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Steel Pan History

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Title: Steel Pan
Name: Dominc Naimool
Student number: 1000035972
Due Date: Tuesday, March 19 2013

From the palm tree laden beaches of the Caribbean a comes an iconic instrument whose distinctive tune has for decades been characteristic of the British West Indies, the afro-Caribbean culture and the island way of life. Though its unique melody can be found throughout the islands, many westerners may be surprised to know that this instrument does not come from the popular islands of the Bahamas, Jamaica nor Barbados but from the small island of Trinidad & Tobago. Though this instrument is relatively new on the global music scene, appearing as recent as the 1940’s it is no doubt that in its short life it has made a notable impact in Trinidad, the Caribbean and the world. Unlike many instruments the term “steel pan” has multiple meanings and may refer to a single instrument, orchestral arrangement or family of instruments. The steel pan’s culture and tradition is like that of any other instrument in that the world’s perspective of it is based on a combination of its history, artists, repertoire, and performance context.

Trinidad &Tobago are a pair of twin islands in the southern Caribbean Sea. Though they are geographically considered part of the Americas, due to their proximity to South America and Venezuela in particular, of which they are 6.8 miles away (at their closest point), Trinidad has shared and absorbed much of its culture from its indigenous inhabitants, colonial history, and the people who came to work on the plantations. Trinidad was discovered in 1492 by the Spanish explorer Columbus, on his first voyage to the Americas. Like many of its neighbours, though it originated as a Spanish colony through wars, acquisitions, treaties and varied emigration it has changed hands many times resulting in immense cultural diversity. This long line of colonial masters began with Spain, who in 1532 appointed its first governor to oversee its new...