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pan: prefix, involving, comprising, or applying to all

pan: noun, a shallow vessel or container

Gaia: a personification of the Earth, from Greek myth, the goddess of the Earth, var. Gaea

pangea: thought to be the original land mass, when all the continents were one.

Just as the Earth is for all people, providing everything needed to live good lives as human beings, music involves all people as well, being an expression of who they are as a culture. To live good lives as human beings without being able to express ourselves through the joy of music, either in the making or the appreciation, would be impossible. The real power of music lies in the fact that it can transcend societal barriers, such as race, culture, and class, to bring people together in peaceful celebration of our humanity. Music also gives rise to song and dance, just as the Earth, in the natural world, gives us the song of birds, the voices of crickets and peepers, the sway of willow trees, and the ebb and flow of sea kelp.


As percussionists and drum enthusiasts, we have come together to celebrate and express the joy of living and the beauty around us through traditional island rhythms and the unique and amazing sound of the steel drum, or pan. The steel pan comes to us from the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It was developed, at least in part, because white colonizers of the 1930s and 1940s outlawed the use of more traditional wood and animal skin drums by black laborers. U.S. Armed Forces surplus supplied the raw material, and the ubiquitous 55-gallon oil drum became the substitute for traditional drums. Through an evolution of form, the steel drum became a percussion instrument capable of providing not only rhythm, but melody as well. Many believe the steel drum is the only acoustic musical instrument from the twentieth century still in wide use.

It perfectly illustrates the insatiable human appetite for self-expression through music and the desire to make a joyful noise.

Today the exciting forms of calypso and soca can be heard on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago at all times, but especially during an annual celebration called Carnival, where steel bands parade on the back of flat bed tractor trailers. In a related performance called Panorama, steel bands often numbering more than one hundred players compete for recognition as the year's best band. In the United States today, native Trinidadian craftsmen and musicians are also teaching the craft to a whole new generation of American pan enthusiasts who will help to further expand pan as an art form. Welcome to our pan world! We invite you to listen to this joyful sound, to hear the music in your heart, to feel the rhythm in your body, to see the beauty around you, and to come dance with us upon this Earth.



  • Ted Canning: Tenor pan
  • Brian Stotz: Tenor pan
  • Bill Youhass: Double Tenor pans
  • Jack Stover: Double Second pans
  • Jeff Welch: Double Second pans
  • Bill Decker: Cello pans
  • Edgar Brown: Four pan
  • Kerry Lipp: Electric Bass
  • Jonathan Stevens: Drums
  • David Weinberg: Percussion


PANGAIA STEEL BAND is available for private parties, festivals, wine tastings, and special events.

Our debut CD is called "Pan Goddess."

For Booking and Information contact:

Bill Youhass
Pangaia Steel Band
PO Box 118
Middlesex, NY 14507

(716) 554-4011
E-mail us at: pangaia@juno.com


Copyright 1997: PANGAIA Steel Band

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