The steelpan was invented in Trinidad and Tobago and is widely regarded as the only major musical instrument to be invented in the 20th century.

So you know what it does, you love the sound it makes - but what is it, exactly? The steelpan, "a definite pitch percussion instrument in the idiophone class, traditionally made from a steel drum or steel container. The metallic playing surface is concave with a skirt attached. The playing surface is divided into convex sections by channels, grooves and/or bores. Each convex section is played by striking the pan with sticks to produce musical notes." That should help you describe it to your friends! The instrument progressed from adversity to relative prosperity in a short space of time due to the extreme dedication of members of the fraternity. Steelbands are to be found in rapidly increasing numbers in many parts of the world and the instrument has been accepted by music educators as an ideal tool for music instruction for beginners.

All this might not have been possible had it not been for the foresight of members of the newly-founded Steelband association in 1950. Formed under pressure from the authorities who wished to curb the escalating incidence of Steelband violence, they immediately launched themselves into a project to send a representative Steelband to the Festival of Britain in 1951.

They selected 12 panmen from among the member bands and had them trained under the guidance of Lt Joseph Griffith of the Trinidad & Tobago Police band. The young men chosen for this important task were Sterling Betancourt, Ellie Mannette, Sonny Roach, Anthony Williams, Winston "Spree" Simon, Philmore "Boots" Davidson, Ormand "Patsy" Haynes, Kelvin Hart, Theo Stevens, Belgrave Bonaparte, Andrew "Pan" De Labastide and Granville Sealey.

Sealey dropped out early and Sonny Roach fell ill on the boat and had to be put off at Martinique and eventually sent home. They were the cream of the crop, all crack shot panmen, pan tuners and band leaders in their own right. Lt Griffith and Lennox Pierre taught them the rudiments of music and Lt Joseph, shocked to learn that the pans were not achromatized, began the task of putting together a real orchestra from the hodgepodge of instruments that were assembled before him. This was the genesis of the steel orchestra as we now know it.

During the 50s, Anthony Williams, Ellie Mannette, Neville Jules and later Bertie Marshall were the innovators who pushed the Steelband and its instruments to the levels it has obtained. The 21st Century beckons and the steelband movement now faces the challenge of keeping up with the pace of technology and finding a marketing niche that could exploit the vast commercial potential of both instruments and music. The Steel Pan: Header

Caribbean Folk Dance: Let your feet move to the rhythm and express the artist that is in you. Caribbean Dance is fun, energetic, sensual, relaxing and often times breathtaking in it's beauty and grace. Caribbean dances have their roots in both Africa and Europe, creating a distinct identity.Traditional dance from the Caribbean, such as Abakua - Afro-Cuban, Beguine - Guadeloupe, Martinique, Bellair - Trinidad, Bongo - Trinidad, Brukin's - Jamaica, Caribbean Quadrilles - Jamaica, Dinki Mini - Jamaica, Gere - Jamaica, Gumbay - Jamaica Goombay - Bahamas, Ibo - Haiti, Jonkonnu - Jamaica, Kumina - Jamaica, Tambu - Afro-Curacao



Learning How To Play Pan



Learning how to play Pan is an all-encompassing educational experience. A course in “playing pan” allows children to use many of their senses. Learning and playing music is also a mathematical endeavor.  Students will have an opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Students will also have an opportunity to experience the process of creating a business when the business is “pan.” This comprehensive course was developed to integrate the proven learning techniques in education and introduce cultural entrepreneurship.

Arizona Caribbean

Cultural Association


We Pioneered Our Culture Globally ...Join us as we journey globally together, learning our culture, art forms, music, and folklore. Our Educational programs build bridges of understanding beyond boundaries of music, literature, visual arts, folklore, and dances - from Guyana, Aruba, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Vincent, Antigua, Barbuda, Haiti, St. Lucia, Cuba, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean Islands by living the culture and being the culture through our Caribbean eyes.