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Cool Melodies

Classical music on Caribbean instruments? Liam Teague and Robert Chappell like to confound expectations.

The DeKalb duo is already a world apart, having mastered some of the unique instruments of Central America and the Caribbean like the marimba and steelpan – commonly called the steel drum. But they then take the instruments in a new direction, using them for unique renditions of classical and jazz numbers.

Teague teaches the steelpan – the national instrument of his native Trinidad and Tobago – at Northern Illinois University. He teamed up with fellow music professor Chappell to explore the boundaries of music and knowledge of the steelpan, which is formed by meticulously hammering away at the lid of a 55-gallon oil drum.

The duo also founded the band Panoramic, a sextet that has played venues the world over.

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Hear the Caribbean sounds of the steelpan mix with Guatemala's national instrument, the marimba, and explore music with Liam Teague and Robert Chappell.

 

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Teague and Chappell's band, Panoramic, play the St. Lucia Jazz Festival in May 2006. Photo courtesy of Robert Chappell.

 

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