Caribbean Steel Pan

There’s nothing like beautiful music to play to the beat of a person’s heart. While Jamaica is known for reggae music, Trinidad and Tobago are the home of Caribbean Steel Pan music. Steel Pan, also known as Steel Drum, music has grown in popularity since its creation and is now played all over the world. Little known fact, steel pan music became so popular that the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO) was formed to attend the Festival of Britain in 1951. Since then, steel pan has evolved to include a variety of personal steel drums as well as a variety for band use.

What is Steel Pan?

Like many traditional items in the Caribbean, the steel pan is traditionally made from empty oil drums. Once the oil drum is cut to the appropriate size and manipulated into the proper shape, music is played by using a pair of rubber tipped drum sticks. Depending on the size and type of rubber tip, different kinds of music can be created by the musicians. Most recently, the way steel pan is played has evolved.  More masterful drummers can play with two sticks in each hand, beating the drum with four sticks to create a unique sound. While the steel pan music is played all over the world, it is most commonly performed at the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival (see earlier article for more information.)

Where Does the Steel Pan Come From?

Aside from the rhythmic music that is created from the drums, what makes the drum most interesting is its history. During the French Revolution in the late 1800s, a variety of peoples from West Africa, Martinique, Grenada and a variety of other Caribbean Islands, immigrated to Trinidad and Tobago. The French brought the Carnival tradition with them and because the people of the islands were not allowed to partake in the activities, they created their own. The first steel pans were Tamboo-Bamboos, bamboo sticks which created rhythmic sounds when they were hit onto the ground.In the 1930s, steel drums were introduced with the Tamboo-Bamboos in order to create a more memorable sound. This style of music became so popular among the people of Trinidad and Tobago that it quickly became the music of Carnival soon after.

 

While the Carnival has come to a close for 2014, it’s never too early to plan for next year where you can hear the steel pan music live! Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago is set to take place February 16-17 in 2015. Start planning your trip today! Head over to TravelSpan.com and be sure to take a look at the great rates for non-stop flights to Tobago and travel packages they offer!

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