Own the video that documents the history and heart of steel drum music and its
journey from tropical Trinidad to northeast Ohio.
Hammer on Steel, is a single DVD featuring two programs.
Set in Akron and the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago, both programs
feature The University of Akron Steel Drum Band. They are the first documentaries
about steel drum music ever shot in high definition.
Documenting the compelling and conflict-torn history of steel drum music, Hammer
on Steel: Bad Boys and Genius is a 30-minute documentary that explains the Trinidad-Akron
connection and details the instruments early development in Trinidad.
The second program, Hammer on Steel: The Concert, captures the UA Steel Drum
Bands 30th anniversary concert with Calypso singer Relator and percussionist Andy
Narell at E.J. Thomas Hall on the UA campus.
Forged less than 100 years ago in the heated struggle for independence in colonial
Trinidad, steel drum music was often the source of tremendous conflict. As quickly
as authorities seized and destroyed the handmade and hammered pans, Trinidadians
would rebuild. Now the music has become a source of community pride, national identity,
and economic development.
We made Hammer on Steel to tell the world about this wonderful music and the
self-taught musicians who created it from the beginning many of whom are now elderly
and wont be with us much longer, explained Larry Snider, The University of Akron
music professor who founded the UA Steel Drum Band in 1980.
We also wanted to tell the unlikely story of how the Caribbean sounds
of the steel drums have also found a home in less-than-tropical Northeast Ohio,
Both Hammer on Steel programs were produced by Phil Hoffman, a faculty member
in The University of Akron School of Communication and an Emmy award-winning documentary
producer for Western Reserve PBS; Matt Dudack, the bands artistic director and
a faculty member and graduate of the UA School of Music; Richard Maurer, an audio
engineer and graduate of the UA School of Music; and Snider. Tim McCarty directed
the concert footage.
Support for the programs was provided by The University of Akrons Office of
the President, College of Creative and Professional Arts, School of Music, and School
The Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust; Radiation
Oncology Physicians, LLC; Drs. Mark and Sandy Auburn; and numerous individuals.