Oh, Steel Drum Player, Why Must You Torment Me So?

Steel Drum Player is back.

Like the famed Capistrano swallows returning to southern California each spring, so too does Steel Drum Player to our Davis Square neighborhood.

Contrary to what you might expect, Steel Drum Player is a slender little white guy with glasses. And once the spring weather comes around — as it finally has this week — he makes frequent appearances in the open spaces outside our office.

There are three things you must know about Steel Drum Player:

  1. He plays a steel drum (obviously).
  2. He sings loudly in a style that can best be described as “idiosyncratically off key.”
  3. His repertoire features not calypso music, but primarily a mix of ’60s folk war horses like “Sounds of Silence” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.” ON A STEEL DRUM!

Add it all up, and you have my dilemma: Nothing can drown out the sound of Steel Drum Player.

I close the window. I turn on my fan. I turn up my radio. It doesn’t matter — the cacophony generated by Steel Drum Player penetrates every sound barrier I put up.

And when that happens, I quickly lose the ability to concentrate. My pace slows. I start making random errors. Essentially, I become useless until Steel Drum Player packs up for the day and goes home.

So dear Steel Drum Player, if you’re reading: I applaud you for having the guts to play in public. I play guitar and sing but lack the courage to do that. However, would you please consider taking your act to Porter Square, or better yet, Harvard Square? Please let me focus once again and earn an honest living in peace! I beg of you, Steel Drum Player!

Thank you.

… and whispered … in the sounds … of silence …

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3 replies
  1. Jamespgallant says:

    It’s said that artists who speak from the heart achieve appreciation posthumously. Not that anyone would kill Steel Drum Player…

  2. Michael Blumfield says:

    I think that elite SEALS unit that just finished up a big assignment in Pakistan is probably looking for something to do. If he was playing outside my window, I’d start making some inquiries.

  3. Skiniman says:

    It can be annoying when music can disturb your natural flow. The bad singing can do more harm than good. I’d say that his repertoire (non caribbean music) is a reflection of what he feels and enjoys playing. Its also a tribute to the versatility of the instrument itself. Many have limited perceptions of the steel drum as belonging in a beachy/cruise ship environment, but it has evolved far beyond a novel instrument. Sometimes a highly skillful steel drum player can present the instrument in a favorable manner that attracts as opposed to repelling.

    Hopefully you come across one of those types of musicians.

    Minsky Delmonte
    Steel Drum Musician

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