Monday, May 25, 2009

 

Steel Pan – Both a Musical Style and an Instrument

If you stop to think about it, it may be a bit extraordinary that a musical term would have two distinct meanings. Rather than suggesting a double entendre here, i.e., some second, implied or hidden meaning, what is being referred to is that of both a noun and an adjective. Steel Pan, perhaps somewhat uniquely, refers to both the Steel Drum instrument itself and the musical style in which the instrument is typically featured.

Steel Pan may have, as of late, become the more common term for the Steel Drum. Certainly, anyone familiar with the instrument would be well aware that it was initially fashioned out of a 55-gallon oil drum and became known, hence, as the "Steel Drum". Yet, when one refers to the “Steel Pan”, it is generally acknowledged that the musical instrument itself is being referenced.

On the other hand, if one suggests going to 'listen to' some Steel Pan music, it generally seems to imply a genre of music. The term denotes a decidedly Caribbean musical style, in which the Steel Drum is, of course, predominantly featured. Additional instrumentation, however, may also be commonly included as part of this “sound” or musical style, while the melodic or lead instrument would be notably that of the Steel Drum.

The band IRIE TIME features the Steel Drum sound as an integral part of their music. The bridge between the instrument and the musical style associated with the instrument is reflected in their every performance. It may additionally be stated that Soca-Calypso and Pan Steel have oftentimes become synonymous. The “(Are you feeling) Hot Hot Hot” Soca beat is the perfect rhythmic accompaniment for the instrument. Further, while we hear the Steel Drum played in a soothing style over slower beats, such as that of Reggae, the Soca-Calypso rhythm invokes the most direct connection to the Caribbean and, thus, the type of music typically being referenced.

Another variation in the terminology used in describing this music is to refer to the "Steel Band". This connotation suggests, perhaps, a number of Pan players being assembled and, in this context, the lead melody would be carried by the soprano or tenor Pan, or as a duet with a double second. However, what is more often the case in referencing the Steel Band is, in fact, again referring to a certain style of music, i.e. Caribbean music.

It is natural that the casual observer would refer to Caribbean music as Steel Pan, since the instrument was developed in, and is unique to, the Caribbean. Moreover, the Steel Drum flavors practically every variety of music coming out of the region, from its origins in Trinidad and across the Caribbean to Jimmy Buffett in Florida, as well as others. The Steel Drum invokes images of pure white sand on a palm tree lined beach with clear blue waters, and that is an experience many listeners of the genre seek. They're looking for a Caribbean music experience, and their term for that experience is Steel Pan.


The IRIE TIME band performs Caribbean Reggae and Soca music, and continues to release original music CDs with worldwide distribution. More information can be obtained at www.IRIETIME.com or by contacting them directly at 713-398-3798.

IRIE TIME is based out of Houston, Texas and commutes to locations throughout the United States by means of the city's two international airports, enabling the band to provide entertainment services to all 50 states, including the Texas cities of Abilene, Austin, Beaumont - Port Arthur, Bryan - College Station, Conroe, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Lubbock, Nacogdoches, San Marcos, and San Antonio, TX, as well as Louisana locations of Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, New Orleans and Shreveport, LA.

IRIE TIME also performs events internationally and has agency representatives in Europe, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

IRIE!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

 

Calypso - A Caribbean Original

When people think of the word “Caribbean,” a number of images come to mind: tropical scenes with palm trees and calm, blue waters being perhaps the most notable. But when it comes to the evening time with dinner and dancing however, nothing invokes images of the Caribbean more than Calypso music. Certainly, the name Calypso could hardly be associated more with any location in the world than with the Caribbean.

The name for Calypso music has been updated and has changed in recent years. Now termed Soca, it is said that the new name came about when a dose of 'So' from Soul was infused with the 'Ca' in Calypso to become Soca! While the original label continues to be used to describe the early recordings of Harry Belefonte and others of the period, Caribbean communities worldwide currently refer to the music now only as Soca.

Soca music is dance music! It is also music that anyone can enjoy dancing to, regardless of their previous dance experience. Standing in one spot and moving to the rhythm is all that it takes... just swaying in whatever way the beat moves you.

Moving to the beat is, indeed, perhaps the most natural response to hearing this music. The rhythm and beat seem as basic as one's heartbeat and finds literally everyone in the room 'tapping their toes'.

What is frequently seen, as well, is a Conga Line taking off when people hear the sweet, Soca / Calypso rhythms. “It's in the air – Celebration time; Music's sweet – Captivate your mind,” are lyrics to the song Hot Hot Hot. The Conga Line is yet another invention attributed to the Caribbean, created, essentially, as a compliment to this music's beat and is, again, so basic that anyone can follow. Just grabbing on to the waist of the person in front of you and, either just walking along to the rhythm or joining in on the alternating 'kick and step', can create a dance line that includes virtually everyone in attendance.

The band IRIE TIME performs Caribbean Soca and Reggae music, and has discovered that, once audiences hear the infectious Calypso / Soca beat, it is hard to quit! The band has recorded and released several original CDs, and has been performing live concerts and private events for over a decade. The proficiency of the group's musicians, too, is so vast, as to allow the band the capability of augmenting their sound to fit just about any event. Often times, for instance with private events, the occasion itself will consist of a number of stages in the duration of the engagement, and the professionals in IRIE TIME are well able and experienced in adjusting the types of songs, volume levels, etc., of the music to optimize and entertain every step of the way.

Visit www.IRIETIME.com to find out how some “IrieSoca music can help bring your event to life. The band can be reached at the Contact tab on their website or directly at 713-398-3798.


IRIE TIME is based out of Houston, Texas and commutes to locations throughout the United States by means of the city's two international airports, enabling the band to provide entertainment services to all 50 states including Ft. Lauderdale, FL (FLL), Orlando, Florida (MCO), Santa Monica, CA, (LAX) Columbus, Ohio (CMH), (LGA) New York, NY, (JKF), St. Louis, MO (STL), Detroit, Michigan (DTW), Madison, WI (MSN), San Francisco, California (SFO), and Omaha, Nebraska (OMA).

IRIE TIME also performs events internationally and has agency representatives in Europe, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Irie!

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

 

Soca Music - Distinctly Caribbean!

While Caribbean Reggae music has spread throughout the world, and is now being performed and recorded in countries across the globe, Soca music has its origins, and continues to be produced predominately, in the Caribbean. Indeed, there is perhaps no other music that more uniquely invokes connotations of the Caribbean than does Soca.

At its inception, the music was called Calypso and, while the early recordings of Harry Belafonte and others of the period continue to carry the Calypso label in the minds of the general public, the music and its beat has carried the current name for the past 30 years among the Caribbean communities. It is said that the name came from the combining the 'CA' of Calypso with a dose of Soul ('SO') to become SOCA!

Probably the genre's most famous song of all time, and one that instantly conveys the style of music to which the name refers, is the song “(Are You Feeling) Hot Hot Hot”. Written and made famous throughout the Caribbean by Antiguan singer Arrow, the song was brought to America and the world stage by Buster Poindexter 'and His Banshees of Blue' in 1987. The magnitude of the song permanently placed the musical style, and its association with the Caribbean, on the map. Certainly, the songs Day-O and Hot Hot Hot would be considered the two foremost titles that people think of as Caribbean music.

Additionally, the musical instrument that tends to also be uniquely connected with the Caribbean and, indeed, with this music is the Steel Drum. The melody emanating from the drum is termed both Pan Steel or Steel Pan music. Indeed, it can be said that the Steel Drum is heard more often times with a Soca beat than with any other style of music. The percussive nature of the instrument and the percussion-intensive Soca beat are a perfect match, and the qualities of both contribute to a decidedly Caribbean sound.

The Caribbean band IRIE TIME combines both of these musical elements in practically every performance. The group has been performing Reggae and Soca music for over a decade and has discovered that, once this music starts filling the dance floor, it's hard to stop! As the lyrics to Hot Hot Hot go: “Oh what to do – On a night like this; Music's sweet – You can't resist.” We see young and old alike up on their feet dancing to the music's infectious rhythm.

Another Caribbean invention, the Conga Line, also ideally compliments the music. Its alternating 'kick and step', as one holds onto the person in front of them, finds its best possible accompaniment here.

Contact IRIE TIME through their website at www.IRIETIME.com or call today for a personalized booking quote at 713-398-3798. Find out how the band can make your event come to life! Because the musicianship of the group members approaches that of virtuoso levels, the band is able to augment the tone and variations of their music to fit just about any client's musical needs.


IRIE TIME is based out of Houston, Texas and commutes to locations throughout the United States by means of the city's two international airports, enabling the band to provide entertainment services to all 50 states including Scottsdale, Arizona, Seattle, Washington (SEA), Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Boston, Massachusetts (BOS), Princeton, NJ (EWR), Philadelphia, PA (PHL), Dallas, Texas (DWF), Chicago, IL (ORD), Baltimore, MD (BWI), and Minneapolis, MN (MSP).

IRIE TIME also performs events internationally and has agency representatives in Europe, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

IRIE!!

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