About the Event
Steel Dads is a new performance group of local dads who are practicing the art of steel drumming with a motivation to give back to the community. Steel Dads is led by Keith Johnson—a percussionist, master drummer, craftsman of tradition, artist in education, and creator of Sankofa Island Music who specializes in jazz, jùjú, salsa, calypso, and reggae music.
Johnson first discovered Latin percussion as a child in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. These rhythms inspired him to learn more about Afro-Cuban music and eventually led him to West Africa, where he earned the title of “master drummer.” Johnson is now a craftsman of tradition with a variety of musical instruments. He first learned of the steel drums while doing research in Trinidad and Tobago. Johnson said the sound of steel drums was like hearing the piano on 55-gallon oil drums. The tenor pan plays the melody while the double second plays harmony. The other drums are the guitar, cello, and bass pans. It creates a full sound of a steel pan orchestra with various musical genres, from classical and jazz to calypso and pop. As a commissioned artist in local schools, Johnson brings knowledge and artistry to students and teachers, sharing interpretation and experience by combining music, art, storytelling, and social studies. When working in the schools and the community, the students and teachers have an opportunity to play and perform with the steel drums.