When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

This first passage comes from a book written by Mark Cozart Riggio (Carnival Culture in Action -- The Trinidad Experience):


In 1945 the voice, still muted, was in the SMALL PANS, Neville Jules:

Ellie and I were in a competition in Tunapuna, everybody had SMALL PANS ... one guy had a BIG PAN with 12 or 13 notes ... the crowd laughed at [him] 'cause everybody else would stand and hold the SMALL PAN in one hand and play with the other hand ... he had to SIT AND PLAY with the PAN on his knee ... everybody LAUGHED but next competition everybody had BIG PANS ...I think his name was Cyril "Snatcher" Guy from Tunapuna.

                                                                                                                               (Jules, interview, 2002)

Ellie Mannette (2002) remembers that: "in 1945 we parade in the streets ... my drum the barracuda was stolen ... in 1946 I came up with the first  55 gallon drum into a musical instrument.

Norman Darway: But, we cannot forget 1947, Ellie Mannette sink the fifty-five oil drum, because, 1947 again, carnival, Ellie Mannette had a pan called "Barracuda" in "Invaders". The pan was sounding different to the rest of the band. Tokyo men who were bigger than dem at de time, because they were young fellas, come looking for "Invaders" with a chant 'we looking for Invaders we want to cut off Ellie Mannette hand', they invade the band and got the 'Barracuda pan' that Ellie Mannette cherished most at that time and took it to the hills. For about two weeks they hang the pan on a tree with a message to Ellie to come and get it. But Ellie did not go for it and this is how he went into the fifty-five oil drum and he sink the pan. There were people who brought in the forty-five drum, but he went into the fifty-five oil drum and he sink it for a competition that he wanted to play in an' in that competition in 1947, he came second again, to a guy from Elza Popin. Chick McGrew Springer defeated him. Chick McGrew came beating with two hands. 

Ivor B. Ford: The STEELBAND came to Antigua by Antiguans who traveled to TRINIDAD in the early years. In 1946 the transformation of the OIL DRUM to the STEELPAN was done LOCALLY. Experiments were carried out at TOWNSEND'S BLACKSMITH SHOP and the BURNING of the PANS were done at the DUNG HEAP, where fire was always available.

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Not really contradictions but a mixture of time and events as no one actually recorded the events as they occur. Events were passed on long after the fact by many persons. However, the newspapers at the time would have recorded somethings and that is why George Goddard Sr. depended heavily of the newspapers. 

The difference of one year is insignificant in a story being retold by old men who lived it and should not be considered as contradictory. The researchers' job is to search for the corroborating evidence if any can be found, in order to produce the "official" history. I for one see no problem in such a history if it does not specify 1946 or 1947 or some other year.

Well the ONE YEAR makes A BIG DIFFERENCE in the HISTORY if In 1946 the transformation of the OIL DRUM to the STEELPAN was done in ANTIGUA ... and in 1947 the transformation of the OIL DRUM to the STEELPAN was done LOCALLY in THE MECCA.


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