Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
The CARIRI Project
In 1972, the first scientific study of the characteristics of pan was initiated at the University of the West Indies (UWI) at St. Augustine, Trinidad, by Ron Dennis, a lecturer in the Engineering Department. Dennis, who was from England, analyzed the behavior of pan notes in the laboratory and theorized that pans could be pressed (made concave) by the hydroform method. Initially, a small die was manufactured and tested on mini-pans, with research help from engineering student Clement Imbert. With funding from the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI ), construction of a larger press designed by Ron Dennis began at the UWI Engineering Department in 1974. Upon his graduation from UWI, Clement Imbert joined the CARIRI project team which included Richard McDavid as the Project Manager. The press was completed in 1975 and, after testing, was put into operation with the help of Caroni Limited who made their machine shop available for the project. Pans were pressed from 1975 to 1976 and were tuned by Bertie Marshall and Anthony Williams who reported their findings to the project team. The biggest problem observed by the tuners was the material distribution, i.e., the lack of a gradual reduction in thickness from the circumference to the center of the pressed surface. Improvements were made and, with the support of arranger Ray Holman, the first complete set of pans were used in the 1976 Panorama competition. Pressing ceased in mid-1977 when funding from the Government of Trinidad & Tobago was halted... Ron Emrit
The press did not disappear – the press was in Europe at the Saab plant; there never was a local one. This was in the early 80’s/late 70’s as well and the project was conducted at CARIRI and included Richard McDavid (on this project) as well as Keith Maynard and Clement Imbert - all of whom have been involved in this project in one way or the other. We actually have two of the pressed samples (one mysteriously turned up after missing for all those years). That project included the likes of Tony Williams and Bertie Marshall. Funding was stopped for reasons I have not been able to determine – this represents 30 years of lost opportunity... Dr, Brian Copland
An unfortunate consequence of leadership that can't see farther than their own noses. Too late to restart?
Hello Lawford Dupres, that is a defeatist attitude. We can continue to "bitch", but it is never too late. What is required is funding and a serious commitment to complete the project.
Are we going to wait until another country begin to mass produce the instrument, and reap the benefits before we get our act together? Years of research has already gone into this project, and it should not be stopped.
If a private entrepreneur is involved, PanTrinbago will have to stay out.
It would be good to have a die, which presses and groove the pan in one process. This will save time for the tuners, and could be sold throughout the world as semi finished product.
As long as you can picture it, it can be done. It is just that it is yet to be done.