Ouachita Baptist University will host Tiger Steel, the university’s steel drum ensemble, in concert in Mabee Fine Arts Center’s McBeth Recital Hall on Monday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
“Steel band music makes people smile, which is one of the most powerful reasons to perform music,” said Dr. Ryan Lewis, OBU associate professor of music and director of the ensemble.
“This concert is unique because it will include a musical telling of the story of the steel pan, featuring projected images and information given by two Tiger Steel members who have researched the instrument with me, Dillon Thomas and Aaron Breeding,” Lewis added. “People should come to relax and enjoy some terrific music that will take them to the tropics!”
Tiger Steel will perform its signature song, the calypso standard “Jump in the Line” made famous by Harry Belafonte, and then they will begin to tell the story of the steel pan through music, beginning with a special West African drumming piece that uses rhythms from the ethnic groups that were slaves in Trinidad.
“When the British government banned West African drumming in the late 1800s, Trinidadians used different lengths of bamboo and formed taboo bamboo bands, so we will perform a piece with everyone playing different lengths of bamboo,” Lewis said.
“Around 1900, Trinidadians turned from bamboo to more durable metal objects,” he added, “and the first steel bands or iron bands were formed, so we will perform a piece with metal objects the band members found themselves.”
Pan Jouvet, OBU’s beginner steel band, will then play “Lion-Oh” by Raphael “Roaring Lion” De Leon and “Brown Skin Girl” by Rupert “Lord Invader” Grant, which are two of the first steel band recordings ever made.
Tiger Steel will then return to the stage to perform “Ave Maria” by Schubert, a classical composition, which was performed for the British leaders to prove that the steel pan was a musical instrument.
The concert will close with “Woman Is Boss” by Len “Boogsie” Sharpe. Lewis also hinted there is a “special surprise” at the end of the concert.
By Haley Wilkerson
April 17, 2017