In the late 1800s during colonial rule in Trinidad, the British banned drumming for fear that Africans living on the island would use drums to communicate secretly and create an uprising. Because of the ban the people of that nation began to make percussion instruments out of household items and kept them hidden from the authorities. This practice eventually led to the creation of the steel drum. Since then, steel drum bands have become popular throughout the West Indies and the United States. Kansas native Mat Britain began playing the steel drum or steel pan in the early eighties. As part of our ongoing series Playing in the Band, Mat Britain talks with WPLN’s Andy Scheinman about this unique instrument.
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