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

Steelpan music is a ringing expression of joyful defiance in Trinidad and Tobago.

After the “Canboulay Riots” in the early 1880s in which Trinidadian and Tobagoan descendants of enslaved Africans protested colonial leaders’ attempts to restrict the celebration of Carnival, British authorities banned stick-fighting (“calinda“) and African percussion music. In 1937 they also banned the banging together of bamboo sticks.  Trinidadians and Tobagoans responded by using anything and everything else as percussion instruments — frying pans, dustbin lids and oil drums. This developed into the modern genre of  steelpan music — “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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