Birdsong performs “We Kinda Music”

Andy Narell is arguably one of the top steel pan performer and composer in the world. We have previously featured his compositions and arrangement and today I would like to share his most recent Panorama composition. We Kinda Music was performed by Birdsong in the 2014 Trinidad and Tobago Panorama competition. Be sure to check out the 12/8 section at 6:30. Unfortunately, this arrangement didn’t make it finals.


Trinidad and Tobago’s Panorama 2014 Results

panorama 2013

The results from Trinidad and Tobago’s Panorama 2014 are in and the winners are:

Large Conventional Steel Orchestras
1st place: 287 – Phase II Pan Groove
2nd place: 286 – Trinidad All Stars
3rd place: 283 – Renegades
4th place: 281 – Desperadoes
5th place: 279 – Exodus
6th place: 274 – Silver Stars
7th Place: 271 – Invaders and Skiffle Bunch
9th place: 267 – Fonclaire
10th place: 262 – La Brea Nightingales and Tropical Angel Harps

Medium Conventional Steel Orchestras
1st place: 284 – Pan Elders
2nd place: 281 – Buccooneers
3rd place: 277 – Sound Specialists of Laventille
4th place: 276 – Katzenjammers
5th place: 272 – Arima Angel Harps, Valley Harps and Couva Joylanders
8th place: 271 – Melodians
9th place: 266 – Steel Xplosion and Dixieland

Congratulations to Phase II in the Large Steelband category. The videos are being posted on YouTube and will be linked below when they become available. Please continue to check back.

Phase II Pan Groove Panorama Final 2014 Champion Large Bands

Pan Elders Panorama 2014 Champion Medium Band

Low Pan Solo

When you think of the solo steel drum repertoire, most of the time it is written for tenor or double tenor steel pan. Here’s a video of Liam Teague playing his composition Cell O Vibes for triple guitar pan. Are there other solo low pan pieces that you can recommend? Leave a comment below.


Andy Narell’s “The Last Word”

It seems that every year there is controversy during Trinidad’s Panorama. This year the controversy centered around Andy Narell and Birdsong not making finals with Andy’s tune The Last Word. This video is the last rehearsal before the semifinal performance performed by Birdsong Steel Orchestra, St. Augustine, Trinidad (January, 2013). Do you think Birdsong should have made finals? You be the judge.


Monobloco performs Taj Mahal

In the three years that DrumChattr has been on the Internet (happy belated Anniversary), we try and share music that inspires us. In the past couple of weeks, I recently learned about a group called Monobloco and ever since, I play them every time I get into the car. Monobloco is a Brazilian steel band, or bloco, that plays during Carnival in Rio de Janeiro as well as touring the world with their music. According to Wikipedia, “unlike most of Rio’s blocos, which tend play one type of music (typically samba), Monobloco has become extremely popular among younger people because of its ‘fresh’ sound, playing a mix of various rhythms such as coco, ciranda, marcha, xote, samba-charme, and particularly samba-rock and funk, as well as carnaval sambas. It continues to grow in popularity each year, and can be seen as a symbol of the resurging popularity in Carnaval blocos in Rio de Janeiro.” There sound is unique and their blend of a Brazilian bateria (drum ensemble) is unlike anything I have ever heard. I am fortunate to be performing with them this weekend at the Hollywood Bowl, with the Blue Man Group, and I wanted to share this video with our community so everyone can become familiar with their music. The groove and feel is incredible. If you are interested in checking out more of their music, be sure to head over to Spotify or Amazon and download some of their music. You will not be sorry!

Thanks for your continued support of DrumChattr. As we begin our third year, we are always looking for new content. If you have something you would like to share, please email us. Here’s to many more years.


The Chinese “Kuai Ban”

Recently I spent some time playing and travelling in China. And, at every stop I was consistently amazed at how gracious and kind the people were. Of course, one of the things I hoped to see while there were some traditional Chinese percussion instruments. And, I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed.

I saw some traditional Chinese tom toms, some amazing concert crash cymbals that rivaled any older K’s I’ve heard, but I was most intrigued by the instrument pictured below.

The Chinese Kuai Ban

The Chinese Kuai Ban

The Chinese “Kuai Ban” is made of very hard bamboo. It’s held together by the red decorative string. The “left hand” (pictured to the left above) utilizes coins that are placed in between each smaller piece of bamboo. This gives it a clicking sound meshed with a castanet like sound. The right hand (pictured to the right above) is swung and sounds very much like a low clave. In fact, when played correctly the right hand must form a resonating chamber not unlike one needed to play the African clave.

As far as I can tell, the instrument is used in an comedic/entertaining way. The few performances I’ve seen include a short “rap” toward the end.

I am deeply indebted to my good friend Wangxiabo who gave the instrument pictured above (they love to give gifts!) And, if interested to hear this thing, you can check out the video below for a quick demonstration.


One of my goals this summer is to learn to play this thing. Has anyone else seen or run across this instrument? What are some of the more obscure/interesting non-western you have discovered in your travels? What non traditional instruments are you currently learning? Leave your answers below the post.

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