Carnival season 2015 is in full swing. To the world Carnival may be most popular in Brazil, but Trinidad and Tobago has a massive celebration that may just be second biggest. The Carnival season starts immediately after the Christmas holidays with fetes (parties), parades and the very popular steelpan competition called Panorama.
The steelpan (or steeldrum as it is also called) is a popular musical instrument around the world but what many people do not know is that it was invented in Trinidad & Tobago, in fact it is the national instrument of the country. The modern pan is a chromatically pitched percussion instrument made from former oil drums. The pan is struck using a pair of sticks tipped with rubber; the size and type of rubber tip varies according to the class of pan being played.
In the lead up to Carnival in Trinidad, Panorama is an important steelpan competition amongst local steel orchestras who practice year round for this event. It is one way of highlighting and appreciating this locally invented national instrument.
The steel orchestras perform on a centre stage (as seen in the photos) to the delight of all supporters in the stands on either side of the stage, all of whom make the event into one big party with lots of dancing and drinks (it is Carnival season afterall).
Have you ever heard music played on a steelpan?