Steelpan Standards

Pan by Storm, Do something for Pan, Pan in Harmony, Pan Explosion and Guitar Pan are all titles of celebrated compositions that have an automatic association with steelbands.

However, Rebecca, Bees Melody, Picture on the wall, Curry Tabanca and Somebody are also titles of compositions synonymous with the steelband instruments. 

These compositions (usually calypsoes) are called steelpan standards. They are widely known to steelpan fans, and are usually performed and recorded by pannists. 

Musical standards form an important part in the development of any instrumentalist. As an entertainer you are often asked if you can play a particular song. As a professional you will be expected to have explored the techniques of playing particular compositions. These compositions can either be fairly simple or very complex, but they are held in continuing esteem by pannists and non-pannists, and are commonly used by either group as the basis for arrangements and improvisations.  

During the first fifty years of Panorama (often regarded as the testing ground for steelpan standards) some popular pieces have been selected from each decade and can be deemed as steelpan standards:

  • 1960s    Obeah Wedding, Sixty Seven, The Bull
  • 1970s   Tribute to Spree, Rainorama, Pan in The 21st Century
  • 1980s   The Hammer, Pan Night and Day, Pan Explosion
  • 1990s   Pan in A Minor, Fire Coming Down, Pan by Storm
  • 2000s   Trini Gone Wild, This One’s 4U Brandley, Magic Drum

Non-Panorama Standards - Caribbean themed tunes that have been adopted by pannists and non-pannists

  • Yellow Bird
  • Island in the Sun
  • Jean and Dinah
  • Don't stop the Carnival
  • Sugar bum bum
  • Hot Hot Hot
  • Fire Fire

Some compositions considered popular with steelbands, but are not written by calypsonians or pannists: 

  • Africa
  • Flight of Bumble Bee
  • Under the Sea
  • Get Lucky
  • In the Mood  
  • Soul Limbo 
  • Quondo Quondo Quondo