Steel drums bring sounds of the Caribbean to campus

Lauren Crist

Trinidad native, associate professor introduces audience

Ron Reid and members of Kent State’s steel pan percussion played at the Ludwig Music Hall last night.

Credit: Lauren Crist

The sounds of the Caribbean rang through the Ludwig Music Hall last night. Originally from Trinidad, Ron Reid introduced the audience to the musical stylings of the steel pan.

“There is something about the resonance and the fact that (the steel pan) was created in Trinidad,” Reid said. “It’s an honor to play it well, and I just get a joy out of playing it.”

The steel drum is originally made from an oil drum. Inside the drum, there are grooves representing the different notes. During the intermission, the audience was invited on stage to look at the drums.

“It was amazing, I’ve never been to such a concert,” said Angelica Babayan, a freshman hospitality management major. “I got really excited about this and if there is going to be any other concert like this I would like to visit it.”

Reid performed several solo pieces and also played with students from Kent State’s steel pan percussion.

“I was amazed at how versatile it was,” said Erin Smith, a sophomore secondary elementary education major. “It fit in really well with the Caribbean music we typically associate it with, as well as jazz music.”

In addition to being a bassist and steel drummer, Reid is an associate professor of contemporary writing and production at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Along with David ‘Happy’ Williams and Orivlle Wright, he released an album in 2003 called Reid, Wright and be Happy.

“Our producer came up with the title,” Reid said. “I didn’t I like it at first but now I think it’s pretty clever.”

n professor, said he encourages students to listen to live music, meet the musicians and get to know them.

“Ron Reid is just such a musician,” he said. “We’re really honored to have someone here to work with the students.”

Reid said it is not easy to be a musician.

“It’s not just about learning a couple of tunes,” Reid said, “it’s really about learning music, and the steel drum is just another vehicle to convey really good music.”

Contact College of the Arts reporter Lauren Crist at [email protected].