Welcome to my little show By Griffith Taylor This is a little presentation for all my viewers As you can tell I am from a land a lot of music and culture. So here is a little sample of my culture. Contents Steelband Panorama Carnival Calypso Cricket History of the Steelpan
By Griffith Taylor
As you can tell I am from a land a lot of music and culture. So here is a little sample of my culture.
Birth of the Steel PanIt was soon discovered that dents with a hammer on the base of empty biscuit tins could produce different musical sounds when struck with a stick. This discovery sparked a series of experiments and it was not long before innovators began seeking an alternative, more practical surface for their experiments. Perhaps incidentally, one of the island’s dominant socio-economic forces of the day provided a solution. Discarded 55-gallon oil drums that were used by American military forces stationed on the island provided new material to work with (later the island’s lucrative oil industry would provide a steady supply of empty drums). The wider surface of the drums provided more space for developing a practical musical range as the depth of the drums allowed for variation in tone (when cut to varying lengths) and the size of the drum itself gave rise to greater flexibility for physical manipulation. It was around this time that several pioneers of pan such as Winston ‘Spree’ Simon (generally accepted as the inventor of the first tuned pan), Ellie Manette, Stanley Hunte, Rudolph Charles, Neville Jules, Anthony Williams, Philmore ‘Boots’ Davidson (the only one at the time who could read music) and Granville Seeley, began experimenting with the sound of pan music and the general structure and composition of the pan. These, and other young men, from the ghettos of East Port-of-Spain (nicknamed ‘Behind De Bridge’) followed their dream with unbridled passion. Their fervor was fuelled by a desire to create for themselves a cultural and social space never before enjoyed by them in their socially divided society. Their efforts were not to go unrewarded. As seen in these two verses of a 1975 calypso by the late Grand Master, Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) which records the accomplishments of one of these great pioneers, Winston ‘Spree’ Simon, the years of labor finally bore fruit.Everybody wondering how the steelband start…I’ll tell you now it’s founded by one Winston Spree…A blessed day 1939, the genius say he recall to mindHow he hold on to an old oil drum, beat it with scornJust up almost skylarking, and there it was the steel band was bornHe went along beating blow by blowHe thought it sounded like pianoThis really inspired him to great extentSo he continued pounding until he form a new instrument……Excerpt from Tribute to Spree Simon, by Lord Kitchener
Panorama- The Formal "Clash" Arena
As pan and pan music developed and became a more socially acceptable entity (the constant clashing of the bands had stigmatized the instrument as one fit only for rogues) with the help of politicians, professionals of varying disciplines, members of the middle classes, clergymen and cultural lobbyists, greater respect was shown for the instrument (the instrument was eventually named the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago on August 30th 1991).By 1962, the year Trinidad and Tobago gained its independence from Britain, there were approximately 75 steelbands in existence throughout the country. By this time, the government had realized the tremendous revenue-earning potential of the pan. One year later, in 1963, in an effort to develop the commercial viability of the pan, the government established the Carnival Development Committee (C.D.C.) giving it the responsibility – among other things – to run a competition for steelbands at carnival time. The first of these competitions was held on Sunday 17th February 1963. The competition was called PANORAMA.