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Does it annoy you when people use the phrase Steel drum band?

I wish to get a proper feel of the reaction to this question and would appreciate your response.

As popular as it is, thousands of people searching on Google for this type of band would enter the phrase "steel drum band" in the search query instead of the phrase steel pan or steel pan band; some even type the phrase Jamaican steel band, which I find annoying for obvious reasons. The term "Pan" is not as ubiquitous as the phrase steel drum band which is quite accurate when defining and describing the band. Outside of the Pan world, customers looking to hire the service have conducted more searches for "steel drum band" than any other variant when looking for a band. To reverse this trend would require a mammoth marketing exercise starting with the film Pan! Our music odyssey becoming a blockbuster. It would also require the government of T&T to do something that they have failed to do for decades, which is to take the initiative in promoting Pan to a global audience. The reality in 2014 is that the American bands have huffed the instrument and taken the initiative going forward. The phrase "steel drum band" is used on all of their major entertainment websites that offer the service. Clearly, there has been a shift towards the use of the phrase steel drum band for commercial reasons, but is that a bad thing if more and more customers are employing musicians who are skilled in the art of playing Pan?

What's your take on this? Do you think that there is an undo button for this misnomer? Does it matter?

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That term pisses me off too ..... but on the other hand, is it a "steelband" or a " steel orchestra"  I think that term, "steel drum band" came about from people not knowing exactly how to describe what the band was called. Just like how we go to a steelband concert somewhere abroard, and the band starts playing " Yellow Bird ". We also seem to use the term, "pan side" in certain cases, but I think that is a more localized version. So coming back to the question, should it be  called a "steel band", a "steelband" or a "steel orchestra" ... or, as we say in local lingo, it's just a "pan side"... Try looking for " steel band music" on Google, and you get information on everything from band saws to watch bands.

Yes, I find this most annoying.I registered 'steeldrum.co.uk" as my domain name way back, instead of going for "steelpan" as i felt so strongly about issue but I sometimes  wonder how much work I have lost as a result. Also I think it is even worse when writers (who should know better) use drum instead of pan. In fact pans are not drums anyway! There were some articles in Pan magazine about this back in the 1980s, and of course with the advent of the internet I think, sadly, the damage is so entrenched it will never change now. 

I take a different view on this. Since there is no escaping the connection to the "drum" I think that the bands should be referred to as steel drum bands and the instruments as Pans. What do you think? I like the Australian mindset when it comes to naming things. They prefer simplicity. For example, there is a huge reef which forms a barrier around most of the country, so what do they call it? The Great Barrier Reef. Then, there is a famous opera house in Sydney, what do they call it? Sydney Opera House. There are bands which use steel drums to make instruments, what are they called? Steel drum bands. 

I think the locals get so used to the term 'pan' that we subconsciously think someone is trying to rename our thing. That being said if we are not taught about any particular item or subject, we would automatically refer to it in a way that makes sense to us. To put it frankly, the instrument is made from a 'steel drum' cut at various lengths. So what is wrong with a band called a 'steel drum band'? Would you prefer  the term 'pan band'. Let's take the word 'steelband' in isolation, what does it really describe? I actually cringe at the term 'steel drum band' it sounds primitive but in reality it gives the true description of what the band really is. Just my opinion.

I agree. As difficult as this is for some people to digest, the term is very accurate in describing the band, which is why it is the most used on Google searches for this purpose. Referring to the instruments as Pans, is inherent; that is the term which was used by the inventors and this will always be the same.

When I hear the word "Steel Drum Band" it does not annoy me (I just ignore it), I tell myself, that person is a Foreigner, if I hear it being used by a Trinidadian I will look towards them with Scorn(urk).

In my days I knew it as Steel Band or Steel orchestra, when a Band is being introduced it used to be "Here is the so and so Steel band or here is so and so Steel Orchestra", and I think it sounds better this way that "Here is the so and so Steel Drum Band" (urk, so foreign)

I like your response. What would you do if you went to live in America and was setting up a website to attract work for your steelband; would you adapt and use the term steel drum band to compete on Google searches or would you fly the flag for T&T and be entrenched with the preferred terms?

Agreed, Bede ...


Naaaaw! Not much annoyance as when I hear many fcukers like George 'Umbala' Joseph prattling on radio that he is a negro. These clowns argue that East Indians,Chinese and Syrians may be born, live and be called such in T&T but Africans live in Africa. I spit on the ground before them. As for the 'steel drum bands',We just have to keep correcting the uninformed ones that a  steelband is made up of steelpans.

In a "Steel Drum Band" we use "Mallets" to play. LMAO

Mallets seem more appropriate when pertaining to the tools used to make the instrument. 

Thanks for coming back to issue, after your trip on a tangent.


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