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Steel Bands

Manchester Caribbean Carnival - Steel Bands

Steel Bands
Stick fighting and African percussion music were banned in 1881, in response to the Canboulay Riots. They were replaced by bamboo"Bamboo-Tamboo" sticks beaten together, which were themselves banned in turn.

In 1937 they reappeared, transformed as an orchestra of frying pans, dustbin lids and oil drums. These steelpans (or pans) are now a major part of the Trinidadian music scene and are a popular section of the Canboulay music contests. In 1941, the United States Navy arrived on Trinidad, and the Panmen, who were associated with lawlessness and violence, helped to popularize steel pan music among soldiers, which began its international popularisation. Steel pan musicians are called Pannists. The modern pan is a chromatically pitched percussion instrument made from 55 gallon industrial drums that formerly contained chemicals.
Manchester Caribbean Carnival - Steel Bands
Manchester Caribbean Carnival - Steel Bands
Drum refers to the steel drum containers from which the pans are made; the steel drum is more correctly called a steel pan or pan as it falls into the idiophone family of instruments, and so is not a drum (which is a membranophone). Steel pans are the only instruments made to play in the Pythagorean musical cycle of fourths and fifths which makes them unique in the music world.

The Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO), formed to attend the Festival of Britain in 1951, were the first Steel Band whose instruments were all made from oil drums. Members of TASPO included Ellie Mannette and Winston ‘Spree’ Simon. Hugh Borde led the National Steel Band of Trinidad & Tobago at the Commonwealth Arts Festival in England, as well as the Esso Tripoli Steel Band, which played at the World's Fair in Montreal, Canada, and later toured with Liberace & later featured on his album. Manchester Caribbean Carnival are proud to carry on this tradition into the 21st Century & beyond.

Manchester Caribbean Carnival - Steel Pan