MOLTEN STEEL: THE SOUND TRAFFIC OF THE STEELPAN
” This dissertation explores the steelpan instrument and steelband performances in three countries: Trinidad & Tobago, Ghana, and the United States. Through engagement with the multiple sites, this dissertation traces the routes of the steelpan, and its distinctive sound, in order to delineate a multidirectional web of sound traffic. Elements of fluidity, influences and travel connected to the steelpan are employed as people and the steelpan itself frequently cross borders literally and figuratively. I make use of a transnational lens and consider complex, interconnected relationships between my three focal countries. Through analysis of the interconnectedness of pan players as well as their situation of isolation, this dissertation challenges static understanding of the steelpan as merely an island instrument. My conception of the transnational steelpan diaspora shows how the instruments, recordings, sounds and rhythms of the steelpan transcend borders in connecting people. Like the predictable and unpredictable nature of vehicular traffic, sound and the instruments that create it move easily to and within some regions of the world and are slowed in others. The elements of this dissertation help to draw conclusions about the dispersal of the instrument, both literally and figuratively, in order to chart future expansion as well as development in established locations. This dissertation charts a path of influence and musical communication through a combined analysis of my own pan experiences as well as the movements of other people and the instrument itself. ” Quote of ‘Abstract’ from the Full Text.