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A Mother's Day Special


"De  Baron"

The Sweet Soca Man

 Sunday, May 13th, 2012


Forest Park Senior Center

4801 Liberty Heights Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland


For More Information, including ticket info. call in Baltimore: 410-362-2957 Or Derrick-New York: 917-447-9926





Passport DC,  - Washington DC

May 5, 2012

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 

Celebrates 50 Years of Independence in 

collaboration with Passport D.C.

10:00am to 4:00pm

You are cordially invited to Celebrate with us!

Come out and  experience our vibrant culture, cuisine and artwork, and awaken your senses with:

·        Steelpan performances

·        A Tassa Band

·        Moko Jumbies

·        Carnival costume display

·        Limbo Dancers

·        Indian Dancers

·        Delectable cuisine

The Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 
1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC, 20036

Metro: Dupont Circle, Farragut West

For further details visit: www.culturaltourismdc.org 
Cultural Tourism DC's Around the World Embassy Tour  


A Fun event is planned for all to enjoy!  

As stated above the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago "The Steel-Pan" will be featured; as well as other musical instruments and various characters depicting T & T.  Additionally, many of our delectable cuisines will be featured throughout the day.

So that you have a greater understand of why the National instrument is one of Trinidad and Tobago's greatest prides, below is a little history on the steel pan.  You will also find more details on the Tassa Drum.

Steel Pan History

The Steel Drum, or "Pan"

The drums were developed on the Caribbean island of Trinidad during the early years of the 20th century.  Old rubbish tins, car parts and stolen garbage can lids formed the first "Iron Bands", which led to the realization that a dented section of a barrel head could produce a musical tone.  Careful refinement of this amazing discovery produced the modern Steel Drum instrument and the large orchestral Steel Drum Bands, a deserved source of great national pride!

Earlier on the island of Trinidad, during British Colonial rule in the late 1800's, hand drums were used as a call for neighborhood gangs to collect and 'mash up' with the other gangs.  Hoping to curb the violence, the government outlawed hand drums in 1886.  This led eventually to the invention of the Steel Drum!

After the hand drums were outlawed, the Trini musicians began forming bands called Tamboo Bamboo.  Each member of the group would carry a length of bamboo and pound it on the ground as they paraded through the streets, producing distinctive rhythmic signatures which identified each neighborhood.  (The word "Tamboo" is from the French "tambeau", or "drum".)

When two bands from rival neighborhoods met on a march, they would often stop playing and attack each other, sometimes using the bamboo instruments themselves!

Soon, the government outlawed the bamboo bands as well.  With no drums, the musicians of the local neighborhoods tapped & drummed on whatever they could find, including milk cans, paint buckets, old car parts, and eventually empty oil barrels (from the US Navy bases on the island).

Using their makeshift instruments, the neighborhood bands reformed and marched down the streets playing the same distinctive rhythms as before.  These musical rhythm sections came to be called the "Iron Band", and you can still hear them working away in the "engine room" of the modern steelband!

One day in the late 1930's, after a particularly rough Iron Band session, a musical youth was fixing his barrel head and discovered that the dented part made an interesting tone.  He experimented all night, and by the next day the young musician had hammered four different tones into his metal pan!  The boy whose name was Winston "Spree" Simon is generally credited with being the first person to put a musical note on a steel drum.

Originally the pans were convex, like a dome rather than a dish.  Ellie Mannette, another youth in the panyards of the 1930's, was the first to dish out a pan and give the steel drum its mature form.  Many tuners began experimenting with producing tuned "pans", eventually forming large groups of pan players into orchestrated bands.

The musical competitions which began to take place each year at Carnival quickly replaced the street fights.  In 1963, the first official Panorama Steel Band Championship was held as part of the island's Independence celebration.

There are two main contests at Panorama, one for the best arrangement of a popular song, and another one which showcases each band performing a fully orchestrated classical piece.  More than a half century after the first contest was held, the rivalries between neighborhood steel bands still exist, but instead of fighting they battle with excellent musicianship!


The Tassa drumming tradition was brought to Trinidad by indentured laborers from India between 1845 and 1917, recounts Jeffrey Ross Thomas in “Forty Years of Steel: An Annotated Discography of Steel Band and Pan Recordings, 1951-1991.” 

Tassa drumming also flourished in Tobago and Guyana. The instruments used by the traditional tassa ensemble in Guyana are the bass or “boom” drum; two or more high-pitched, bowl-shaped earthenware kettle drums, the “tassa drums”; and “jhanjh,” a pair of large metal cymbals, according to “The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: South Asia: The Indian Subcontinent.” According to Thomas "Tassa drums" can be made of either clay, plastic or metal. The bass drum can be carved from the trunk of a mango, silk cotton or cedar tree and has two heads of thick mule hide. The left head is beat with the hand and the right head with a cloth-wrapped mallet. The two tassa drums are covered with goatskin membrane and played with flexible sticks made of pessy vine, mamoo liana or bamboo that have balled, hardened flour tips wrapped with tape or cloth.


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