“Echophone” steelpan made by Herman “Rock” Johnston

History of Pan - Triple (Second)

A When Steel Talks Exclusive


Mr. Johnston has also developed a drum [steelpan instrument] that he calls an echophone. It’s made of three drums, he said, and “It’s mainly used to do works for the French horn; it can play harmony and melody.”  - Herman “Rock” Johnston - New York Times

The former body builder-turned-steel-drum-band-leader gained international acclaim in the early 1960s after coming up with an innovation that stretched the instrument’s musical range from 24 to 36 notes.

Florida, USA -  On Monday (April 30, 2001) Mr. Johnston, who moved his family to Spring Hill from New York 12 years ago, died at home after a four-year battle with prostate cancer. During a career that catapulted him from his native Trinidad to appearances at the United Nations, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall and with the Boston Symphony at its summer festival in Tanglewood, Mr. Johnston’s repertoire spanned musical genres, including rock, spiritual, classical, show tunes and Caribbean folk melodies.

Festival Winners of 1964 - West Side Symphony performing “Elizabethan Serenade”


 

Echophone steelpan
 Echophone steelpan invented by Herman Johnston - images provided by Adrian Ramdoo

Herman Johnston inventor of the Echophone steelpan with BWIA Sunjets
Herman Johnston inventor of the Echophone steelpan with BWIA Sunjets

 

Herman Johnston, who developed the Echophone steelpan
Herman Johnston, who developed the Echophone steelpan

Herman Johnston with Echophone steelpan  and Johnston Fantastic Symphony Steel Orchestra
Herman Johnston with Echophone steelpan  and Johnston Fantastic Symphony Steel Orchestra


Leave your comment in the WST Forum

 
 When Steel Talks shirts
now available!
Order yours now!!
When Steel Talks - T Shirt