How the steelpan inspired Raymond James to make the tins pan

The Tin Pans: An evolution of the Steelpan

(above photo is of Cal State University Long Beach Steel Drum Orchestra)

As we capture the last bit of interviews for Panomundo, we talked with pan player Raymond James on Thursday, 26th June, in London, who made the tin pans, an evolution to the steelpan (see photo above) in the late 1950s.  Not only was he kind enough to give us an interview, but he also played a bit for us! Having perfect pitch, he was able to tune each tin by ear. Beer cans, orange juice tins, soup cans and more have been used in creating this “musical instrument.”


Pannist Raymond James shows us how he plays the tin pan
Pannist Raymond James shows us how he plays the tin pans


You can check out Raymond James and more of his works in our 90-minute film PANOMUNDO that will be released at the end of the summer!



Panomundo is a feature-length documentary looking at the history of the steelpan (or steel drum) to its influence around the world.  What started out as a sound to bring cultural rival to the citizens under the colonial rule of the British, became an instrument of change, revival and even a catalyst to independence.

The story covers the history of the only acoustic instrument invented in the 20th Century in Trinidad & Tobago and travels to six countries (England, Switzerland, Japan, United States, Canada and Nigeria) to understand how the pan community developed in those areas and what it is being used for today. Check out the 10-minute Extended Promo

This film is a co-production between Xplore the World (USA) and Komonopromo (UK) with assistance from PHO.VID.SOU. It is co-directed by Keith Musaman Morton and Charysse Tia Harper.