Hundreds of Steel Pan Drummers Playing at the Same Time is a Good Thing, Right?

After the “Canboulay Riots” in the early 1880s in which Trinidadian and Tobagoan descendants of slaves protested colonial leaders’ attempts to restrict the celebration of Carnival, British authorities banned stick-fighting and African percussion music. In 1937 they also banned the banging together of bamboo sticks.  Trinidadians responded by using anything and everything else as percussion instruments — frying pans, dustbin lids and oil drums.ÂThis developed into the modern genre of “steelpan,” which we see (in multiples) in this video, whose primary percussion instrument is the interior of a tuned steel drum.

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