Sometimes you may even wonder how a day can go by without it. Simply unimaginable if you think about it. Among its many forms and genres, steel pan music, it is safe to say, rightfully stands out. This may be because of its simplicity and Caribbean coolness. Not everyone is familiar with it though.
Amid the rise of electronics and its popularity far back in the twentieth century, the steel pan stood out well. This can be attributed to its simplicity, because it probably is the only instrument that came from industrial waste. Nevertheless sturdy, it became an icon of the culture in Trinidad, defining it with its Caribbean roots.
Dating back to the nineteen thirtys, the pans did not have it easy, originating in the Carribean island of Trinidad. This was when African slaves or descendants wanted so badly to express themselves and their music, by normally beating on metals. Hoping to find rhythms and the right kind of harmony, they were clamoring to find a way to match the songs at carnivals.
They wanted to accompany the carnival music with some kind of rhythm playing in their minds. They wanted to experiment with banned tools, and so experiment they did. It was some stroke of good luck that finally made them create drums that they were able to tune and produce notes with. And the rest, as they say is history.
But even that had not been enough to avoid clashes between groups and enthusiasts, resulting in violence. Thankfully, it did not went on for long because as pioneers excelled in developing it, horizons had been brighter and steel drums suddenly had a good future ahead and along with other genres. Even the war could not stop people from appreciating it.
After that, it had become an accepted not only in the music industry but as an art form as well. That had been a defining moment for the island it had came from because steel band was identified as a big part of its culture. Rightfully so, the pans became their national instrument. They later on played a big role in the independence of Trinidad.
Music, before radio was ever known, had to be produced manually by people themselves. And so they did. Everywhere during the eighteenth century, it was present in the yards of slaves and the barracks of the nineteenth. It went on, transcending into the streets in the twentieth century, playing a vital role in the freedom of countries, like how the pans served in the freedom of its island.
This usually takes during the season of Carnival where pannists gather for the Panorama, a festival known as an important event in Trinidad. Competitions across the islands are also observed during February and March. In 1992, the pan became the official national instrument of the land as it continues to enchant those who watch and listen.
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