Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
On the subject of the development of the pan in the early days, I got this information from noted Trinidadian historian, journalist and writer, Bukka Rennie and I was really impressed with his detailed knowledge.
As we delve into the history of the steel band, we are fortunate to have culturally well informed individuals around , willing to share their thoughts and knowledge with us.
According to Mr, Renie,
"What most people miss is the transition in the developmental process of the steelband. We move from "cuff-booms" (no notes and played with the cuff of the palm) to "du-dup" (two-notes- also called "bass-kettle),then to "three-note" (also called "tenor-kettle'); What you heard on "Lion-Oh" by Hell Yard and recorded in Feb 1940 were "Three-Note" pans played by Eric Stowe and Hamilton Thomas (Big-Head Hamil).
All that were done with these pans were what we call "riffs", rhythm. The first pan that could play melodies was the "Ping-Pong" (four-notes). There is a tendency to confuse things and call three-note tenor kettles, "ping-pongs".
Ping-Pong is the 4 note pan. First created by Neville Jules in 1945.
The Blanca recording is the first recording of "ping-pongs".
On that 1947 recording of Brown-Skin Girl there were two ping-pongs played by Philip Dunbar and Don Henry, Wallace Reed was on iron and du-dup and Sidney Corrington played an "oblong piece of steel, he played the length of steel using his fingers to vary the tone". In other words he played the Dhantal of East Indian origin. Still very rudimentary in the developmental process."
Outstanding work, Mr. Rennie.
On a personal note, I always knew that our Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra hero, Mr. Neville Jules was a significant contributor in the development of the pan, but I did not know that the quiet unassuming gentleman that I met on Labor Day actually created the four note "Ping Pong".
As you can tell, I'm learning a lot of this stuff myself.
We are fortunate that there are still people around capable of giving first hand information about these developments, for the historical record.
Thanks so much, I am old enough to remember the du-dup because that was as far as I got playing pan with "Sea Bees" later on " Maestros" led by Steve Lalsingh and his 3 brothers.
I thought the 4 note Ping Pong was created by Spree Simon and the 4 note G A C D Bass drum was created by Neville jules,
"Ping-Pong is the 4 note pan. First created by Neville Jules in 1945."
Bede: That credit to Neville Jules could face some stiff challenges!!!
We need names to go with our PAN history, so I am happy that those names were listed by Mr. Rennie. Can someone verify those names. No! I am in no way playing a doubting Tom here, but for historical archives, we must be correct. There is too much "this one say and that one say" in our pan world (lol)
Ian, the reason why I highlighted Bukka Rennie's notes on this subject is because I'm aware of his lengthy career in journalism in Trinidad, and I consider him a credible source.
Plus, he wasn't reluctant to back up his info with names and dates.
If anyone else have any information that they can verify, please contribute.
And that includes you, Bede and Claude.
We are trying to establish an historical record while some of the padrticipants are still around, and we are still learning.
Thanks Glenroy we are on the same page. Your words are good enough for me.
Glenroy, The Steelband history is who's story you want to believe, You might get a story from a lot of people that are still around and their stories will be different. If you interview Ellie Mannette, Neville Jules, Anthony Williams all of their stories will be different, the truth is in the eye of the beholder. (one thing I believe is there isn't no one person that is responsible for the Invention of Pan)
Glenroy: Have you listened to the 2003 WST interview with Neville Jules? That is a good starting point!!!
People we must not try to pull apart each other's pieces of information. Some body must have done something First and the others follow suit. i have a brother, his name is Clevelle Callendar he was not a Pan Man yet remembered jumping in a band with Spree Simon playing a Three note pan from the Croisee until they were stopped and dibursed by the Police at the police station. He can recall names, song etc. He is 81 years old. He was never a Pan Player.
What we have to do is collate all the information and then, like a jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces will fall in place.
Hey Bede and Claude, instead of criticizing me for trying to get to the root of the story and getting it out, if you guys have anything to add, then why don't you?
This is an open forum.
I did not criticize you! I pointed you to an article!
Look, guys, this information from Bukka Rennie was posted as a response to my post on Facebook, and I just quoted him.
I do not know Mr Rennie personally, But I'm aware of his work for many years as a journalist and writer in Trinidad, and I consider him a credible source. and I assume as a journalist that he has done his homework.
Like I've said, we're all trying to learn the history, and since I wasn't there, I have to take the words of people I consider credible unless proved otherwise.
So, If you guys have any information to contradict anything said, please share. .