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LJWorld.com weblogs New Ideas, New Possibilities

The Steel Pan - in Lawrence?

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Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Online photograph

Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Online photograph by Lawrence Morgan

I think a steel pan drum team would be great for Lawrence

The BBC today had a wonderful article on the history of steel pan drums. Take a look at it:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18903131

Since I happen to really like and enjoy steel pan bands, I wonder if Lawrence has a team. If so, I've not heard of it. (Please let me know if I have somehow missed it.)

According to Michelle Huggins-Watts, "Music builds community and acts as a form of communication. Looking back centuries ago, slaves had been stripped of their cultural identity, their names, their music, so they created new music using things they found lying around. That created that rich history of percussion music."

Look at the videos below. See the smiles on their faces. The performers and watchers love movement, motion, and dance.

Trinidad All Stars

This is what Lawrence needs, not just for adults but for kids, too. It would take away a lot of the depression that everyone experiences at times.

A lot of people have no idea how musical they really are. They may have tried a violin or clarinet without much luck. But have they ever played steel pan drums in a band?

Think of downtown Lawrence, once a week, experiencing steel pan music. It would be loud - something which some people don't like. But those people could stay at home with their TV.

Steel pan drumming would also be musical. Play the following, which shows what really can be done at a more advanced skill level with volume, timbre and - jazz.

Andy Narell and the All Stars

The steel pan is simply wonderful, as Andy Narell points out below. And it is not expensive to make. You could have steel pan bands all over Kansas.

They could give a concert at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson each year!

Andy Narell on the steel pan

The Steel Pan is the national music of Trinidad and Tobago. People can't help but smile and enjoy this music. Isn't it time Lawrence had one or more steel pan bands, organized for various ages? They could find a place to practice, perhaps in a park, but could then come downtown on Saturdays to play.

And as for kids, many would find new musical talents. It would be far better than watching TV or playing video games, often by yourself during the summer.

Drumming and playing the Steel Pan really creates community. This, plus great community bike rides, sports, nature, photography, writing, and computers would help make Lawrence into the kind of town where everyone wants to be on a summer's day.

Oh, and I forgot - there also has to be a community college sooner or later in Lawrence, so that people could learn all the other things they've always wanted to try, from automotive car repair to weaving - at very low cost. With the digital courses that are coming online - free! - there could be small community colleges, often meeting in a room, througout the state.

Comments

Marada Dee 2 years, 4 months ago

When I was a little girl, I loved going to New York City to hear the steel pan on the street corners. It's like hammer dulcimer and the xylophone combined. I wonder how hard it is to make one? That would be a great class, too!

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