Lake Forest, CA (PressExposure) March 20, 2011 -- As a musical instrument, the steel drum or steel pan as many call it, originated from the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, but has since been adopted by legions of fans across the globe. In Southern California, Tom Liston and his band, Steel Tropics, have adopted the instrument and with it, they entertain a host of listeners with steel drum music both live and on CD. Mesmerized by the uncanny beat and catchy cadence that is unlike anything else in the music industry, listeners are slowly turning into loyal fans as the sounds of the steel pan make its way to the mainstream, recently adding to the charm of the motion picture "The Backup Plan" starring none other than pop sensation and big screen talent Jennifer Lopez.
The steel drum is traditionally crafted from actual oil containers, with a pan ending up as a percussion instrument. Today, some manufacturers eschew the oil containers, creating the resonance bodies from scratch out of raw material according to preferences and technical specifications supplied by instrument makers. The bowl shaped pan is carefully crafted out of sheet metal, and it is during the shaping process known to many as sinking, that notes of different sizes are molded onto the pan's surface. Following the tempering process, the manufacturer will then tune the completed pan with the help of an electronic tuner.
The pan produces a sound when the musician, or pannist as some would call them, strikes it with an implement. Done rhythmically, the motion generates delicate tones unique in the music industry. Bands have been formed around this musical instrument, playing everything from Calypso music to jazz compositions, film music, Latin numbers and other popular tunes. Southern California based Steel Tropics is one such steel drum band, whose performing accolades include private parties, weddings, concerts, events and providing the catchy tune "Sweet Calypso Woman" to J Lo's movie, "The Backup Plan" which hit the big screen in 2010.
Led by steel drummer Tom Liston, Steel Tropics plays a myriad of tunes, ranging from all-original steel drum music written and arranged by Tom Liston to traditional Caribbean steel drum tunes, classic jazz and even classic Christmas music. Calypso music fans or those looking for a new spin on traditional music can book Steel Tropics for a performance. For a more intimate setting, Steel Tropics can be heard on CD. Available titles include "Island Dreamin," "Steel Tropics with Tom Liston, "Steel Tropics Christmas Paradise" and "BeBop Bahama."
"Nothing conjures the easy going lifestyle of the Caribbean like the sound of its music, and in that regard, the steel drums lead the way. Steel drums can play a wide range of music, but it never loses its unique character no matter the tune. The sounds of the steel drum exude the spirit of freedom and happiness that is inherent in the culture of the people from which the steel drum owes its genesis," explains Tom Liston, the lead drummer for Steel Tropics.