When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

DR YVONNE BOBB-SMITH

Cultural Heritage

Preservation Agents of TT

Pan, the queen, the king, the supreme, was created, originated and manufactured in TT (1930s) and emerges as an innovation of high significance. Pan, a collective title for instruments of the steel orchestra, was born out of cultural resistance to the State’s utter neglect of depressed areas at that time. It is the world’s only percussive instrument created in the 20th century.

Rising from the underprivileged class, this invention is wrapped in mystery because undereducated people devised methods to tune metal material (discarded steel drums) to make notes of musical equivalent to organs, pianos and other orchestral instruments.

Pannists’ competence is extraordinary because they use their ears to collect and transfer melodies, without scientific knowledge, to a discarded metal surface.

Today pan’s musical status is its high capability of sound to reflect a conventional orchestra. Pan’s creation has disrupted the notion of cultural superiority.

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Lord Kitchener "Pan Explosion"(1982)

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