Pan History

The history of the steel drum

Steel pans (steel drums)were created on the Caribbean island of Trinidad in the 1930s, but steel pan history can be traced back to the enslaved Africans who were brought to the islands during the 1700s. They carried with them elements of their African culture including the playing of hand drums. These drums became the main percussion instruments in the annual Trinidadian carnival festivities.

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In 1877, the ruling British government banned the playing of drums in an effort to suppress aspects of Carnival which were considered offensive. Bamboo stamping tubes were used to replace the hand drums as they produced sounds comparable to the hand drum when they were pounded on the ground. These tubes were played in ensembles called tamboo bamboo bands.

[Reference: www.steelpan-steeldrums-information.com]