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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Saturday, February 28, 2009

 

A Caribbean-themed Wedding

The Caribbean, with its reggae and calypso music, may be one of the most pleasant and universally-enjoyed wedding themes. It could also be suggested that a majority of couples getting married schedule a trip to a tropical destination for their honeymoon. Thus, it makes perfect sense to start the fun stateside with one's entourage and guests joining in the fun!

Certainly, most people would agree that marriage is one of the most significant events in a person's life; and the wedding often entails months... even a year or more of planning. Establishing a theme from the onset can make preparations much easier. Tropical decorations and Caribbean cuisine are readily available, and can transform just about any reception location into the ballroom of a Caribbean-bound cruise ship.

One key element in the 'tone' of a wedding (literally) is, of course, the music, and nothing puts guests and the couple themselves more “in the spirit” of the tropics than some “Irie” Reggae and Calypso music! It is in this regard that the band IRIE TIME excels as the “ultimate” in classic Caribbean vibes. The band has been performing private events, such as pool parties, receptions, dinners and, indeed, countless weddings in the Tropical theme for over a decade.

Their music immediately draws many adults and elderly in attendance back to their recollections of Caribbean cruises they may have been on, or their vacations in the islands. Younger attendees, too, appreciate the “cool” vibes associated with reggae music... indeed, Bob Marley's 'hero' persona and the laid-back musical grooves.

The “hot hot hot” Soca (Calypso) rhythms also connect with practically all ages, and the scene of a Conga Line winding its way through attendees' seating in the reception hall is an exhilarating sight! While a Limbo contest for the party-goers may seem a natural follow-through to the Conga Line, the infectious pulse of Calypso is certain to have everyone in attendance “tapping their toes”!

Often times, IRIE TIME sets the stage from the start of the event by providing instrumental Steel Pan music as background ambiance for guests arriving from the wedding ceremony, getting their drinks, and socializing as they await the arrival of the newly married couple. Once hors d'oeuvres or dinner is served, seated attendees can enjoy more Reggae rhythms that gently complement their visiting (rather than command their attention), and provide a warm backdrop to the cuisine and conversation they are enjoying.

As the night continues, IRIE TIME's music can accelerate to provide up-tempo dance music that will have everyone... young and old alike... filling the dance floor. Prior instruction in dance moves is unnecessary for this music, since standing in one place and “walking 'pon the spot” is all that's needed! Certainly, the Conga Line's alternating 'step and kick' as one hangs onto the person in front of them is simple enough to just “learn as you go”; but simply walking along with the line is something that virtually everyone in attendance can enjoy participating in.

Book IRIE TIME now by calling (713) 398-3798 or visit their website, www.IRIETIME.com. They have the experience and professionalism to make your wedding an unforgettable, fun-filled experience for all.

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