Saturday, May 9, 2009

Steel Pan band

Wonderful street performance by steel band consisting of 8 musicians called Pan Note Magic. I was moving around town called Machida, when I heard this really fantastic sound. People were also overjoyed and I was completely intoxicated by steel pan music.

Video: some moments from performance

I read that this musical instrument originated from Trinidad Island. It was made from steel barrel (one where you store oil) and perfected by several inventors during last 50 or so years, for example more notes and sharps have been added to initial three. Top of steel barrel is hit with hammer until it caves in. Then by using template, note areas are drawn on steel and each note area are grooved with small chisel. This allows one note area to vibrate seperately from other, otherwise neaby notes will vibrate togather. You can see in video, when I zoom into steel pan that there can be seen different areas inside steel pan. Finally, steel pan is tuned with hammer again - stretching note areas as needed. Instrument is chromed afterwards and gets this shining look.

Here another example of crazy steel pan (steel drums) playing in Japan at Narita Drum Festival in Alison’s-san blog (third video, they are playing variation of song Dollar Wine).


Alison said...

Utterly fantastic video! It's impossible not to feel incredibly happy when you listen to it! I particularly like all the music from Totoro! I think they're just so talented.

Thanks for linking to my post (don't worry about the 'san'!) - having seen this, I've just linked back to your post!

Clovern CWC said...

Wow, what an awesome blog you have! I love it and through this blog, I get to know more about local Japanese culture!

Mountaincat said...


Indeed they are really talented. Some of musicans playing got musical education and participated in international competitions.

I did not know it is music from Totoro. I thought it should be some kind of Japanese song as girl was singing along.


Mountaincat said...


Thank you! I could not really talk much about local culture. Just some bits of my experience.