When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

The steel Pan a Ne Kunda Nlaba documentary film about this only acoustic musical instrument invented in the 20th century and originated on the island of Trinidad in the 1930's.
In this historical and educational documentary film, Ne Kunda Nlaba shows the history, the development, the construction and also all the activities involved with this spiritual instrument called Steel Pan.

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Comment by Dika on April 4, 2013 at 8:18pm

Leave the pan alone Mr. Potts aka steelpan store. as you said Don't taint this beautiful instrument. It has an incredible history as is,

Comment by Dika on April 4, 2013 at 8:13pm

The Vibraphone is a blatant rip-off of the xylophone.

Akadinda and amadinda

The akadinda and the amadinda are xylophone-like instruments originating in Buganda, in modern-day Uganda.[17] The amadinda is made of twelve logs which are tuned in a pentatonic scale. It is played by three players. Two players sit opposite of each other and play the same logs in an interlocking technique in a fast tempo. It has no gourd resonators or buzzing tone, two characteristics of many other African xylophones.[18]

The amadinda was an important instrument at the royal court in Buganda, the kingdom which gave Uganda its name. A special type of notation is now used for this xylophone, consisting of numbers for and periods.[19] as is also the case with the embaire, a type of xylophone originating in southern Uganda.[19]

Comment by Dika on April 4, 2013 at 8:12pm

The Vibraphone is a blatant rip-off of the xylophone.


A silimba in a Zambian market

The silimba is a xylophone developed by the Lozi people in Barotseland, western Zambia.[15] The tuned keys are tied atop resonating gourds.[16] The silimba, or shinjimba, is used by the Nkoya people of Western Zambia at traditional royal ceremonies like the Kazanga Nkoya. The shilimba is now used in most parts of Zambia.


Comment by Dika on April 4, 2013 at 8:10pm

The Vibraphone is a blatant rip-off of the xylophone.



The Mbila (plural "Timbila") is associated with the Chopi people of the Inhambane Province, in southern Mozambique.[9] It is not to be confused with the mbira. The style of music played with it "is believed to be the most sophisticated method of composition yet found among preliterate peoples."[11] The gourd-resonated, equal-ratio heptatonic-tuned mbila of Mozambique is typically played in large ensembles in a choreographed dance, perhaps depicting a historical drama. Ensembles consist of around ten xylophones of three or four sizes. A full orchestra would have two bass instruments called gulu with three or four wooden keys played standing up using heavy mallets with solid rubber heads, three tenor dibinda, with ten keys and played seated, and the mbila itself, which has up to nineteen keys of which up to eight may be played simultaneously. The gulu uses gourds and the mbila and dibinda Masala apple shells as resonators. They accompany the dance with long compositions called ngomi or mgodo and consist of about 10 pieces of music grouped into 4 separate movements, with an overture, in different tempos and styles. The ensemble leader serves as poet, composer, conductor and performer, creating a text, improvising a melody partially based on the features of the Chopi tone language and composing a second countrapuntal line. The musicians of the ensemble partially improvise their parts.

Comment by Dika on April 4, 2013 at 8:09pm

The Vibraphone is a blatant rip-off of the xylophone.

The African xylophone

The term marimba is also applied to various traditional folk instruments such as the West Africa balafon. Early forms were constructed of bars atop a gourd.[8] The wood is first roasted around a fire before shaping the key to achieve the desired tone. The resonator is tuned to the key through careful choice of size of resonator, adjustment of the diameter of the mouth of the resonator using wasp wax and adjustment of the height of the key above the resonator. A skilled maker can produce startling amplification. The mallets used to play dibinda and mbila have heads made from natural rubber taken from a wild creeping plant.[9] "Interlocking" or alternating rhythm features in Eastern African xylophone music such as that of the Makonde dimbila, the Yao mangolongondo or the Shirima mangwilo in which the opachera, the initial caller, is responded to by another player, the wakulela.[10] This usually doubles an already rapid rhythmic pulse that may also co-exist with a counter-rhythm.

Comment by Dika on April 4, 2013 at 8:08pm

The Vibraphone is a blatant rip-off of the xylophone.


The instrument has obscure, ancient origins. According to Nettl, it originated in southeast Asia and came to Africa c. 500 AD when a group of Malayo-Polynesian speaking peoples migrated to Africa. One piece of evidence for this is the similarity between East African xylophone orchestras and Javanese and Balinese gamelan orchestras.[6]

The Asian xylophone

The earliest evidence of a xylophone is from the 9th century in southeast Asia according to the Vienna Symphonic Library, and there is a model of a similar hanging wood instrument, dated to ca. 2000 BC in China.[7] The xylophone-like ranat was used in Hindu regions (kashta tharang). Java and Bali use xylophones (called gambang) in gamelan ensembles. They still have traditional significance in Africa, Malaysia, Melanesia, Indonesia, Thailand, and regions of the Americas. The instrument was imported to South America by Africans, where it developed into the marimba.

Comment by Dika on April 4, 2013 at 7:56pm

Is the Vibraphone nothing more than a copy of the Marimba which invented in South Africa long before the 16th century?

The Vibraphone is not a unique instrument.

Comment by The Steelpan Store on April 4, 2013 at 7:12pm

When will people stop spreading the lie about that the steelpan is the ONLY acoustical instrument invented in the 20th century? The Vibraphone was invented somewhere between 1916 and 1924. That is a new acoustic instrument that was invented in the 20th century. Yes, the steelpan is younger. Yes, the pan is a completely unique instrument. With that being said, it was not the ONLY instrument invented after 1900. This lie has been passed around the steelpan community as "fact" everywhere from college programs like NIU to documentaries like this.

I am not trying to take anything away for the pan. People just need to say it is the youngest acoustic instrument used throughout the world (both parts of that statement are true). Without getting simple facts like this correct, how are we ever supposed to move forward as a community with an accurate depiction of our instrument's history? As soon as you tell somebody that is familiar with the vibraphone that you are playing the ONLY acoustical instrument invented in the 20th century, they will automatically tune out everything else you have to say. Starting with a lie makes everything else tainted. Don't continue to taint this beautiful instrument. It has an incredible history as is, it does not need embellishment.

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