Originally from Trinidad in the Caribbean and recycled from 44 gallon oil drums, the steelpan is an ideal vehicle for music instruction. Anyone can learn to play the pans, and they can be used in any musical idiom, from classical and jazz to kwaito.
The Steelband Project was set up in 1997 by Liz Brouckaert and David Wickham. The core focus of the project is to provide quality music education to young people in the Western Cape, with a particular focus on youth in under-resourced communities and ‘youth-at-risk’.
The Project aims to develop the discipline and listening skills required for playing in a band, and to give band members the personal enjoyment and confidence gained from performing in public. The Project is active in many suburban and township schools as well as with street youth and with young people with learning difficulties. There are currently 16 steelbands being taught by the Steelband Project on a weekly basis, with an average size of 15 members.
The Steelband Project also runs a Rural Steelband Programme, whereby disadvantaged youth in rural communities are given access to steelband tuition. Through this programme bands are thriving in the towns of Riebeek Kasteel, Hermon and Malmesbury. The Project has also been instrumental in setting up bands that are now run independently in the towns of Robertson, Hawston and Hermanus and we are busy setting up a band in Vanwyksdorp.