Steel pan music is from Jamaica?

Mitch: You know I don’t think it would be such a bad idea if we went down to Jamaica. Did a little legwork.

Amanda: Nice try.

Mitch: But I do love steel drum music. Do you know why there are those little numbers on the inside of the drum?

Amanda: Will my life change if I do?

Mitch: Well each number corresponds to a note. Now it take years to master these notes. These guys are musical geniuses. Did you know that there are some notes that are only audible to them?

So I’m minding my own business, flicking through channels about two Saturdays ago when I spot a map and a flag of Jamaica on the screen. I check the name of the show and realize it’s called The Inspectors. Of course I’m instantly on alert as soon as I realize that Jamaica is being discussed. I see/ hear a couple of investigators talking about the lottery scam (whole other topic for a completely different post) and I already know this won’t be good, but I’m curious nevertheless. I grab my phone and start recording.

The good guys finish up their meeting, and Mitch (had to do a bit of research on the characters since I’m not familiar with this series) starts talking about going to Jamaica to listen to some good ole steel drums. As I’m trying to recover from that one, he drops a bit of knowledge about said steel drums and notes etc. etc. etc. Now you tell me! Am I wrong to think that everyone knows that Jamaica’s national music is Reggae? I’m not saying we don’t play or listen to steel pan music in Jamaica, we do. As a matter of fact I tried my hand at it in high school (I was horrible btw). But I got the impression that they were saying that steel pan music is synonymous with Jamaica. It is not.

The last time I checked, Trinidad and Tobago was and still is the proud steel pan capital of the world. And I’m sure my Trini neighbours would not take kindly to Jamaica being credited with their music either. Back to the show- In my mind I’m answering Mitch’s rhetorical question- Uhm, no I didn’t know all of that; And the average Jamaican doesn’t know that much about steel drums and steel pan music either. Now if you’re going to make an episode about a whole other country and their culture, the least you can do is use up your Wikipedia, man. (Yes, I just said that!) Cho! 🙂

Interestingly, the Caribbean is sometimes viewed as one big country comprised of  a couple cays sprinkled here and there, and all sharing the same culture. In some ways I imagine it’s similar to how people tend to lump all Latin American countries together; the same is true of African and even some Asian countries! “I mean, come on- they all look, talk and dress alike, don’t they?” I suppose It’s just easier for the human brain to do that than try to figure out the differences, and yes, the similarities that exist among countries that are in the same region.

My point is, national pride is reflected through our respective cultures, and culture can be a delicate topic. It’s best to do a bit of research before making embarrassing generalizations or assigning a practice to a particular country in error. Zeen!

For your listening pleasure:

Cool classics- Reggae music


Beautiful steel drum music






2 responses to “Steel pan music is from Jamaica?

  1. You’re correct Chica, nationalities do not like their culture transfered or ascribed to another country’s. People takes pride in their differences and what their country contributes to the world. Some are more vocal and proactive than others.

    As a librarian I will say no research was done for the programme or else they wouldn’t have made such a huge error.
    Note, Wikipedia is just a starting point for remember any one can add or amend it. For a information on a country check the country’s national website or The World Fact Book.


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