A love of music


Brian Thomas: My name is Brian Thomas and I was born in Trinidad West Indies, and I live in Ferntree Gully.

I came to Australia in 1967.

Our West Indian community used to hear of any steel band that’s coming to Australia and we heard of the Amral Cavaliers coming. Now the band themselves, they were disgruntled with the conditions they were working under. We took in those performers and in doing so they donated the pans to the people who looked after them.

And that was the birth of the Caribbean Steel Rhythm.

Announcer: Well, congratulations to you all, and welcome again to 'Search For A Star.'

Brian Thomas: So to be able to take a 44 gallon drum and create music from it, it’s a bit of a challenge. With me now, it was extra hard because I had to practise more than everyone else. I was the less musically inclined one.

Our band consisted of only two Trinidadians, three guys from Guyana and two Australian guys. It was a little bit of an international band I suppose.

We felt a sense of belonging and we were bringing and introducing something new to Australia.

We played at the Moomba parade, the lunchtime entertainment at the cricket. A lot of Australian families also got involved because they just loved the steel band music. And then of course everybody then trying to limbo which was a joke in its own!

As a kid growing up I always wanted to play the steel pan, but in Trinidad, back in the early sixties, to venture into the steel pan yards it was a little bit of a no-no situation.

And it took me until I came to Australia to get involved with actually learning to play a steel pan. So I felt as though I achieved one of the dreams of my life anyway, and I felt proud to be able to do it.

About this Video

Brian Thomas tells the story behind his Caribbean Steel Rhythm Band and learning to play steel pans.
Length: 2:01