Steelpans may be the friendliest instrument of all – unless you can think of one that’s any friendlier…?
This particular steelpan is not full-sized but still has an incredible sound. It’s tuned diatonically and is a magnet to even the slightly curious. Something about it makes it less intimidating than it is friendly.
It’s not an instrument to be used in every song or arrangement but anytime it’s played it injects the space with its festive mode. It has an easy feel to it, played with small, wooden mallets with rubber tubing on the ends for tips. An old pal showed me how to swirl various sized metal balls around the inside to make a hypnotic sound.
The first instruments developed in the evolution of steelpan were Tamboo-Bamboos, tunable sticks made of bamboo wood. These were hit onto the ground and with other sticks in order to produce sound.