Steel Pan Festival

This semester, I joined the steel pan ensemble, and OU hosted a steel pan festival early in the semester. Although the festival itself wasn’t particularly international (mostly just a bunch of students from Oklahoma high schools attended), we got to attend a master class that talked about how important the steel pan is in Trinidad and Tobago culture. The steel pan originated in the late 1800s. African percussive instruments were banned in 1880, so people began beating on pots, pans, and oil drums instead. This new music eventually evolved to where people were tuning various parts of the oil drums to have different pitches. These tuned oil drums became immensely popular, and they are now a huge part of the culture. Each year they hold huge music festivals and competitions, where each ensemble often has hundreds of players. Music ranges from traditional local music to jazz music to classical orchestral music, and performances always include lots of choreography and dancing.

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