Gut Rumbles

August 11, 2005

steel drums

I took a vacation to Saint Martin in April of 2001, shortly before the bloodless cunt dropped her bomb on my head. We went out to eat one night at an excellent restaurant. But even better than the food was the band playing there.

Three guys--- one on electric guitar, one playing keyboard with bass pedals and one guy playing TWO steel drums. (Caribbean xylophones) They were damn good and the music was PERFECT for the atmosphere.

When they took a break, I walked up to the stage, introduced myself, told them that I played some myself and threw some money in their tip-bucket. I asked to look at the steel drums and the player handed me his hammers. He let me bang on those things for a while.

That's just about the most amazing musical instrument I've ever seen. It's nothing but a piece of metal, curved into a semi-circle, but it plays NOTES, depending on where you hit the drum. This guy played two because one was smaller for higher notes.

I asked him how the hell he learned to play it and he said his father taught him. I can understand that, but it still amazes me how good a skilled player can make steel drums sound.

I might get a wild hair some day and buy ME a set.


I've seen those before..on some sappy kid's show believe it or not..but they are amazing instruments. Go for it!!!

Posted by: Kelly on August 11, 2005 02:42 PM

Buying them doesn't count. You have to make them--now that's an art.

Posted by: Pig Meat on August 11, 2005 02:57 PM

probably about like learning to play a saw with a fiddle bow-I can make a lot of racket but no music.

Posted by: GUYK on August 11, 2005 02:58 PM

Pig Meat beat me to it!

Posted by: TomR on August 11, 2005 09:07 PM

Okay guys... how do you TUNE one? Just bash it again with a hammer?

Posted by: Acidman on August 11, 2005 10:57 PM

Sounds logical to me...but then you have to know where to hit it. Do they even get out of tune?

Posted by: Kelly on August 12, 2005 07:24 AM

I once met the man who invented those drums - Elly Manette (sp?) - he lived in Trinidad during WWII and there were lots of old oil drums around. The kids would beat out rhythms on them, and one day Elly got the idea to tune them to play melodies.

As I understand it, you heat the metal with a torch and pound it with a hammer to tune it. I think each drum is different.

When I knew Elly, he was living with a family in Perry, Georgia - the parents both had good jobs and loved children, so they adopted eight or ten. Elly made drums for five or six of the kids and they played together in a band. The drums were various sizes and ranged in tone from bass to soprano. One of the kids was really a musical prodigy and played lead. They were very, very good. Don't know what happened to them.

Posted by: Juan Paxety on August 12, 2005 09:54 AM

Walked into the Sarasota concert hall many ti years ago. The Jamacan National Steel Drum band was playing Beetoven(sp) and sounding like the finest pipe-organ I ever heard...

Posted by: emdfl on August 12, 2005 10:28 AM

How popular are steel drums with kids ages 8-12?? Any books out there about kids playing them?

Posted by: Trish on August 23, 2005 11:06 PM
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