Children’s programming just doesn’t seem to teach the kids how to do the important things in life anymore. You know, like make steel drums. But that wasn’t always the case! Dig the bygone era of funky 70s and 80s public broadcasting. Specifically, the halcyon days of Sesame Street.

Strong on execution, following an exercise on how to make a drum from a barrel, we then join the gang in medias res as they take the sounds to the beach – “hey kids, you feel the rhythm? you know there’s rhythm all around us – the waves breaking rhythm, people walking rhythm, people breathing rhythm, too.” Preach.

Further Viewing: Trinidad musician and composer Ray Holman describes the set-up of the notes on the Tenor Pan.

4 Responses to “1970’s Sesame Street: Steel Drum Rhythm / A Drum From A Barrel”

  1. Thank you for posting this. These were always some of my favourite segments watching Sesame Street growing up. They really were inspirational to my young appreciation of music, and world music – as I’m sure they were for a whole generation.

  2. Those little films were the greatest. Remember the Cajun movies? There was one with an outdoor party – lots of food, music and dancing. And my favorite was a guy poling a pirogue through the bayou with a couple of kids in tow – gators slithering off rocks and such, with fantastic music in the background.

  3. Notice the cigarette in the cabby’s mouth at 0:40 in “Steel Drum Rhythm”? Think that would slip through on PBS Kids today? In some ways our culture was a lot less uptight back then.

  4. My father in law – deceased – was from Trinidad. We’d visit the island and at night, sit in his carport listening to the sounds of the Pan Yard on the other side of the trees. It was always pretty cool.

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