” The American steel band story is one of migration and the appropriation of the national music of Trinidad by and for the cultural dominance of America. Yet, the characters in this narrative have, in a metaphorical sense, created poetry out of their invisibility. The following discussion will parse out the development of steel pan in America into sections that include an analysis of early steel band influences within Cold War American popular music, the Calypso craze, the New York Carnival scene, Pete Seeger and steel pan as American folk music, the United States Navy Steel Band, early examples of steel band success in academia, steel band‘s attempt to find voice and identity within the American popular music landscape and commercial music, American steel pan‘s first virtuoso Andy Narell, several individual case studies, and current national trends. In America, the steel drum ensemble is quickly becoming a popular fixture in public schools, universities, and community centers. Despite its unique nature, the steel pan has experienced a fate similar to many other non-western folk instruments; it has been integrated, appropriated, and modified by American practitioners into an entirely new and independent genre, increasingly different in style and character from its roots. Yet, the title of this study suggests a master narrative to the development of the steel band in the United States, and the present study explores the whole social and artistic phenomenon of steel band, with a geographical focus on the United States rather than Trinidad, and its development over time. Throughout this dissertation every attempt will be made to explore, locate, and provide a historical analysis of the first appearance of steel band music in the United States, drawing links between institutional locations (military bands, school and university programs, recordings/record labels, and more) and regional sites (Harlem, Brooklyn, Dekalb, Illinois) whenever possible. ” Excerpt from ‘Abstract’ of the Full Text.


Andrew R. Martin