Saturday, July 29, 2006
Man with a Pan
Find your earplugs ... I bought a steel pan in Trinidad. Yeah, that's steel pan as in musical instrument made from a 55-gallon oil drum and used to play calypso.
The steel pan originated in Trinidad and it seems like everyone down here knows how to play one. So what the hell, I figure I can learn how to play one, too.
That's Derrick, the official tuner at Gill's Steel Pan Shop in Tunapuna (my favorite Trini town name), polishing the pan I'll be lugging home with me. It's a tenor pan. I have no idea what that means, except that Merlin Gill, who owns the shop, told me I could I could master it in no time. Then he took my $500. That included $100 for a nifty naugahyde carrying case.
So here's my plan: I'm gonna learn how to play this thing, and when the BERMUDA SCHWARTZ tour comes along in February, I'm gonna take my steel pan on the road with me. In addition to making conch fritters or rum drinks at my book signings, I'll also play some island music. I'm not promising it will be music that anyone will actually wanna listen to. But I do promise it won't be Yellow Bird.