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I have come to the conclusion that 1947 is the year that the first TENOR PAN was BUILT (in T&T) using a 55 gallon OIL DRUM!!!

If you go around the PAN CHAT FORUMS you will see hundreds of PAN LOVERS talking about PAN in the SIXTIES and SEVENTIES and a little bit in the EIGHTIES.

It is very unlikely that you will see too many people talking about PAN in the FORTIES; and just a handful more in the FIFTIES. The reason is obvious: Most of dem PAN PEOPLE ARE DEAD or too old or sick to participate in these discussions.

Soon enough all the ones talking about PAN IN THE FORTIES will be gone completely and a big piece of PAN HISTORY will become irretrievable. And that is why I think that there should be a desperate LAST MINUTE ATTEMPT to sort out some facts about the development of PAN.

Whenever these TRINI PAN LOVERS talk about PAN IN SCHOOLS in TRINIDAD or PAN PROGRAMS overseas -- they always insist that THE HISTORY OF THE INSTRUMENT should be a part of PLAYING THE PAN. Which is not really a cup of tea that I care to drink from -- but then again I live on the other side of the PAN RIVER BANK. But I do believe that if you want to TEACH THE HISTORY OF PAN -- you should LEARN THE HISTORY OF PAN. And VERIFY THE HISTORY OF PAN -- before you TEACH IT!!!

Anyway, I think that there is still time and resources available to define the EXACT YEAR that the FIRST PAN was FORMED from a 55 gallon oil drum. For whatever reason, that seems like an important historical PAN FACT to me.

So with 20,000 members of WHEN STEEL TALKS and all the other PAN SITES out there with hundreds more members and all members combined who collectively in turn all know another 200,000 to 300,000 people from the PAN WORLD -- get to work and start digging up THE FACTS to see if we could identify the EXACT YEAR that the FIRST TENOR PAN was built using a 55-GALLON OIL DRUM from dem YANKEES.

If allyuh so want to teach the history -- to me, that is an important fact to VERIFY!!!

Let me conclude by saying that I am pretty sure the date is between 1946 and 1947 -- but I am shading to 1947!!!

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The WHENSTEELTALKS WEBSITE puts this historic event in a relatively broad range (between 1945 and 1950 but I could eliminate 1945 and 1948-1950):

Developments (1945-1950)

  • sweet-oil drums (ping pong) sunk in convex fashion
    • 5 to 7 notes
    • drums held in one hand, rubberless stick in other
    • oil drum sunk in concave fashion
    • 15 notes with rubber-tipped sticks
  • competitions begin in Port of Spain & San Fernando
  • notes continue to be added to drums/instruments

Ellie told me 1946

Thanks, MATT!!!

That was the purpose of the POST to see if you could get some MEANINGFUL contributions!!!

If you go to the archives of the TRINIDAD GUARDIAN you will see that on September 17th 1946 there was a report on a STEELBAND COMPETITION which took place on September 15th, 1946 in Port of Spain.

And there was NO STEELPAN made from a 55 GALLON oil drum in that competition.

So the WINDOW was CLOSING FAST on 1946 being the year that the STEELPAN was INVENTED!!!

Mr. Jules speaks to us about the first time he saw 55 gallon drum used as a pan.

Kenrick Thomas wrote a book with the title "PANRIGA: Tacarigua's contribution to the evolution of the steelband phenomenon". And in the book he tells the story how Cyril "Snatcher" Guy  and Andrew Bedoe and Randolph Wiltshire all worked as a team to construct the FIRST PAN from a 55 gallon drum.

So the Neville Jules report on that TUNAPUNA SHOW is well documented.

But the PAN was CONVEX!!! So Ellie Mannette gets away with a TECHNICALITY because after he saw the obvious potential of the BIG PAN -- he had the insight to SINK IT. So he could rightfully argue that he was the inventor of the MODERN STEELBAND.  

However, I don't think that he built that FIRST CONCAVE PAN in 1946!!! Everything points to 1947, to me!!! And that could open a door that TRINIDADIANS may not want to ENTER!!!

Yes everything points to around 1947.


Talk talk talk yuh talk...start it ...simple ..one paragraph at a time..I will do one on Hillside symphony ...


PANTRINBAGO must make a determined effort to:

  1. Recover the Lennox Pierre steelband papers that were lodged with OWTU.
  2. Work with UWI and or UTT to plan an urgent exercise to gather the information from all sources, especially the few remaining seniors.
  3. Make. the documentation and writing of an official history a priority project.
  4. Collect all the artefacts, early instruments, notes, recordings etc for the museum that must be set up.

 It is already late but not too late.
 WE must have a traceable legacy for future generations that will also proclaim our ownership to the world.

Thank you Mr. Scoon!!!

That is a BRILLIANT RESPONSE to the issue!!!



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