” In this thesis, I adopt the musical concept of “groove” to characterize the experience of steelband in local contexts and the related ideas circulating within broader cultural contexts. Each chapter is an ethnographic portrait and exploration of a specific context in which people interact by participating in steelband. I examine the role of individual directors in shaping their steelband’s groove. Employing elements of memetic theory, I identify specific memes and complexes used by directors as they facilitate their own group’s experience to include: “master narrative,” “professional performance,” and “pan appreciation.” I also use the meme hypothesis to evaluate how directors act as agents in the transmission of musical and cultural knowledge. I will focus on the function of the steelband-related media and materials used in rehearsal by the directors of Lion Steel and Space Coast Steel to communicate musical and cultural information to members. I am interested in understanding the ways individuals encounter and use this information in the course of their participation in steelband and how this process contributes to the groove in their local contexts. In this thesis, I will also explore the ways that individual pannists at the Mannette Steel Drums “Festival of Steel” workshop in West Virginia interact with other players and exchange information beyond distinct local contexts. I examine the ways that the exchange of music-cultural information among different sources shapes the manner in which people “groove” in steelbands and how it connects the experiences of pannists in broader musical and cultural contexts. ” Quote of ‘Abstract’ from the Full Text.


Kayleen Justus