Weekly Times Now
It is a story that, despite great tragedy - the Black Saturday bushfires - has a happy ending.
And it all revolves around one woman: Rita Seethaler.
Growing up in Switzerland, Rita had - incongruously - been a long-time performer of Caribbean tin [sic] drum music.
But it was only after she fell in love with an Aussie, moved to Taggerty, in central Victoria, and lived through Black Saturday, that she truly saw the healing power of Trinidadian tin [sic] drums.
"I felt individually and also collectively after Black Saturday the community was in a pitch black pit where we couldn't get out," says Rita.
"I thought we need healing and peace ... Intuitively I thought the drums could be something that brings us together, that eases the pain. Because I know when I play and I'm not well I get better instantaneously or it hurts less."
I've been alerted by Trinidadian friends of mine in Australia that there is an article (exracted above) displayed on your website from the Australian News Paper " The Weekly Times" of September 19, 2012. This article talks about the story of the Victorian Bushfires 2009 and our music therapy project using the steelpan.
Unfortunately, the journalist didn't bother showing me the article before it went to print. And I was mortified to read words like "tin drum" and "tin drum music" - terms, I never used in that interview.... Sigh .... I sincerely apologise and hope no one is offended by this poor terminology.
Anyway - I would like to express a big thank you to Trinidad & Tobago for having invented the steel pan, such a fabulous instrument that gives joy to so many people around the world and that connects players of all ages and all backgrounds with each other.
For us it was and still continues to be a true blessing, for it has helped us deal with all the trauma and hardship following the 2009 Bushfires in Victoria, Australia. After the huge emptiness of a town in ashes, the steelpan has given us a new sense of community, a new sense of life.
Good on you Rita. The healing power of the steel pan is a phemonenon that should be experienced by all. We are right behind you. Lionel - Nostalgia steel band
You see...steelpan music not only unite people; it also heals people. Think deeply about it.
"Black" is good with Steelpan everyday of the week. That is the story of the creation of this musical instrument - see the conversion of cast off oil drums. Yes and Trinidad and Tobago's black pitch/tar industry, too! Black is Beautiful!