When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

BY DR. STEPHEN STUEMPFLE, HISTORICAL MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA

In a field of sawgrass behind a warehouse complex on the edge of Miami's suburban Tamiami Airport, Michael Kernahan creates high-precision musical instruments, known as pans, from discarded oil and chemical barrels. He works in a small clearing under a tree that provides some limited shade. Assorted barrels are stacked around the space-some are full size, while others have been cut. A briefcase filled with metalworking tools rests on one barrel. From the edge of the clearing, a narrow path extends to another space, where pans are heated over a wood fire. In the distance is a third clearing, in which Kernahan's apprentice, Michael Phillip, sometimes works. This outdoor workshop is a peaceful place. Breezes blow across the acres of sawgrass, while occasional helicopters and small planes take off from the airport. The surrounding neighborhood consists of import/export, aviation and other businesses. It is a good location for metal artisans. No one complains about the constant banging of hammers against metal barrels. Moreover, discarded barrels can sometimes be found at shops in the district.

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Good work Jami.

Cecil: Yuh is ah real TONG MAN!!! You grow up with Boogsie and Jami and all dem big contributors to the PAN. I read that article somewhere, sometime.

DR. STEPHEN STUEMPFLE -- Where is JJJ?

MICHEAL KEEP THE FLAG OF T&T AND THE STEELPAN FLYING HIGH IN FLORIDA USA AND BEYOND, I WILL DO THE SAME IN MONTREAL CANADA AND BEYOND WITH THE QUEBEC STEELPAN MUSIC ASSOCIATION!!! ................"SWEET ESSO TRIPOLI MEMORIES"!!! .......TAKE CARE CUZ.

Big-Up "Big-Mike" Kernahan-Congratulations on all your achievements in Life! More-so, on your amazing journey through your continuing "A Life in PAN" This article that I have just read is amazing, the article was well written and a detailed description on the making, tuning, arranging and playing of the "PAN" was very articulate, Dr. Stephen Stuempfle did a masterful piece of descriptive and creative writing on the coverage of "Big-Mike" Kernahan's "A Life in Pan" and I say a special thank-you "Doc" for enlightening us on one of the most deserving contributors to our T&T Heritage and Unique Culture..As we continue to Boast to the World..."Pan Is Wee Ting!" Thanks again "Big-Mike" and keep on doing what You Do Best for many more years to come! You will be hearing much more from me, via "PANOLOGY" with Paintings & Poems!

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