From its first appearance in 1939 with a group of men knocking on pots and pans to the 1951 Trinidad All-Steel Percussion Orchestra (TASPO), steelband has fascinated the world. Relying largely on oral histories, this work investigates and documents the different technical, musical and organizational steps by which the steelband movement was born and grew to maturity.
This study is a radical break with the approach to cultural creativity in general and music of the African diaspora in particular, emphasizing the role of individual agency, microsociology and aesthetic values. This contrasts with the "resistance" school of thought, which views music as an automatic reaction to oppression rather than a deliberate attempt to satisfy aesthetic needs and impulses.
The minute biographical and psychological details provide a unique theory of creolization and chart its relationship to African retentions, based on empirical data. This authoritative study will appeal to both the general reader interested in the origins of steelband and to scholars concerned with the creolization of African and European cultures and Caribbean creativity.