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A thought occurred to me that I had almost forgotten.

Remember when Carnival in Trinidad used to be a two speed affair?.

Long before the DJs, we had music bands on the road, and their music was at a faster tempo than the steelbands.

Most of the big costume bands (we called them "Historical" bands) preferred the brass bands for their music, and their masqueraders "jumped up" much like they do today with the DJs.

On the other hand, if you played mas with a steelband, it would have been a military mas or a simpler costume like cowboys, lumberjacks etc.

The steelbands held a slower pace, and moving along to their beat was called "chippin". By the end of the day, most people chose "chippin" over "jumping up"

It is interesting to  note that as the steelbands participation on the road declined, so did the "chippin".

Of course, the change in music tastes to the faster soca style also accelerated the disappearance of "chippin".


I remember the calls by calypsonians like Maestro and others for steelbands to pick up the tempo.


But one can not help but  wonder if a more aggressive effort of the steelbands to stay involved on the road would have kept the slower steelband "chippin" style as an alternative to todays manic jumping up on the streets at carnival..


Just a thought, folks!

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Comment by terry on June 29, 2011 at 7:43pm

Hey Glen & avid pan lovers, check your LP  'pan' collections for "Chip 'N' Jump" - Authentic Sounds of Trinidad, RCA Victor LPB 2001. My copy was recently shipped to St. Thomas where I'll soon relocate. But LP provides cool 'chippin' pan music by various steelbands.


Comment by Jennifer Ire on June 29, 2011 at 4:43pm

What a nice memory stream you just unleashed in me. Oh yes I remember chipping, I can still feel it in my body as I think about it. And when I needed a break I went and helped push pan. The change is rhythm kept getting faster until now it feels almost frenetic. No time for enjoyment.

And yes something was gained by steelband in the  rhythm transition; and something was lost, chipping was one.

Comment by Albert John Simon on June 29, 2011 at 4:11pm

Glenroy, Thank you  for the exceptionally wonderful commentary on "Chippin". However, As far as I am aware, "Chippin"has not lost its effect with some steelbands on Carnival Monday or Tuesday. I live in Canada and return to Trinidad each year for Carnival and I still experience the old "Chipping" with some of the steelbands on both days. As you are no doubt aware, Starlift, together with a few other bands, team up on Carnival Monday to bring out a Seebees " Portrayal" and there is the old chipping taking place with some of the bands. I have been there and done that. Has anyone else experienced that. Your comments would be most appreciated.


Best regards to all. 

Comment by odw on June 29, 2011 at 4:04pm

Yes Glen, those were the days..."The steelbands held a slower pace, and moving along to their beat was called "chippin". By the end of the day, most people chose "chippin" over "jumping up"

I could remember when the bands coming back to their panyards on Carnival Monday and Tuesday night...and the olders folks will come out with their children to chip for 'las lap' that was when the steelbands were all about community involvement and support...how times have changed.....http://youtu.be/peTvrVm4hTs

Comment by Foy Barnes on June 29, 2011 at 4:02pm
I have a question as to the origins of "chippin".  Did chiipin had its roots in the slower, easy-going pace of J'ouvert? My theory is that most individuals basically took it easy early in the moring, conserving energy and then really let loose later in the day.  I myself had instances where I had over-exerted myself beating pan J'ouver Morning and then went home, fell asleep and missed a good portion of the Carnival Parade.
Comment by Andre-Roger Dellevi on June 29, 2011 at 2:41pm

Chippin' was when you held on to a woman (or more) down the road...


Calypso went from tempo to soca-robics and groovy-soca, both have their place...

Remember my cousin Pinehiro playing mas with Pouchet's Silver Stars playing “Gulliver’s Travels” in the 60's and winning 1st place "Band Of the Year" title...





Comment by Judith Laird on June 29, 2011 at 2:34pm
Chipin and jumping up also reflects the pace of life music and lifestyle inextricably linked

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