Steelpan, Caribbean Identity and Culturally Relevant Adult Programs

Jean Walrond


The steelpan, a Caribbean percussion instrument forged out of resistance and rebellion, was introduced to Edmonton in the 1960s. Over the years, Caribbean heritage students have taken it to play for the school’s “Cultural Days” to let others experience some aspects of their culture. In this article, I recount some of their experiences. More importantly, like them I recognize its importance to their cultural and social development and assert that this instrument, which is germane to Caribbean people, can be incorporated into culturally relevant adult education programs for people of Caribbean heritage who are living in Canada. I conclude that because education had been a problematic issue for people of Caribbean heritage in Canada, frameworks that are trustworthy will have to ground any culturally relevant adult education programs. Throughout this article pseudonyms are used to maintain the research participants’ identities.

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