The Fascinating Tale of Steel Drums: From Conflict to Harmony
Discover the unique story behind the steel drum, an instrument born out of conflict in Trinidad and Tobago.
At Peace Drums Project, we're passionate about creating steel drum bands and spreading their beautiful music far and wide. But have you ever wondered about the story behind these unique instruments?
A historic tale
Steel drums, also known as steel pans, were first invented about 80 years ago in Trinidad and Tobago, a beautiful dual-island nation in the Caribbean. And the story of their creation is as fascinating as the sound they produce!
Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, Trinidad and Tobago was a British Colony and a major hub of sugar production. Sadly, enslaved Africans were banned from playing drums, as the ruling British believed they could be used to incite rebellion or send secret messages.
‘Enslaved Africans were banned from playing drums.’
As a result, the local underserved descendants of the formerly enslaved had their music-making severely restricted by the colonial government. But creativity knows no boundaries! In the 1930s, young people began to experiment with found metal objects, eventually settling on discarded oil drums left behind by the US Navy during World War II.
‘Creativity knows no boundaries!’
Born out of conflict
These ingenious drummers began cutting and shaping the drums to produce different notes, creating an entirely new instrument. Initially, steel drums were associated with street performances, poverty, and gang violence, but they quickly gained popularity and became the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago.
Today, this instrument born out of conflict and adversity has become the perfect symbol for our Peace Drums Project. By bringing together young children from diverse cultures, religions, and backgrounds to play steel drums, we can create a sense of unity and harmony that transcends borders and barriers.
‘We can create a sense of unity and harmony that transcends borders and barriers.’
And the best part? The steel drum doesn't belong to any particular culture in the area, making it easy for all children to feel equally connected to this new instrument and each other.
So join us in celebrating the steel drum's fascinating story and its power to unite us all through the magic of music!
Join us at Peace Drums Project in spreading the beauty and power of steel drum music, and celebrate the fascinating story of the steel drum and its ability to bring people together through the magic of music!
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