Ellie Mannette, Father of the Modern Steel Drum, Dies at 90
By Karen Zraick — Aug. 31, 2018
As a child in Port of Spain, Trinidad’s capital, Mr. Mannette became fascinated with…bands…using trash cans and buckets as drums…to create different sounds. [H]e sought to elevate and expand the craft of steel-pan music, and to share it with the world.
He became a master tuner, builder and teacher. …Mannette Instruments in Morgantown, is a major supplier of the instruments in the United States, and he trained students in tuning at West Virginia University for nearly 20 years.
Mannette was among the first to fashion a [chromatic scale] steel drum [to] play any melody in any key.
Today the steel drum is the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago.
[Manette] was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 2003.