USA – The steelpan drum, an instrument made popular in the Caribbean, is the catalyst for a new youth music program in Wilkinsburg.
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, the steelpan was traditionally made from used oil barrels and discarded metal objects. Modern versions are made from 55-gallon industrial drums and are played widely throughout the Caribbean. The shiny silver pans are bowl shaped. Melody and rhythm are played with mallets that hit notes indented inside the pan.
Leigh Solomon Pugliano and her husband David Pugliano, through their organization Barrels to Beethoven, have created the Wilkinsburg Youth Steel Orchestra, a music program they hope will provide cultural and arts education.
“It’s a great chance to spread steelpan to another community,” said David. “The benefits are really great for young people, who just find confidence in playing an instrument that is very unique.”
The steelpan holds a special place in the heart of Leigh who was introduced to the instrument in Guyana, South America where she was born.