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The Florida Folklife Reader$
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Tina Bucuvalas

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781617031403

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617031403.001.0001

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date: 19 September 2018

Michael Kernahan

Michael Kernahan

A Life in Pan

(p.35) Michael Kernahan
The Florida Folklife Reader

Stephen Stuempfle

University Press of Mississippi

Born in 1947 in Palo Seco, a small village in southern Trinidad, Michael Kernahan left his native country in search of musical opportunities, adventure, and, ideally, some income. After touring North America with a steelband, he settled in the United States on a permanent basis, and has found a career making high-precision musical instruments, known as pans, for bands and individuals in Florida. In Miami, Kernahan has been one of the guiding forces in the still-emerging pan scene, creating pans from discarded oil and chemical barrels. He also plays for a band called the 21st Century Steel Orchestra, serving as the leader and musical arranger. Steelbands, a creation of the twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, are a relatively recent phenomenon in south Florida. This chapter examines the art of Kernahan, along with the characteristics of the Miami pan scene, in the context of the development of pan music in Trinidad, and also provides an overview of pan tuning as well as Kernahan’s 21st Century Steel Orchestra.

Keywords:   pans, Trinidad, Michael Kernahan, musical instruments, Florida, Miami, Steel Orchestra, steelbands, pan music, pan tuning

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