Roots of the Steelband Rhythm Section

The Steelband was developed from the Tamboo Bamboo bands of Trinidad, players would hollow out Bamboo sticks and cut them to variouslengths to create a variety of different pitches, and these were beaten on the ground to pulsating percussive rhythms.

Many of the bands would parade the streets at Carnival time. These bands had names like dead end kids who eventually changed to Gay Desperadoes steelband, Red Army -became Renigades, Hell Yard band became Trinidad all Stars, to mention few,


The bands would also use garbage cans,biscuit drums, car break hubs, and various metal objects to produce sounds, hence the birth of the Steelpan as we know it today. Steelbands still take a lot of pride in insuring they have a good Rhythm section made up of seasoned players

Therhythmsection or ( engine room ) of the band is made up of various instruments that all work together to keep the pulse and timingof the band.

The Drummer certainly has a tremendous Job keeping the timing for the band filling in with drum roles to embellish melodies and arrangements.

A cowbell is normally played like a metronome to help enforce the consistence of the beat. Other instruments like Conga’s and Tambourine Scratchers are also used. Each player puts there full heart and soul to playing there instrument, Every instrument is considered as essential to making a band sound good.

The Steel bands & percussion bands play a leading musical outlet for people within the community. Men Woman and Children all take part within the bands.

Listen to Desperadoes Rhythm section Rehearsal 2009

Many Rhythm bands still do regular performance at Carnival. To hear these bands live you can’t help but dancing to the pulsating beats, the bands are very large and powerful.

The early Steelbands carried the pans on straps around thier necks.With a great lot of attention focused on the rhythmic arrangements of the pans combined with catchy melodies creates auniquesound to the single pan bands. Up to date competitions are still held at Carnival time for the single pan bands

For more information on theSteelbands, performance & educational workshops please visit

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