History of the Steeldrum

History of the Steeldrum

The Steeldrum, or "Pan" as it is colloquially termed, was invented on the Caribbean island of Trinidad some time during the 1940s.

During the 1700s, British colonists had brought slaves to the island from West Africa, from what is now Ghana and Nigeria. The slaves brought with them as much of their culture as they could manage, including the tradition of drumming.

Obviously the island did not provide the same materials with which to make and maintain drums as in Africa, and the slaves looked for substitutes. The most obvious and widely used was lengths of bamboo stamped on the ground or strugh together. These were known as Bamboo Drums or "Tambour Bamboo" which became corrupted to "Tamboo Bamboo".

The problem with Tamboo Bamboo was that after extensive use, the bamboo split or broke. This led to a further substitution some time in the 1930s. This time paraffin tins, galvanised dustbins and the like were played with sticks.

Some time during the 1940s - the exact date is not known - a guy by the name of Winston "Spree" Simon was playing a tin as a bass drum. As he beat it repeatedly with a stick the end of the tin gradually dented in, which caused the pitch of the drum to sharpen. Eventually he found himself playing a bass-drum part on a high pitched instrument. He picked up a rock and stamped the end of the drum back out from the inside, reasoning that if the dent was again made flat it would regain its bass note.

Or course, the end of the drum did not return to its flat state - instead it dented outward into three distinct bumps. Spree discovered that each bump made a different note. He went around playing "Mary had a little lamb" and the first steeldrum was born.

The idea was rapidly developed and by the early 1950s the 44-gallon oil drum was the standard starting point. Instruments had been divided into those for melody, chords, and bass, and simple tunes or even classical music could be performed entirely on the steeldrum. There was intense rivalry between bands, often leading to bloodshed. The upper classes frowned heavily on pan-man, who were seen as hoodlums at best, and attempts were made to outlaw the instrument.

The instrument (and its image) has been refined and improved, and a modern steelband can have anything up to 120 members. The instruments produce a most pleasing, clear sound, and a band has a range of nearly 5 octaves. Reportoire ranges from brilliantly executed classical music to pop to the vibrant calypso/soca music of Trinidad. Anyone who has heard a steelband in full cry will agree that it has a claim to being the 8th wonder of the world.
(Steve Lawrie 1995)



One Love Caribbean Steel Drum Band

Who Are We?

This group formerly led by Keith C. St. Louis of Trinidad and Tobago came to Virginia under the name of Trinidad and Tobago Pan Professionals in 1994. They worked with inner-city kids from 1994 in the Portsmouth area and continue to do so now. One Love Caribbean Steel Drum Band is a complete steel drum band. The band consists of five professional steel pan drummers. Instruments include: tenors, double seconds, guitars, six bass, and an electronic or acoustic percussionist. Their formal and informal venues include private parties, weddings, corporate functions, boat cruises, school presentations, social centers, college dances and festivals.

We specialize in wedding ceremony music, cocktail hours, receptions, and rehearsal dinners.

A Taste of Summer - Steel Drum Band at Wedding from Matt Davis on Vimeo.

They have performed over 1000 events, from entire East Coast from Miami to Connecticut including Musicfest in Bethlehem, PA, Miami Carnival and the entire Hampton Roads Area. Locally their performances include the USS Enterprise, USS Nimitz, HarborFest, Blackbeard Festival, Seawall Festival, and Afram Festival. They also toured Bermuda in December 1999 and Trinidad and Tobago Carnival in 2000. The five talented members have earned a solid and trusted reputation as polished professionals who have appropriate look, sound and attitude you expect for your event. They have an authentic repertoire and which is appropriate for all ages. They can provide special request with prior notice. They have a sweet mix of calypso, reggae and island music. Some songs from our repertoire include:

  • Here Comes The Bride
  • Canon In D
  • Forever In Love
  • Falling In Love
  • Jamaica Farewell
  • Over The Rainbow
  • Amazing Grace
  • Mary Ann
  • Hot Hot Hot
  • Margaritaville
One Love Caribbean Steel Drum Band is available for all occasions. They enjoy what they do and they know you will too. Performances can be tailored to the needs of the client and are great for parties, church programs and meetings, as well as educational programs. If you only want one steel drummer or a whole band we can accommodate your needs.


 Apr 10 4:00-9:00 pm
Bahama Breeze Island Grill
4554 Virginia Beach Blvd. Virginia Beach
Open to the Public
Apr 11 4:30-6:30 pm

Wedding Ceremony and Cocktail Reception
for Ashley Johnson and Chris Liufau  
123 Margaret Dr., Hampton, VA

Apr 11  6:30-9:00 pm

 Dental Convention Evening Dinner Event   
Sheraton Hotel Oceanfront, Virginia Beach VA

Apr 15 6:00-8:00 pm
Sister Cities Passport Event
African Drum Presentation
Sheraton, Norfolk, VA
Apr 19 2:00-5:00 pm

Show Bride The North End Bridal Expo
Holiday Inn & Suites North Beach
3900 Atlantic Ave Virginia Beach, VA
*Discounts if you book One Love
Caribbean Steel Drum Band the day of the show*

Apr 25 7:15-8:15 pm

Wedding Ceremony Liz and Judy    
Virginia Living Museum,
524 J Clyde Morris Blvd, Newport News, VA

May 1 6:00-9:00 pm
Portsmouth Christian School Prom  
Suffolk Planters Club,
4600 Planters Club Road, Suffolk, VA
May 8 1:30-4:00 pm

Retirement Ceremony and Reception   
Vista Pointe Norfolk Naval Base,
Norfolk, VA  

May 16 4:00-5:00 pm   Wedding Ceremony and Cocktail for
Linda Hume and Sean Liebold
5302 Oceanfront Ave.
Virginia Beach, VA
May 16 5:00-8:00 pm  St. Paul Episcopal Church Multicultural Celebration
3510 VanVen Boogard Center,
West Pointe, VA
May 19 6:00-8:00 pm IPMA-HR Professional Conference
Virginia Aquarium 717 General Booth Blvd.,
Virginia Beach
May 25 4-7 pm Surfrider Marina Shores
2100 Marina Shores Dr.
Virginia Beach VA
Jul 3  7:00-10:00 pm

 Ole Mexican Restaurant 
5191 Shore Drive Virginia Beach
Open to the Public

Jul 4 5:00-8:00 pm

Beret's Seafood Taphouse Grill
199 S. Boundary Street
Williamsburg, VA
Open to the Public

 Jul 4 4:00-12 pm
Bahama Breeze Island Grill
4554 Virginia Beach Blvd. Virginia Beach
Open to the Public
Jul 5 4:00-6:00 pm

 Family Celebration
Barbara Maggi
Crossborough Rd. Virginia Beach

Jul 5 7:00-9:00 pm

 Ann-Marie Stephens
75th Birthday Party
Favero Road, Richmond VA

Jul 5 4:00-12 pm
Bahama Breeze Island Grill
4554 Virginia Beach Blvd. Virginia Beach
Open to the Public
Jul 5 6:00-8:00 pm

Linda Clark Birthday and Anniversary Party
Morningwood Court, Virginia Beach

Jul 11 4:00-7:00 pm

Grand Opening of  the World Market 
World Market 5225 Settlers Market Blvd.
Williamsburg, VA
Open to the Public

Jul 11 4:00-12 pm
Bahama Breeze Island Grill
4554 Virginia Beach Blvd. Virginia Beach
Open to the Public
Jul 12 12-2 pm

Second Chance Thrift Store
5193 Shore Dr. Virginia Beach,
Open to the Public

Jul 12 10:15-11:15 am

Wedding Ceremony for
Aneitra Collins and Antoine Shavers  
Wyndham Hotel Oceanfront, 5700 Atlantic Ave.
Virginia Beach

Jul 13 12:00-4:00 pm

31st Street Park, Virginia Beach
Open to the public

Jul 18 4:00-12 pm
Bahama Breeze Island Grill
4554 Virginia Beach Blvd. Virginia Beach
Open to the Public
Jul 19 4:00-5:00 pm

Wedding Cocktail hour for
Adrian Parker and Tyhisha Wyatt
Marriott Hotel Town Center Drive,
Newport News, VA

Jul 19 7:00-10:00 pm Greenbrier GMGA
Greenbrier Country Club Chesapeake
Jul 25 4:00-12 pm
Bahama Breeze Island Grill
4554 Virginia Beach Blvd. Virginia Beach
Open to the Public
Aug 1 4:00-12 pm
Bahama Breeze Island Grill
4554 Virginia Beach Blvd. Virginia Beach
Open to the Public
Aug 7 5-8 pm Family Night Little Neck Swim and Racquet Club,
864 Little Neck Road, Virginia Beach
Aug 8 4:00-12 pm
Bahama Breeze Island Grill
4554 Virginia Beach Blvd. Virginia Beach
Open to the Public
Aug 10 12-4:00 pm

Catch 31
31st Street Park, Virginia Beach 
Open to the public

Aug 15 4:00-12 pm
Bahama Breeze Island Grill
4554 Virginia Beach Blvd. Virginia Beach
Open to the Public
Aug 15 7:00-11:00 pm   40th Birthday Party for Scott Swidersky   
Wild Horses, (4x4 off road area)
Corova, NC
Aug 16 6:00-7:00 pm

Wedding Cocktail hour for
Tabatha and George  
Chrysler Museum of Art West Olney Road
Norfolk, VA

Aug 18 5:00-9:00 pm

Wedding Ceremony and Poolside Reception for
Jen Kostek and Dan Vranjes
The Grand Ritz Palm Duck Road
Duck, NC

Aug 22 4:00-12 pm
Bahama Breeze Island Grill
4554 Virginia Beach Blvd. Virginia Beach
Open to the Public
Aug 28 5:30-6:30 pm

Wedding Welcome Dinner 
 "Leave it at the Door"
Lindsey Lane (Pine Island Reserve)
Corolla, NC   

Aug 29 4:00-12 pm
Bahama Breeze Island Grill
4554 Virginia Beach Blvd. Virginia Beach
Open to the Public
Sep 21 12:00-4:00 pm

31st Street Park Virginia Beach, VA
Open to the public

Oct 9 3:00-5:00 pm

Wedding Ceremony and Cocktail hour for
Annie Lovell and Stephen Beidman
The Dream House in Corova, NC on the 4*4 beaches

Oct 18 5:00-7:00 pm

Wedding Ceremony and Cocktail hour for
Lindsay Silliman and Cameron Daniels
Sailfish Drive, Pirates Cove Marina
Manteo, NC

Need directions?  Click here.


I can't thank you enough for the awesome performance. I truly appreciate everything . . . . we've gotten so many compliments on how the music was the most perfect touch for the ceremony. Please let the other members of the band know how appreciative we are and let them know that they did an awesome job.
Melissa Schurr Thornborough, Corolla, NC

We love the band, the music is excellent. I am glad to do a testimonial. Please feel free to call and stop by any time you are on the Outer Banks.
Delphine Amrhein, Kill Devil Hills, NC

I am not only pleased, but impressed with One Love Steel Drum Band! What a talented group of musicians! Everyone at the wedding had nothing but wonderful things to say about you all. I feel your music and enthusiasm made our beach wedding that much more special. It was an element of the day that will NEVER be forgotten. I noticed you will be laying on the 31st stage at the oceanfront a few times this summer. We will be sure to come over. Thanks again for all your hard work and making my special day so enjoyable!!!
Monica Malone

Everything was just fine. The band members were very pleasant and played well all evening. They were a good addition to our theme and everyone enjoyed them.
Milly Wassum

"The sounds of the drums were beautiful. The steel drums made the party. I felt like I was in the islands. The ladies came right on time. They played songs that everyone knew. I now know who to call when I need steel drummers for an event. Thank you very much."
Alicia Riley, Newport News VA

"The band was wonderful. The band members are so nice and all our guests enjoyed the selection of music. My son said it was the best party ever and loved the music. It was so nice to drive up after graduation and to see the band set up and ready to play. I was so glad I did not have to worry about anything. Your band members looked so professional with matching shirts and truly gave us their all. We look forward to having you for another event and will highly recommend One Love Caribbean Steel Drum Band. Thank you for the wonderful graduation memories."
Babs Szycher, Virginia Beach (Great Neck), VA

"The band was fantastic. Really made the party. They set up early and got right to it. Thank the drummers for me."
Carrie Weston, Norfolk VA

"You guys did a wonderful job! I tell everyone that the band was my favorite part of the wedding. Everyone said they just enjoyed listening to the music and a few asked me if you sold CD's. Also someone told me that people from the other wedding were coming over to listen to you guys. One Love is a great band and my favorite part of my wedding! Your performance at our wedding left an everlasting memory on me and my husband and for everyone that attended. I wish I would of booked you guys for the entire wedding not just the ceremony."
Kathy Draper, Grafton, VA

"The music was great and ALL our guests really enjoyed the band; they kept asking how I found a steel band in VA Beach. Two hours really set the tone of the evening, and the quality of the music was certainly worth the price. Again, I loved the sound; I'll clearly recommend One Love in the future."
Michael Moore Virginia Beach (Pembroke) VA

Contact Us

Tel: (757) 292-1145
Tel: (757) 640-1508
Email: onelovesteelband@gmail.com

One Love Caribbean Steel Drum Band
Copyright 2015, One Love Caribbean Steel Drum Band, All Rights Reserved

Tel: (757) 640-1508
Email: onelovesteelband@gmail.com
Sunday May 13 2012   1-4pm
Captain Groovy’s Restaurant
8101 Shore Drive  Norfolk, VA 23518
Sandy White (757) 965-4667