History and development of carnival, calypso, steelband

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Title:
History and development of carnival, calypso, steelband
Physical Description:
16 p. : ; 19 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Trinidad and Tobago Independence Celebration Committee
Royal Victoria Institute Museum (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago)
Publisher:
s.n.
Place of Publication:
Port-of-Spain
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Folk songs -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Popular music -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Carnival -- Trinidad and Tobago -- Port of Spain   ( lcsh )
Genre:
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
Trinidad and Tobago

Notes

General Note:
"Exhibition. Marie Louise Hall, Royal Victoria Institute, August 30, 1962 to September 15, 1962."
General Note:
Issued by Its Sub-committee: Exhibition on the history and development of carnival, calypso, and steelband.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 20587143
ocm20587143
System ID:
AA00010879:00001


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31st AUGUST, 1962

















TRINIDAD
&
TOBAGO


PRICE








INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATIONS

Sub Committee : EXHIRITION on the History
and Development of Carnival, Calypso and
Steelband.

MR. ANDREW CARR (Chairman)
MR. PATRICK JONES
MR. J. D. ELDER
MR. GEORGE BAILEY
MR. CHAS. S. ESPINET
MR. W. AUSTIN SIMMONDS
MR. NEVILLE MONSEGUE
MR. JACK LEWSEY
MR. LENNOX PIERRE
MR. CECIL HUNTE
MR. CARLOS HALL
MR. CITO VALESQUEZ
MRS. MURIEL DUPRES
MRS. IRIS KIRTON
MISS PHYLLIS MITCHELL
MIss VioLA CALLENDER





COVER:
"Negre Jardin" (Garden Negro or Field Labourer)
Batonnier or Stickfighter of the 1890's. One of our most
ancient traditional masques dating back to circa 1820.




HISTORY AND
DEVELOPMENT
OF
CARNIVAL,
CALYPSO,
STEELBAND.


MARIE LOUISE HALL
Royal Victoria Institute
117 Frederick Street
Port-of-Spain

AUGUST 30, 1962
TO
SEPTEMBER 15, 1962

Open Daily:
10 A.M. TO 9 P.M.


Z

0




H1





X






/ ,/ THE EXHIBITION
THE EXHIBITION covers three main subjects:
Carnival, Calypso, and Steelband. In addition, a wide
range of tape-recorded music and Calypsoes through the
years will be presented during the course of the Exhibi-
tion. This will include Kalendar, Tambour-Bamboo,
Steelband, mid-period String Orchestras of Belasco and
Lovey, and modern Jazz Bands among others.
CARNIVAL: Research, so far, reveals that Carnival
as a festival, has an unbroken historical heritage in
Trinidad for some 200 years.
The basic historical periods may be described thus:-
(a) Spanish Period (somewhat obscure)
(b) Pre-Emancipation Period: 1783-1833.
Developed principally by the French Elite.
(c) Post-Emancipation Period: 1834-1900.
Dominated by the masses.
(d) Traditional Costume and Calypso Tent Period:
1901-1945.
(e) Huge modern bands and Steelband Period:
1946-1962.
The collection of costumes illustrates the antiquity,
range and variety of the masquerade, and, in some cases,
reflects the extent of research undertaken in recent times
to effect authentic historical representation.
Some of the exhibits attest the high standard of
craftsmanship in costume design, metal, leather, and
bead-work and wire-bending.
CALYPSO: The Calypso is a traditional and
integral part of the Carnival. Excerpts from Calypsoes
down the ages indicate the comprehensive range of the
Calypsonian and the evolution in patterns of both
melody and metre which have taken place through the
years. In the early days, the leading Calypsonian in the
old Singing Bands was called the "Chantwelle".
It is interesting to note that the Calypsonian is
truly a chronicler, in that many of his songs record
the significant events and ways of life of his time
Portraits of some famous Calypsonians are also on
display.






STEELBAND : A special display traces the history
and development of this unique Trinidad art-form from
its early rhythmic, but non-melodic period in 1935, to
the developed Steel Orchestra of the present day.
Its earlier beginning, prior to 1935, can be traced
to a subtle and piecemeal infiltration into the Tambour-
Bamboo Bands, which it finally replaced.
MUSIC: (a) Instruments: A wide range of
musical instruments has played its part in the Carnival.
The earliest orchestral combinations were of the Spanish
type with Quatro, Guitar, Bandol, Mandolin, and
Maraccas (Chac-Chac).
Later, the Violin, Bass, Flute and Clarinet were
introduced.
Today, the modern Jazz Bands (with Saxophones
and Trombones) have replaced these earlier instruments.
But even these bands are today being supplemented
by additions from the Steelband.
Early percussion forms were the "Kalenda Drums"
for the stick-fighting bands. The "Kalenda" sung and
danced in the "tents" was the "university" as one old-
timer puts it, for preparing the stickman for Carnival
days.
This was followed by the Tambour-Bamboo bands,
latterly with Gin Bottle and Spoon as additional instru-
ments, the proportion of water in the bottle determining
the pitch of the sound.
Tambour-Bamboo was displaced by the early Steel-
band from which has developed the modern Steel
Orchestra, which today dominates Carnival, musically.
(b) Tape-recordings of the various types of music,
as well as a selection of calypsoes over the years will
be played at intervals during the Exhibition.






CARNIVAL
by ANDREW CARR
Trinidad Carnival has become, not only our most
outstanding national festival, but it has developed into
the best and most colourful festival in the Caribbean
today. Indeed, a large number of visitors to our pre-
Lental festival with experience of Mardi Gras in other
parts of the world have paid tribute to the Trinidad
Carnival as being the best in the world.
Specific characteristics make the Carnival the
unique festival that it is. Firstly, it is not zoned, and by
tradition flows through the streets to the infectious
enjoyment of all. Secondly, the degree of participation
of tens of thousands of people brings together a con-
siderable cross section of the ethnically varied peoples
of the country, transcending the artificial barriers of
class, colour, race and creed. Thirdly, it is fabulous in its
richness and variety of presentation, bridging old forms
and the new, from Pierrot Grenade, Minstrels, Robbers,
Jab-Jab, Devils and Demons, Sailors, Clowns, Bats and
Wild Indians to the resplendent historical bands of
several hundreds and the extremely artistic fantasies of
the Fancy Sailors.
All this has grown out of a long and interesting
tradition over a period of about two hundred years. Old-
timers say that there was a mild form of Carnival in
Spanish times. But definite research has been done on
the Carnival from 1783, when until 1833 it was heavily
influenced by the French who had settled in large num-
bers. Under the French the Carnival season was from
Christmas to Ash Wednesday, and consisted of concerts,
balls, dinners and hunting parties, and "fetes cham-
petres."
Borde in his "Histoire de la Trinidad," thus des-
cribes the Carnival season "a contageous gaiety, brilliant
verbal sallies and comic buffonery which made the
subject of the morrow's conversations." Carnival was at
that time an important institution for Whites and Free
Persons of Colour. It was almost exclusively confined to
the upper classes in the community. The aboriginal
Indians kept aloof, and the Negro slaves looked on,
being prohibited by law from taking part. Throughout
this period the festival also consisted of house to house
visiting and street promenading by disguised and






masked bands, on foot or in carriages, with music bands
of Spanish type instruments: Quatro, Bandol, Guitar,
etc.
Slavery was abolished in the territory in 1834.
With the post-emancipation period things changed
considerably, so that Fraser records:
"After the Emancipation of the Slaves things were
materially altered, the ancient lines of demarca-
tion between the classes were obliterated and as a
natural consequence the carnival degenerated into
a noisy and disorderly amusement for the lower
classes."
Old records reveal that from time to time consider-
able pressure was exerted by the "upper classes" and
other severe critics in the society for the abolition of the
Carnival. But the middle class liked and cherished their
Carnival. Although middle-class inhibition precluded
their participation with the masses in street bands,
which seem, at that time, to have been raggedly attired
and unrestrained, they, nevertheless, resented Govern-
ment interference and upper-class pressures.
By 1843, the Carnival, hitherto of three days dura-
tion was confined to two days Monday and Tuesday
before Ash Wednesday, as it is today. Although music
in the tradition of the Spanish Main played its prom-
inent part in the Carnival, by 1848 some of the street
bands paraded to the music of goat-skin drums, "tin-
kettle and salt-box,",thebanja (a West African instru-
ment), and chac-chac (maracas). The period saw the
appearance of such masqueraders as Pirates, Red Indians
(played by Spanish peons) purporting to be "Warra-
hoons" or Warraus, personation of Death, and "fantastic
numbers," represented by the continental Pierrot and
Negre Jardin bands, which were to become famous in
the Canboulay (Cannes Brul6es) Riots of 1881.
Whilst in 1871 Carnival was said to be "dying a
natural death," by 1878 it was considered to be gaining
new strength and fresh vitality.
Canboulay was from quite early a part of the
Carnival. Previously held on 1st August to commemo-
rate the Emancipation, by 1843 it began just after mid-
night on the Sunday. Bands of Negre Jardin, their stick-
fighters or battoniers itching for, and getting into fights
with opposing bands, paraded the town with lighted
torches posing grave danger from fires to the numerous






wooden buildings. Cannes Brul6es can be traced back to
the days of Slavery when the slaves were organised by
the estates to put out fires which broke out in the cane
fields.
Trinidad Carnival probably owes a debt of grati-
tude for its survival to Fraser who was Inspector of
Police in 1875. Had he been less sympathetic the festival
might have been entirely suppressed. He was eventually
charged with "masterly inactivity" and was replaced by
the famous Capt. Baker in 1877. Capt. Baker controlled
the Carnival to the extent of preventing breach of the
peace by the "savage and ferocious hordes." He was to
figure and become famous in the Canboulay Riots of
1881, in a pitched battle between the Police and the
masqueraders resulting in several injuries on both sides.
Governor Freeling made a move for peace. He
addressed the masqueraders at the Eastern Market in
Port of Spain. He assured them that it was not intended
to suppress their festival, but merely to protect property
in the town. He told them that if they would promise
to enjoy themselves in a peaceful and law-abiding way
he would withdraw the soldiers and the police. They
promised, and the police were confined to barracks. The
Colonial Office in London took a dim view of all this,
censured the Governor and commended the action of
Capt. Baker. The Canboulay eventually passed out of
existence but the Carnival remained.
Legend has it that the Town authorities left piles
of macadam (stones for road-mending) in strategic
places just prior to the famous battle. One six-foot-three
stick-fighter had the top of his beaver (top-hat) chopped
off by a sword-swipe from Capt. Baker. For a long time
the damaged head-gear was a proud memento and heir-
loom in the family. In Calypso, tribute was paid to the
men who fought and to such women stick-fighters as
Sophie Bella and Betsy Millar.
By the 1890s Carnival was taking an upward trend.
Businessmen became aware of the commercial benefits
to accrue from better and better bands. Ignatius Bodu,
Councillor and Businessman, familiarly known as "Papa
Bodi" held the first Carnival competition in the vicinity
of Marine Square (now Independence Square), probably
in front of his business place in Broadway, then known
as the Almond Walk. Competitions grew in number and






in size all over the territory culminating today in the
grand competition, among others, organised by the Gov-
ernment sponsored Carnival Development Committee.
In the evolutionary panorama of the Trinidad
Carnival some bands have become extinct, others rare.
Gone are the Pierrot, Jamette (Diametre) bands, Cow
bands, Congo and African Bands, and the Negre Jardin
bands, and their famous battoniers. These famous men
and their equally famous battles are remembered in
song and legend: men like Meyler; Fitzy Banrye; Joli;
Feddy Mungo, the Dentist; (he knocked out so many
teeth); Placide; Eddy Laptongue (a very talkative
fellow); Fitzy Green; Bennar Tiepin; Big Tom Lockhart;
Muscovy; Johnny Zizi; One Man Bisco; Socite, famous
for his protective stance "when he carray, rain can't
wet 'im;" Pierre Zayclaire (lightning); Mangamoosh
and others. Theirs is an epic still to be written.
Rare are the East Indian Burroquite and the Moko
Jumbie (stilt-walker) with its African tradition. Sparse,
as they may be today, there are still the Bats and
Clowns, Robbers and Minstrels, Wild Indians, Devils and
Demons or Dragon bands, to add variety and colour to
the Carnival.
From the 1890s to well up into the 1920s saw the
Chantwelle age when the Calypso singer as leader of the
Band, sang set or improvised verses with the followers
on chorus. Calypsonians adopt historical or romantic
names, and so among the greats there are :- Norman Le
Blanc (Richard Coeur-de-Lion); Julien "White Rose"
(The Iron Duke.; Jamesie Ardilla (Duke of Marl-
borough); Lord Executor; Raymond Quevedo (Atilla);
among others. The birth of the Steelband marked the
cessation of this type of singing band.
In the "Jour Ouvert" or the break-of-day Monday
morning Carnival thousands assemble in the City, as
of yore, to see and join in the masquerade. Apart from
the traditional masques, thousands may be seen in hot
shirts and jeans paying early homage in gay abandon to
King Carnival. This is the grand "free-for-all" in which,
like the street bands at nights, many visitors may be
seen throwing off the normal inhibitions and enjoying
the fun and frolic with the rest of the populace.
Of comparatively recent development are the great
historical bands comprising several hundreds of men and






women. So intense has been the desire for authenticity
that research committees often work for the better part
of eight or nine months, through all available literature,
in order to bring out their portrayals with the greatest
possible degree of historical exactitude. This has resulted
not only in a form of education in itself, but also in the
development of a high standard of craftsmanship in
costume design, metal work, leather work, bead-work,
and wire bending.
Another interesting feature is the extraordinary
evolution of the Fancy Sailors from merely fantastic
noses to the creation of amazingly artistic head-pieces
such as were seen in "Signs of the Zodiac", "Crabs of
the World", "Fruits and Flowers", "Wings of Beauty"
depicting five to six feet replicas of gorgeous tropic
butterflies.
Trinidad Carnival is a great experience. It has to
be seen to be believed.






CALYPSO
by J. D. ELDER
Calypsocs are the Carnival Songs of Trinidad and
Tobago composed and sung by professional singers
(calypsonians) mainly in temporary theatres or
"tents" during Carnival seasons. In many islands of the
Caribbean there are calypso-like songs e.g. the shanto
of British Guiana, the plena of Puerto Rico and the
mento of Jamaica, but the calypso of Trinidad and
Tobago called cariso by Atilla (Raymond Quevedo)
stands apart on its own because of characteristics
peculiar to itself. Among these traits are; the "half-tone"
(strong syncopation) in its rythmic system; the topical-
ity; its tendency to satirize upon every conceivable sub-
ject; its allusion and open "picong"; and its double
entendre.
If we go back as far as we may into the musical
history of Trinidad and Tobago, we find a body of
popular music from which the calypso has precariously
emerged over some three hundred years into the cele-
brated song it is today. The Negroes (1648), the
Spaniards (1502), the French Creoles from Martinique
and Guadeloupe (1783), the East Indian (1845) and
the English (1797) have all contributed to the musical
mixture out of which the Calypso has gradually evolved.
The Creole dialect words for the early carisos, the poly-
rhythm of the calypso tempo, the biting vitriolic social
commentary on every subject imaginable noted by
Bryan Edwards in the slavery days narrative ballads,
are the relics the calypso has retained from this rich
musical heritage.
The Calypso is truly the national song of Trinidad
and Tobago. All the ethnic groups in the country have
made contribution, historically speaking, to its present
form and the life story of all the racial groupings have
formed the subjects with which the calypsonians deal -
their pleasures, their tribulations, their religions, politics,
food, housing nothing escapes this exciting song, not
even the hidden secrets of royalty as in this song :- -
"Love, love alone -
Cause King Edward to lose his throne".
In the early days the "chantwelle" sang his pugilistic
kalinda songs in the city back-yards (Lacou Harpe,
Lacou Pembwa, Corbeau Town) to accompany the "Bois






bataille" or stick-fight a kind of game in which duell-
ing with hardwood sticks was performed to drum music.
After Emancipation in 1838 when Canboulay Kalinda
(stick fighting) and Canboulay were taken by the
Negroes into Carnival, there was resentment by the
upper class and forty-three years later an attempt by
the Police to suppress Kalinda resulted in the Canboulay
'Riot of 1881- After that, Kalinda-singing and stick-
fighting went underground in the urban areas, but in
the rural areas they never died.
In the towns the Kalinda Chantwelle then gave way
to the calypsonian. The old "kalinda yards" were re-
placed by the "Carnival tents" where people met from
November each year to listen to the members of bands
as they rehearsed the calypsoes for next year's Carnival.
The Kalinda drums were no longer used for tent singing.
Bamboo drums (tambour bamboo) were introduced
around 1901. The melodic line of the calypso remained
"single-toned" four line stanzas with a final line for
the chorus. The old Kalinda refrain "Sans d'humanite"
was retained as a song-ending as late as 1928.
After 1928 the longer oratorial type of song was
introduced by singers like Lord Executor (Garcia) and
Atilla the Hun (Raymond Quevedo). In this period
arose the "duet" performance in which two calypsonians
would sing a narrative, passing it, as it progressed, from
singer to singer. This departure from the old African
"solo-call chorus" method was important since it involved
more cooperation and reduced conflict. There were even
attempts at "quartet-groups" of which Nap Hepburn's
"March of Dimes" is a contemporary survivor. Some old
calypsoes manifest both kinship to the African secular
narrative ballads as well as reflect the pugilism of the
old Kalinda stick music. Among these old songs may be
mentioned :-
1. "Ja Ja Romy Aye
Ja Ja Romy Shango" (African)
(and)
2. S6 vrai
Ou pa connait dAnj6
Ding ding why, why.
Translation : It is true, you do not know danger, "Ding
ding, why ? why ?
These two famous old songs have returned over
and over again in new versions as far as the texts are
10






concerned, but the melody remained. "Ding ding why
why" was adopted as the campaign song for a famous
Trinidad war-veteran turned Labour leader. It ran as
follows :-
"Young girl
Who you voting for ?
Cipriani -
We don't want Major Rust
To make bassa-bassa here Ambas caille-la !
The tune used was identical with the ancient kalinda-
song the refrain of which ran :-
"Depi mama f6 mwe
Nom pa ka ba mwe bwa
En bataille la".
Translation: Since my mother made me man never
beat me in battle.
Some of the famous calypsoes that have made
history are really melodies introduced from other Carib-
bean islands and arranged for new texts composed by
Trinidad singers. Among the most celebrated ones are :-
1. "Go way Jestina" (TOBAGO)
2. "Payne Dead" (BARBADOS)
3. "Sly Mongoose" (JAMAICA)
4. "Last train for San Fernando" (GUADELOUPE)
5. "Who dead ? Canaan" (GRENADINES)
6. "Rum and Coco Cola" (MARTINIQUE)
In the mouth of the Trinidad singer these simple
songs jumped to rhythmic life and the new words with
their vitriolic peppery picong assumed a new galvanic
appeal. Truly the Trinidad calypsonian is a master of
the art and cannot be imitated.
The hall of fame of calypso-singing is decorated
with the names of celebrated singers many of whom in
exasperation over the hesitancy with which calypso
was accepted as art music, left their country to sing
abroad. Among these are Lion, Houdini, Melody and
Kitchener. We can never, in the history of popular
music, forget the early singers like Carreser, Spoiler,
Dictator, Tiger, Kitchener, Radio, Lady lere, Douglas,
etc. But the giants among them all were Lord Executor
(Garcia) and Atilla (Raymond Quevedo) two
singers of exceptional fame whose calypsoes were of such
musical excellence and whose ballads were so critical of






the life and times in which they lived, that the social
history of Trinidad and Tobago can hardly be written
without mention of the influence their songs had upon
the social and political life of the era in which they lived.
In contemporary times Slinger Francisco known as
the "Mighty Sparrow" has revolutionised calypso sing-
ing. His melodies reflect the traditional musical forms
and his satire is as vitriolic and scathing as that of
Atilla's. But his songs have a new focus, they are a
reflection of a development in Trinidad society in which
the country has emerged into a national entity with
room for vigorous individualism whether based on
money, education, or high birth or success in life.
It is the individualism based on the realisation of a new
power that underlies Sparrow's singing. Of course, the
conventional humour and "picong" are always present
in the songs Sparrow sings, but certainly, calypso singing
has hit a new high with this talented man and truly
great poet of present times. Maybe his "Jamaica Ref-
erendum" will remain historically significant in the
traditional musical development of Trinidad and
Tobago for generations. Sparrow has demonstrated
beyond doubt that, as Atilla argued in 1934, calypso is
an art and the calypsonian is a professional. Among
Sparrow's outstanding songs are "Jean and Dinah",
"Maymay", and "Ten to One is Murder".






THE MUSICAL MAGIC OF PAN
by W. AUSTIN SIMMONDS
Trinidad, Errol John has written, "is the most
cosmopolitan of the Caribbean islands, with a history
dating back to 1498. Since that time the Carib, the
Spaniard, the French, the Portuguese, the African, the
East Indian, the English, the Chinese; Scots, Assyrians,
Jews, Venezuelans and other national groups have
'bedded' together to provide the island with the greatest
variety of complexions under the sun; racial types so
mixed that sometimes in one family one child is as fair-
skinned as the other is dark."
With such a heterogenous admixture of cultures,
tastes and races, it was not surprising that the amalgam
produced something new, unique, the first truly
indigenous art-form in the West Indies. In this land of
sunshine, how better could the artist express himself
than in music.
'PAN', the art of musical interpretation through
the medium of steel oil drums is a unique product of
Trinidad. The drum is the dominant feature of the music
of the principal ethnic groups from which Trinidadians
have descended. Both African and East Indian music
have undertones of staccato drum-rythms, particularly
the African. The three major influences that have con-
tributed, to the development of the steelband of Trini-
dad are : the 'tambour-bamboo'; the 'bottle and spoon';
and the Indian drum of the Hosein Festival.
In the immediate post-abolition of slavery period,
there was permitted a week-long festival of drinking and
dancing etc., to the accompaniment of African-type
drums. In general, it was the letting off of steam by
the newly-freed slaves culminating in the Cannes
Brulees Riots of 1881. After the riots Cannes Brulees
was outlawed, African drumming was banned; but it
went underground. The drummers devised bamboo
drums. This bamboo drumming became a feature of the
by then official carnival celebrations and was called
Inmboo bamboo.
The non-melodic rythmic beat of the tambour
bamboo was led by the famous 'chantwelles' singers
of African rythms but with even then, definite Hispano-
Gaellic influences. Nostalgic indeed are the memories of
"Ambakaila", "Leggo the Lion" and "Hooray-HIoorah".






By the late thirties and early forties the bamboo drums
were being superseded by bits and pieces of metal which
produced similar non-melodic but highly rythmic caco-
phonies.
With carnival suspended during the last World
War, it was only natural that when V.E. was proclaimed
and the drummers poured into the streets to celebrate
"Victory in Europe" that metal drumming came into
its own.
Bottle and spoon bands developed at small parties.
Melodic sounds were produced by striking partly filled
bottles of water with spoons. It was not too great an
imaginative leap to produce even better tonal effects by
striking pieces of metal. So, weirdly shaped steel bars
and tubes came into use, in the first attempts to make
music with steel. Soon, prized pieces of steel were stolen
from one band by another. This, coupled with the
general moral laxity that comes in the wake of wars
led to a series of 'steelband clashes'. Violence led finally
to a legal ban on this type of music. It was considered
the music of the slums and only vagabonds played and
appreciated it. Once again a new channel, a new outlet
for the musical aspirations of an inherently musical
people had to be found; this time it was the East Indian
Hosein Festival.
The East Indian indentured labourer was guaranteed
religious freedom. Consequently, his drum festivals were
never banned. During the annual Hosein Festival, named
after the passion-play commemorating the death of
Hosein and Hassan sons of Mohammed elaborately
made temples of paper and bamboo are paraded through
the streets to the accompaniment of drums. Indian
drums, which are made of goat-skin heads on tubular
wooden bodies are hung from the waists by thongs. This
influenced the early clandestine steel drummers to dis-
card their tubes and bars and to use the tops of paint -
and other drums hung from the waists, (remember the
early 'cut-and-tumble' drummers of Bar-20) and later
hung from the neck.
The Government authorities soon set up a com-
mittee to release the drummers from their legal ban
and focused this indigenous talent. The steel band
was beginning to achieve the respectability for which it
had always hankered. On the night the British Governor,
Sir John Shaw, danced to the strains of the steelband






and called for more the inhibitions of respectable parents
who had refused to permit their children to learn to
play the instruments finally vanished. Steelband music
had arrived.
There are now four basic types of instruments in a
steelband; the ping-pong, the guitar-pan, the cello-pan,
and the boom, corresponding to soprano, alto, tenor, and
bass respectively. A steelband may have any number of
instrumentalists, from the basic four up to a 'carnival
road-march side' of over 100. The number of notes on a
'pan' may vary from the four on a boom to 32 on a
ping-pong. Thus, the tonal variations of the band ('light
and shade' in 'panmanese') as derived from the numeri-
cal groupings of the basic sections of the band is infinite.
The pans are struck with sticks, which are wrapped with
rubber strips to produce the soft liquid sounds now
the hallmark of good drumming in steel.
In Trinidad a steelband is known as a 'pan-side'
and the word 'PAN' has two connotations. The first
refers to the instrument, the second to a way of musical
life. Pan, the instrument, is, in truth, not a drum at all.
It is a tuned gong, made from the top of a 44-gallon steel
barrel, the tubular length of which varies according to
the tonal requirement. An idea of the tonal quality and
the number of pans of a pan-side can be obtained from
the fact that many instrumentalists play double-pans,
the 'bass-boomer' playing as many as six.
The making of a pan requires intense concentration
and great delicacy of perception. First, a steel drum is
acquired. The bung-end is cut off, the length determining
the pitch of the pan. The other end is then beaten
inward forming a concave surface on which the 'notes'
are marked off and reamed with a cold chisel and hammer.
Great care must be taken to make channels deep enough
to avoid overtones without at the same time puncturing
the metal. The pan is then heated and tempered. The
tuner then takes over, his tuning instruments being a
two-pound hammer and an ear for perfect pitch. Watch-
ing a tuner in action is an unforgettable experience.
Everyone and everything is still. Other members of the
band look on with silent envy, for this is the most
respected member of the band. He may take two or three
days to tune a single note to his satisfaction; or he may
strike it right and tune a 32-note ping-pong in a matter
of hours.






Some people say that panmen take themselves too
seriously, that they abuse the works of immortal com-
posers, that they only try to copy the interpretations
of other and more famous musicians. But a panman is
a musician. Like his counterparts everywhere, he plays
compositions of the masters, suitably arranged for the
limitations of the instrument. He takes the music of
other climes and gives it an injection of lilting sunshine.
Pan music can cast a spell of enchantment on the
panman. Wrapped in a cocoon of liquid sounds, he is
insulated from everything save the interplay of rhythms
a;nd melodies and variations. The essential feature of
pan music is that the melody is carried by one instru-
inent at a time while others play more or less 'free'
variations on the theme. Although this type of musical
exchange has been observed in the singing of Sudanese
and certain West African communities, it probably is
the first time that melody-transfer from instrument to
instrument has been accomplished by musicians without
any formal musical training.
But 'PAN' is no mere musical oddity. Just as the
intermarriage of peoples of different ethnic groups makes
it possible to see beauties of every complexion from
sapodilla and spice to peaches and cream on a casual
stroll along Frederick Street, so too, on a stroll among
the hills of Laventille on a moonlit night the mixture of
the Teutonic Bach and the Latin Barroso, of (waltz)
King Strauss and (calypso) King Sparrow makes it
possible to listen to and appreciate the intermarriage of
musical cultures the offspring of which is 'PAN'.
'PAN' is the core of a national culture and the first
expression of a truly Trinidadian art-form.














ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The Sub-Committee wishes to express its apprecia-
tion and thanks to the following firms:

BRITISH PAINTS (CARIBBEAN) LTD.

IMPERIAL CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES

SlSSONS PAINTS (WEST INDIES) LTD.
for gifts of paint.

RADIO TRINIDAD

RADIO GUARDIAN
Sfor recordings of music and calypsoes.

SHELL (TRINIDAD) LTD.
fJr allowing us the use of the cover design.

CINEVIEW ADVERTISING SERVICE
for free installation and operation of "Cineview".

There has been a generous response by the public at
large but space prohibits the listing of the names of the
numerous persons who have willingly donated and
loaned material, costumes, recordings of early music and
calypsoes, etc. To all these people and to those who
gave of their time, services and advice, the Sub-Com-
mittee also expresses its warmest thanks.






-Kfc.


Due urd Due Returned







A___R 1 2 __


7


t + I


/


Issued by the Independence Celebrations Committee.
Guardian Litho, Triidad. WJ.


---- I


Date Due




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