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Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

The earliest record of steelpan in Jamaica was in 1954. Arden Williams, a student from Trinidad carried his ping pong with him when he attended the University of the West Indies, Mona campus (then the University College of the West Indies). Soon after, he and other Trinidadian students and one Jamaican started the first-ever steelband on Jamaican soil. Over time, different steelbands have come and gone but the Mona campus has never been without a steelband since its arrival in the 1950s. In 1973 the steelbands from two halls of residence merged and became known as UWI Steel (You-We Steel). In 1976 this band was re-branded UWI Panoridim and is still in existence today.

Steelpan has always been generally well received in Jamaica. Because the pan movement started at the University, it never had the stigma of violence or any major struggle for acceptance compared to other islands. The main source of friction was and still is, that some members of the public find the sounds of the steelband’s rehearsals irritating.

By the 1960s, steelpan spread from the UWI into neighbouring communities and across Jamaica. In 1962 McDonald ‘Mackie’ Burnette of Trinidad came to Jamaica as an entertainer and was instrumental in galvanizing the formation and development of new steelbands which gave fierce competition to the UWI steelbands. There was even a steelband competition and this was the closest the Jamaican pan movement came to having a Panorama culture.

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"... some members of the public find the sounds of the steelband’s rehearsals irritating."

I cannot believe that DEM JAMAICANS could say that about OUR BELOVED PAN MUSIC and NOBODY comes to the defense of OUR BELOVED INSTRUMENT.

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