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To April 22
The steel drum, or steel pan, is made from a standard 55-gallon oil drum. Elliott Manette is credited with inventing the instrument in 1946 by recycling oil drums left behind on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago after World War II and skillfully hammering them to produce certain tones. Early, pre-pan drumming in Trinidad’s Port-of-Spain symbolized slaves’ struggle against the elite, who—fearful that drumming would allow the transmission of secret messages or incite rebellion—passed laws and made death threats to suppress the sounds. African drumming patterns still appear in U.S. adaptions of Trinidad and Tobago’s rich tradition: Steel-band orchestras, which include six categories of steel (the guitars, the bass, the tenors, the cellos, the six-pan, and the rhythm section), play everything from calypso to classical, pop, and jazz. D.C.’s PanMasters Steel Orchestra has been playing events as everyday as street festivals and as highfalutin as presidential inaugurations. Whether you blew your Christmas bonus and had to cancel your trip to Barbados, or you’re hoping to stage your own civil uprising, you can get together and feel all right with the PanMasters at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 21, and at noon on Saturday, April 22, at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW. $6. (202) 252-0012. (Patricia Murret)