the pace of a planet.

The aftermath of 911 lingered long, and together with the argument that 2002 was too early a date for a repeat of the WSMF after the 2000 event; citing planning times and resource availability as reasons, the attendance by major foreign steelbands was poor.
Pan Trinbago suffered less criticism about the management of the show than they had 2 years before, and the show went the usual way of a SMF with moderate attendance.
As with these events, the quality of the music was high. Which leads to the other of the few redeeming features of the show which was; a small sized Hatters playing what was to be the contemporary 'piece of choice'; The Attacks and Aftermath of September 11th 2001 arranged by Dr Jeannie Remy. They received a standing ovation, the tune capturing the sympathy of the spectators, and became the crowds favourites of the show. But despite this strong achievement, could manage only a 7th place as there were only 26 Hats to go around.

The first Republic Day Pan Fiesta 2003. Scrunters Pan Groove win the Single Pan Band segment from a finals field of 13 (out of 26) Single Pan steelbands; and WITCo Desperadoes win the Conventional segment from a finals field of 13 (out of 38) Conventional Steelbands

2004 saw a major change to the 41 year Panorama competition format for the conventional bands when Pan Trinbago initiated a split into Small, Medium and Large steelband categories. Although upsetting the status quo of the bands as to who was the eventual Panorama winner; it brought a long overdue equity in distribution of prize resources and better matched the band sizes in competition. Exodus, the 2003 champions, did not pre-qualify for Large band inclusion in the 2004 Finals as was previously customary; the field was reset to zero for the start of a new era.

The (4th) World Steelband Music Festival 2004 was held in Trinidad between 10th to 29th August; all steelband categories represented. 20 Soloists, 12 Duets, 11 Quartets, 15 Ensembles (13-TT; 1-Jamaica; 1-USA), 7-TT Single Pan Bands.
The Orchestra category fell under the title:
Trinidad and Tobago World Region Qualifiers for WSMF2004; 12-TT Orchestras attended. The top 4 Orchestra Finalists qualifying for inclusion in the next stage of the WSMF2004 Orchestra Finals, to be held in a foreign country.

In the event; the top 4 TT Qualifiers in descending order of merit were: Exodus, T&T Defence Force, Skiffle Bunch and Sound Specialists of Laventille. [19]

There were no World steelbands in the large band category, as this was a world regional qualifying round for the TT bands only. But the Minor Categories, which was a World event, turned out to be better attended than 2002, and provided a show of high interest with some very exciting pieces of music. The large steelbands playing to the expected high standards, showed two pieces of contemporary music which were; From Kumasi to La Trinidad composed by Cary Codrington and played by Sound Specialists of Laventille (4th); and Echos of War by Lennox Boogsie Sharpe played by Skiffle Bunch (3rd).

The progression of the World Steelband Music Festival 2004 saw problems, Having been rescheduled form an European venue; first in Paris (September 2004), France, and then removed to London (October 2004), England, before moving again; the final stage was then reset for its concluding destination - New York, USA (19th June 2005).

The continuing (4th) World Steelband Music Festival 2004 was held in The Paramount Theatre, Madison Square Garden, New York, USA; on 9th June 2005.
Only one category was represented; The World Orchestra Finals Category. With a total of 7 World Steelbands; 4 TT-Qualifiers + (2 North American + 1 Caribbean) Invitees. (An expected band from Europe – The UK – dropped out).

The event was won by Exodus from TT.

This was the first WSMF Final to be held in a foreign country. It was also staged in at prestigious venue, The Garden, The Paramount Theatre, Madison Square Garden. Where credit is due to the Pan Trinbago organisers for successfully staging the event, it was plagued however with some difficult teething problems. Customs impounded pans for longer then expected, delaying practice for a day for most foreign bands to the US (in this case mainly the TT bands); difficulties of moving pans to the practice venues; and a rethink on how the bands would logistically present themselves on stage were just a few. The final result however, is reported to have been a show of excellence all round, with many of the spectators new to pan, in near awe at the proceedings. It is reported that a Pan Trinbago official, in auspicious response, summarised with ...“a giant step for Steelband.”

In 2005 for all categories of steelbands; ostensibly because of an early seasons Panorama (Finals 5th February); the field of choice was opened, from the usual traditional seasons renderings, to include the selected Panorama tune to be drawn from any year; provided that the steelband had not played that selection in any competition before.

From this point, at the middle of this decade, we perceive that as the steelpan has become accepted by people of all walks of life, it created bonds, and not gangs, of people getting together for a common cause; to create music. Over the years the steelbands have created tightly-knit groups of people who became part of a social unit, with a community and institutional identity – my band. The panyards have kept many youths 'off the streets', and otherwise mainly out of trouble. The panyards represent an arena of learning, a common venue for common values. A place where musical experiences are shared with their peers; and learned from their arranger(s), whom they respect highly. For all, participating in a steelband provides an opportunity to be productive musically and gives social gratification of belonging to a group with common goals. Joining a steelband is like joining a family.

Future decades hope, with guidance, that this unique cultural art-form of steelbands survives. [20]


Music Literacy on the steelpan in Trinidad and Tobago

Are we poisoning a culture with music notation? Is the definition of a musician someone who can read music? Are we inhibiting creativity by pushing musicians onto the note reading band-wagon? Are we destroying a folk art? Should we leave it to the ethnomusicologists to transcribe the music?

When we require children to learn to read and write in school, we are enforcing literacy to help them succeed in society. But is reading music a survival skill?

The answers are all difficult; with much room for heated debate.

Methods of teaching steelpan all vary; each society chooses a method that they feel, from their own perspective, is comfortable and quick.

For example, the grassroots society, where it all started, is most likely to teach steelpan by way of rote, “that is we culture”; there is little in the way of usable music literacy within the grassroots society, so they had no choice anyway.
An academic society in contrast, will use the methods at its disposal, the way of the classroom, the way they were taught; so they will write and read it.

Trinbago pan people are famous for their ability to commit to memory, large amounts of music learned; and it is all learnt by ear. Trinbago arrangers, working in reverse, are famous for their ability to submit music to the players, directly from their creative memories. This is the dual cultural heritage, the dual cultural heart of pan.

Without being diverted too much by discussions on sub-sets of learning such as; 'pattern' learning (where the note 'positions' substitute for the 'sound' of the note in memory), or 'motor response' learning (where 'my hand has to be over there to find the note' best describes it); there is a subtle 'middle' function that is active in this cultural process which acts as follows.

With nothing written down, the memory of the music lies in two places; the players minds and the arrangers mind. They both record it, when presented. It gets reinforced with practice.

From a teaching (arranger), learning (player), point of view; there is little difference between getting the tune from the arrangers head or from a written score.

From an arranging point of view, there are subtle differences. And these only affect the arranger, and the direct consequence on the arrangers ability to cope, or respond to it. And the success of dealing with it, may also affect the music itself.

The grassroots arranger; sets his thoughts out, and gets them played back. At that point, the decision is whether to carry on if the results are compliant; or to change it then and there, to fix it. If it is 'wrong' or non compliant, whatever was learnt is scrapped; and the piece rearranged in another try. The judgement on the decision for 'compliance', is purely subjective to the arrangers personal mood at that time; coloured by the 'musical impact' of the part, and the 'mood', fed back to him, by the players. Any change made to the part here; may send the tune of into a myriad of different possible unknown directions; restricted only by the pattern of the original 'theme' of the tune being rendered. This is part of the process of 'creativity' of the music, in the style of that arranger. [21]

For the academic arranger, most of this process may be done away from the band, where the 'creativity', although similarly imagined subjectively; is nearly completely defined beforehand. Changes can be as easily implemented however, but they are less likely to occur; the resulting tune being more reliant on the arrangers own belief in the work being presented, and less subject to the overall mood prevailing, at the time the piece is reproduced by the players.

The methods of 'creation' are different as well; and are probably not significant in the main, as it is the 'ability' and 'the art' to create; that makes each arranger different in the first place.

With respect to the life and longevity of the piece being rendered; there are certainly differences between the grassroots and the academic methods.

The academic approach keeps the tune for posterity, subject only to how 'well' and 'detailed' are the 'notes' that have been scribed on the score; so that a far future arranger may interpret the score to a parallel degree.

The grassroots approach is for more fragile as; even in its creation phases, it is subject to loss. In that at the next time of practice; should the arranger fail to remember what was 'put down'; subject to there being sufficient players, from all voices, who also remember what was 'put down' in the short term. As players move away from the band, their particular instrument voice may be lost. If over a larger span of time the tune is not practiced; or not passed on to new players, it gets lost. One factor that may 'lessen' the loss, is if an audio recording had been made and kept of the piece. But to unscramble this accurately, in some future time, again is subject to misinterpretation and noise loss.

There are some who feel a balance of both music writing, and rote learning, should be maintained. People like Ray Holman argue that when pan is in the classroom both methods, rote and reading, should be used as methods of teaching. He also advocates that people forget how to listen and develop their aural skills when they solely rely on their eyes to read the music.

What is undeniable at this time however is that Trinidad and Tobago are in this day witnessing two schools of arrangers:

  1. Those who create music on the spot by “catching a vibe in the panyard” and who are not musically literate.
  2. Those who come prepared with a written score in hand and who are musically literate.

In 2005 the company YARA Trinidad Ltd., directed by Mark Loquan, has set up a music literacy scholarship fund for talented students who are pursuing a degree in music at UWI's Centre for Creative and Festival Arts (CCFA). As part of the course curriculum in music, students must take pedagogical courses designed to survey and analyse music specifically written for the steelpan. As more students develop the skills to notate music, music that was once lost or only committed to recordings, will now be archived for future use. This is the positive side of music literacy. [22]

The UWI Students are currently working with the arranger Ray Holman, a pioneer steelbandsman who is from the grassroots school. Realizing the importance of the music literacy scholarship, Holman is teaching by rote, some selected pieces of his music to the UWI students. Under the YARA project umbrella, these steelband musical arrangements will be recorded onto audio; transcribed to detailed orchestration score; compiled into digital computer scores; and packaged as a teaching aid targeted at institutions of learning. Proceeds will return to the music literacy fund for scholarships.

Noticeable attempts to document music have already been done by only a handful of people. These were Trinidadians, with musical training and ability to read and write music, who were either in a military band (police or fire services), or studied a more European instrument (like piano) privately.

One of the first pan Schools (Pan Pipers) where children could correctly learn to read music on pan, was run by Louis McIntosh in the 1970s; results of her efforts appeared in her students Harold Headley and Satanand Sharma who now lecture music at UWI.

The fact that steelpan has reached out to the world means that the instrument and the music it performs is appealing. Its use and spread can only truly be achieved with the aid of music literacy. [23]

Education in Pan

At the turn of the 21st Century, the focus on steelpan education in Trinidad and Tobago is higher than in any previous era. Today the venue for creating music is not just in the panyard anymore. Music is taught in Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Pan Schools, and at the University.

In 1992 the University of West Indies added music to their curriculum; offering a Certificate or Degree in Pan; some twenty years after the Northern Illinois University, USA, had initiated a similar programme (1973).

In 1995 Dr. Anne Osborne (music coordinator for UWI's Centre for Creative and Festival Arts), devised a graded exam program for steelpan which is currently used in Trinidad, Tobago, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Grenada and in Maryland, USA.

A National programme placed the CXE examinations in music, into the most capable Schools in 1999. This would lend itself to be attached to the Pan in the Classroom programme that would follow some years later.

In 2001, the College of Science, Technology, and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) began an associate degree in Music Performance including the Steelpan. Steelpan was finding it's way into many classrooms; The music portion of COSTAATT was devised by Dr. Dawn Batson, who at that time was also the chairman of the board of the National Steel Orchestra (NSO), and wanted to see members of the NSO, founded a year previous, to work towards an associate degree.

Salah A Wilson, pannist and music teacher for the modest Salah's Steelpan Music Academy that he started in Montreal, Canada, to which he migrated from Trinidad; authored in late 1999 the book Steelpan Playing With Theory; to enhance teaching and learning of his students. In 2001 Wilson was in discussions with the TT Ministry of Education to have them put his book up for consideration for any Pan in Schools programme they may have been considering at the time; his book remains under review.

Around 2003, The Ministry of Education started a new program called Pan in the Classroom; and music literacy is being stressed. A Pan in Schools Coordinating Council (made up of school teachers) held Pan Building/Tuning workshops and Pan Arranging courses in panyards; and Instructional courses on Drum Kit.

In 2003 to 2005, the Pan Building/Tuning had moved beyond workshops, and become 6 month courses, attended by interested members of steelbands, who were expected to make usable instruments; with the aid of an experienced pan master who would help run the course. The courses were run at one panyard in the North, and two in the South of Trinidad.

Existing in 2005; there are also many Private Pan Schools with the goals of music literacy. One such innovative pan educator was Louise Mc Intosh and her school of Pan Minors. Numerous other pan schools exist including, Rojelle Granger, Esther Batson, Nervin "Teach" Saunders, Mrs. Merle Albino de Coteau, Maureen Clement Moe and Golden Hands. They have been educating the youth and promoting pan education.

There are two pan schools who do not teach notation, but perhaps in the future may be encouraged to do so: Parry's Pan School, and Gary Straker's Pan School. [24]


A View from Foreign 1

Besides at first as seen in ensemble, heard and perceived by foreigners as the stereotyped exotic tourist entertainment; the steelband has now evolved to be seen to have many uses and functions abroad; ranging from entertainment to education. Its value has risen to that of an educational tool. It is used in ensemble, for inner city youths to keep them active and 'off the streets'.

Murray Narell, the father of the internationally respected jazz pannist and steelband arranger Andy (Who has worked with steelband in Africa), was teaching underprivileged youths in New York City in the 1960's, using the steelpan in its collective sense, as both the attractor and the tool for education (and simultaneously teaching his son the genre).

Trinidadian pan tuner and arranger Clifford Alexis, presently attached to Northern Illinois University; and operating in these functions for the NIU steelband in the music faculty, and liases with the Science department on pan technology; taught inner-city youths for thirteen years in the St. Paul Schools. Not only did he make these youths musicians, but the experiences also taught them self-esteem, social skills, and invaluable lessons on life.

Alexis, together with Elliott Mannette, are the only two to date of the original Trinidadian pan makers, whom without a formal education were inducted into American Universities in the dual roles of student and teacher. They both contributed their Pan tuning skills to Science, and virtually all the 'science and mathematics' pertaining to the physics of the steelpans that has emerged out of American institutions to date, has been derived from the study of their work. They both have run pan making courses, and have produced instruments that, over the years, have supplied many steelbands over America.

  [Clifford Alexis - Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA; Elliott 'Ellie' Mannett - West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA.]

Because the steelpan is an instrument that can perform any type of music based on Western-tuning; the instrument has been incorporated into many music programs seeking an ensemble that can do just about anything. Consequently, there are many Schools in the United States that have steelband programs as part of their music curriculum. Steelbands can be found within elementary Schools, Colleges and Universities.

The value of the steelband is viewed by many college educators as a percussion ensemble that promotes ethnic diversity, teaches ensemble skills, encourages creativity through arranging, simulates music theory skills, develops aural skills through possible improvisation, gives and appreciation of ethnic music, and develops confidence as a performer. Its other value, so similar to the Trinidad and Tobago panyards; youths need a place where they can socially interact with their peers to accomplish and achieve goals that gave them a sense of self-pride.

An example of where the steelband can act within the roll of a juvenile correctional tool or better, as an avoidance method within highly stressed communities, is the steelband CASYM. …The Caribbean American Sports and Cultural Youth Movement (1983) a non-profit organization, …has provided academic, recreational, social and cultural activities for young people in Crown Heights, Flatbush and East Flatbush sections of Brooklyn. Through mentoring, tutoring, homework assistance, college preparation and other academic support services, CASYM strives to foster learning, and to enrich the education experience of youth. Its motto: “Education a Must...Drugs a Bust” is evident by the organization providing scholarships for every high school graduate in its program since 1990. (www-9).

   1 A colloquial term that means ‘A foreign country’ or ‘From Away’ [25]


The above text is known to be full of information holes, omissions and even some inaccuracies. However, despite these short comings, it represents a work in progress, and foremost, a document in hand; a document not available before. It simply represents the beginning of a compendium of pan.

As a teacher, and a person responsible in my discipline of ethnomusicology to inform my students of the history of a cultural art-form unique to these islands of Trinidad and Tobago, it has always been difficult to point to a text that would summarise the endeavours of the people that gave a new music, and bred a new culture, for a nation; the people of the steelpan.

The steelband culture, has in the past, suffered much inaccurate reporting not only in the press, but also in our schools; and has been criticised for its apparent short fall of accessibility and availability to pertinent information about its historical past. The above text is an attempt at a start, with the addition of some new information to hand, to redress this need and criticism. There is still much significant work to be done to make this compendium complete.

It is an odd, not unique, but an unusual story. It is revealing that surgeon and author Dr Felix Blake was totally right, having perceived it in 1991, following a personal interview. We had to wait till 1995, after his book was published, to learn it. We see the realisation of it, where he said ...”give the man the benefit of a scholarship to further his scientific knowledge to push the steel pan along the road to its ultimate destiny.” (Blake, 170). We must be a little ashamed of it now, as his message did not reach the intended establishment, because there was none of authority to reach. More than 10 years after Blake's revelation, we are piqued with understanding at the loss.

What was it that Blake discovered? He speaks of scholarship. We must remind ourselves first of what scholarship means, and where with determination it may lead. We see from the above history of pan that the early innovators worked and learnt their crafts in environments for from the laboratories of institutions of learning; and under difficult socio-economic conditions, and with little education to guide them; and yet they leave behind a legacy of cultural institutions like the steelbands; an entire new class of musical instruments, the steelpan; and have given the nation a facet of its cultural identity. Did they succeed or did they fail?

As a group, and we must remember that the knock-on effect of the spread of the pan, its manufacture, its teachers the arrangers, its players, its suppliers, its organisers; represent thousands of people overall; they were very successful.

But individually, as people away from the hype of a Panorama, J'ourvet and Carnival, a Point Fortin Borough Day, a St James Festival, an Independence Day, a Marabella Chutney Music Festival, a Steelband Music Festival, a San Fernando Day, the camaraderie of panyards, that had to face school, or the work place in the morning; after an arduous practice that had gone on till the early hours of the morning to get it right; what did they benefit? These pan players, steelbandsmen and steelbandswomen?

They received very little in personal benefit, other than a small bursary from Pan Trinbago for their efforts at the Panoramas for example; or some reasonable consideration from their [26] bands management, if the band had done well in a competition; and of course the glory of having played at the Mecca of pan, The Grand Stand, Queens Park Savannah, Port of Spain for a Panorama; or at the event of a Steelband Music Festival; or just wherever it was that the band had played.

We note from some recent statistics (above) that there is still a high degree of unemployment, around 10% and an indication that there is still a large group of people who remain in the low socio-economic strata; around 20% of the islands population.

From the history of pan outlined above, and from my own experiences of working and visiting various panyards around this country; as an observation, it appears that the majority of pan people who are the enthusiasts and players today, still remain in 2005, drawn from this under privileged group.

As a second observation, Pan Trinbago appears to have made a good decision in 2004 to split the steelbands in to 3 different prize receiving categories for the panorama; the Small, Medium and Large conventional categories. To quote from the above, …it brought a long overdue equity in distribution of prize resources and better matched the band sizes in competition. This indeed will be beneficial to the pan people as a whole.

It is not the responsibility of institutions of learning to redress directly problems of social economics. That duty is in the hands of Governments, Social Services and Managers of enterprises. It is our duty however to point the way, to facilitate the minds to learn, to provide clear paths for the opportunities of learning. It is our duty also to provide the equipment and facilities, layered as example from the level of the University, and stepping down through Colleges, Schools, and to the people of interest here, the Panyards.

In the case of the Steelbands, it is our speciality of music education that first applies.

A further observation, is that the management and leaders of the majority of the steelbands, is also drawn from the same socio-economic group. They too need to be targeted in any educational programme that may reach to the panyards.

So what was it that Blake observed that was discovered by others later?

At a meeting held by Pan Trinbago in the Crown Plaza, Port of Spain in the last quarter of 2004; arranged so that it was attended by the group of students who had just started a Ministry of Education sponsored Pan Making/Tuning course; together with the invited leaders of the islands steelbands; the group was to meet the US industrialist Mr Triller, whose company had taken interest in supplying steel drums to Trinidad; and to talk about the history and technical details about steel drums used in pan making.

It happened simply. An invited guest, now an elderly man who now lives very modestly and on the sidelines, was Mr Anthony 'Tony' Williams; and as detailed above, a very renowned early steelband Captain, arranger, pan tuner and innovator. As he began to speak of his ideas in his development of the 4ths and 5ths Tenor pan, it became very clear to us all, in a profound moment of realisation, that Williams is indeed a genius. It also became apparent, to those of us who were able to understand what we were realising; it was what Blake saw a decade ago. That although Williams had made very significant contributions to the steelbands over the years, how much more could have been realised had he the [27] opportunity to work and develop his ideas in some institution of learning. What an opportunity we had all missed!

The observation that can be drawn from this Williams story is simple. We have within our population a large pool of highly talented people, it is our duty to give them the educational tools to move ahead, and to strongly encourage them to follow this path. The Williams story tells us, not to forget to do so.

In my own arena of expertise, I make the following commitment in an attempt to meet this goal, which is; the preservation of steelband Music Festival and Panorama music archives; the transposition particularly of the Panorama renditions to score; and the study and availability of this musical tradition to students, as should be one of the targeted responsibilities of our higher institutions of learning.

Book References:

Ref-1 = Trinidad Guardian, December 20th, 1957, pg 6
Blake, Dr Felix I.R.- (1995):
THE TRINIDAD and TOBAGO STEEL PAN - History and Evolution;
ISBN 0-952-52280-9 hc
Goddard, George - (1991):
Forty Years in the Steelbands: 1939 to 1979; CHAPTER 01 - Birth & Infancy of the Steelbands;
Also - e-Book extracts:
ISBN 1 85465 034 3 Pb
Kronman, Ulf - (1992):
Steel Pan Tuning; Pan Tuning Book on the Web:
Maxime, Gideon - (1997):
Pan through the Years (1952 - 1996);
No codex - (TT) Soft cover
Ottley, Carlton R. - (1974):
Slavery Days in Trinidad – A social history of the Island 1797 – 1838;
No codex - (TT) Soft cover
Internet References:

The Steelpan - From Origins to the New Millennium - An Update to History; (2001,2005); A Salah Wilson/Jeremy de Barry
Steel Island – Culture; (2001); Steel Island, 14103 Panorama Drive, Austin, TX 78732:pan@steelisland.com [2000]
World Steelband Music Festival 2000 - Participants Status and Results; (2000); The Steelbands (Pan) of Trinidad & Tobago
Finals Pictures - World Steelband Music Festival; (2000); The Steelbands (Pan) of Trinidad & Tobago
Pictures - World Steelband Music Festival 2000; (2000); The Steelbands (Pan) of Trinidad & Tobago
1947 Casablanca Steelband Recordings - DISC album 719 - Cover notes by Charles Edward Smith; (2005); 2003 email notes of John Schmidt; Islands Research
The Steelbands unusual US Ambassador - Pandemoniacs of 1957; (1998); www.seetobago.org
See Footnote: Steelpan Research papers and presentations by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer of PANArt, Berne, Switzerland; (oct 2003); Islands Research
CASYM Steel Orchestra - bio - information - From the steelband world
    * Interchanged and corrected here; www-3 & www-4 were labled around the wrong way in the original document.
RADS_v04_edit2.doc :: Overview presented at the SISIAE UWI by Dr J Remy - 28th June 2005

Compiled & Processed by Islands Research for:
The Steelbands (Pan) of Trinidad & Tobago

Reflections on Aspects that Define
The Steelband Culture of Trinidad & Tobago
  © 2005: tobagojo@gmail.com - 20050702 - 1m20071228 - 2m20140615
Historic Update: 10 July 2005; Last Update: 29 June 2014 01:20:00 TT
Processed by: Jeremy G de Barry
Back to List: From the Steelbands Archive Database Up to Page Top