Music Gateway
Login or Join for Free
or sign up with
Spotify icon
Burger menu
Large chevron
close icon
Releasing music? Get more streams and grow your fan base. Tell me more.
Get more
with PROMO.
Discover more about PROMO.
close icon


Best Steel Drum Music

Photograph of the blog post author, Georgia Carter

Georgia Carter


Small blue and purple gradient divider


Steel drum music is special because it is one of the few genres of music that originated in the Caribbean. It is played on a unique instrument made from a 55-gallon oil drum. The sound of the steel drum is distinctive and has a joyful, upbeat quality. It is often associated with the laid-back island lifestyle. Additionally, steel drum music has a rich cultural history. It’s often used to celebrate important events and holidays in Caribbean communities.

Steel Drum Music

What Is Steel Drum Music?

Steel drum music is a unique and vibrant form of music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the 1930s. It is also known as pan music or simply steelpan. The steel drum is a percussion instrument made from an oil drum. It will have been modified and tuned to produce different notes. 

The instrument is played with rubber-tipped mallets. It is capable of producing a wide range of sounds, from deep bass notes to high-pitched melodies. This genre of music has a rich cultural history that is deeply rooted in the traditions of the Caribbean.

Steel Drum Music – History

The steel drum was first developed by African slaves in Trinidad and Tobago. Those who were not allowed to play their traditional drums. They began experimenting with discarded oil drums and found that they could create a new type of instrument that was uniquely their own.

Over the years, this music has become an integral part of Caribbean culture and has spread around the world. Today, steel drum bands can be found in many countries, and the music has been incorporated into a variety of musical genres, including jazz, reggae, and pop.

One of the most famous steel drum bands is the Trinidad and Tobago Steel Drum Orchestra, which was founded in the 1940s. The band has performed all over the world and has helped to popularize steel drum music on a global scale.

In terms of some popular steel drum artists and songs include Bob Marley’s “One Love,” Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” and the album “Steel Drum Island Collection” by Island Time Steel Band.

Steel drum music is known for its upbeat rhythms and catchy melodies, which are often accompanied by lively dancing. The music is typically played at outdoor festivals and celebrations, and is often associated with the Caribbean carnival season.

In recent years, this music has also been used in therapeutic settings to help reduce stress and anxiety. The soothing sounds of the instrument have been found to have a calming effect on the mind and body, making it an ideal form of relaxation therapy.

YouTube player

Steel Pan Drum Music

Steel Pan Drum Music originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the 1930s. It evolved from the practice of playing music on discarded oil drums, which were then tuned and modified to produce distinct musical notes. The steel pan drum became popular in the Caribbean and eventually spread to other parts of the world, becoming a symbol of Caribbean culture and music.

Roots Music 

Roots music is a broad category that encompasses a variety of traditional music genres originating from different regions and cultures around the world. The term “roots music” was first used in the 1950s to describe a range of musical styles that were considered to be the foundation of modern American music, including blues, country, folk, and gospel. These genres have their roots in African, European, and Native American musical traditions, and have evolved over time through the influence of various cultural and social factors. Today, roots music continues to be a vibrant and diverse genre, with artists and musicians drawing inspiration from its rich history and cultural heritage.

Best Top 20 Steel Drum Music Songs

  1. No Woman, No Cry – Bob Marley & The Wailers – Caribbean Pirates Steel Band 
  1. Don’t Worry, Be Happy – The Island Caribbean Steel Drum Band
  1. Girl I Want To Make You Sweat – Caribbean Pirates Steel Band 
  1. I Can See Clearly Now – Caribbean Pirates Steel Band
  1. Angel Of The Morning – Caribbean Pirates Steel Band
  1. Jamaican Steel Drums Music – Steel Drum Band
  1. Beach Drums – Steel Drum Band
  1. Caribbean Party – Steel Drum Band
  1. Girl From Ipanema – Steel Drum Island
  1. Jamaican Music – Pirates Of The Caribbean Steel Drum Band
  1. Caribbean Party Music – Steel Drums Music Crew
  1. Steel Drum Music For Caribbean Parties 
  1. Matilda – The Island Caribbean Steel Drum Band 
  1. The Island – Steel Drums Music Crew
  1. Yellowbird – The Island Caribbean Steel Drum Band
  1. Yesterday – The Island Caribbean Steel Drum Band 
  1. Bahamas Vacations – Steel Drums Music Crew

18 . Eclipse On The Beach – Steel Drums Music Crew

19. Red Red Wine – The Island Caribbean Steel Drum Band

20. Kokomo – The Island Caribbean Steel Drum Band

The Notting Hill Carnival

This type of music is often associated with the Notting Hill Carnival, an annual event in London that celebrates Caribbean culture and features a parade of colorful costumes and floats, as well as live music performances including steel drum bands.

Steel Drum Music is an integral part of the Notting Hill Carnival. The carnival originated in the 1960s as a celebration of Caribbean culture and has since grown to become one of the largest street festivals in the world. It is a key feature of the carnival’s sound and is played by many of the participating bands. The lively and rhythmic music is a reflection of the vibrant culture of the Caribbean and adds to the festive atmosphere of the carnival.

YouTube player

What Are Steel Drums Made Of?

Steel drums are typically made from 55-gallon oil barrels that have been cleaned, sanded, and reshaped. The process involves heating the metal to soften it, then pounding it into shape using a hammer and a variety of specialized tools. The metal is then tempered and tuned by carefully hammering specific areas to create the desired pitch and tone. Finally, the drum is finished with a protective coating to prevent rusting and enhance its appearance.

How To Join A Steel Drum Band

To join a steel drum music band, you can start by researching local bands in your area and reaching out to them to express your interest and inquire about audition opportunities. You can also consider taking steel drum lessons to improve your skills and increase your chances of being accepted into a band. Networking with other musicians and attending local music events may also help you connect with band members and find potential opportunities.


Listening or playing steel drum music can be enjoyable and relaxing, as it has a unique and soothing sound that can transport you to tropical destinations. Additionally, playing steel drums can be a fun and rewarding musical experience, as it allows for creativity and collaboration with other musicians.

Overall, this genre of music is a vibrant and unique form of music that has a rich cultural history and a bright future. Whether you are looking to dance the night away or simply relax and unwind, it has something to offer for everyone.


closed button
Music Gateway Company Logo

Get started today

Join for Free