Steelbands of New York

 Compiled by Doris Green

A look at the Steelbands of New York which survived against all odds and have maintained the culture of their ancestors.

Doris Green is an ethnomusicologist, journalist, historian, ethnomusicologist, choreographer Fulbright scholar, creator of Greenotation - a system for writing music for percussion instruments of Africa, certified teacher of Labanotation and a U.S. State Department Cultural Specialist. She publishes Traditions Journal which is dedicated to the preservation of African music and dance.

Republished from -  Steelbands of New York with permission from the author

A When Steel Talks Exclusive Reprint


Rudy King at the Apollo Theatre with Pan
Rudy King brings the steelpan to America and performs at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem
Doris Green
Doris Green

Brooklyn-born Doris Green is an ethnomusicologist and Africanist, creator of the world’s only percussion notation system. She is also — a certified teacher of Labanotation and is a pioneer in ethnochoreographology, the scientific study of the art of symbolically representing dances of a particular race or cultural group through Labanotation. She has trained in more than twenty nations of Africa. Her work in African music and dance has been endorsed by Professor Nketia and the Organization of African Unity for inclusion in the course of study in African universities. She teaches in the United States as well as in Africa.

Known as the New World Griot, Doris Green, created a system for writing African music which makes playing African music as easy as reciting a nursery rhyme. As a trained dance notator, her role is to train Africa’s griots in these systems of notations. The New World Griot, just like Africa’s griots, has dedicated her talents to the preservation of Africa’s oral traditions.

New York city-born Priscilla Taylor is a music aficionado, who has collected ethnic music since the 1950’s. Her interest in steel band music was fostered through her friend, Joseph Cummings, a Trinidadian pancussionist with Rudy King’s Steel Band. Ms. Taylor has some vintage recordings of Ellie Mannette, Neville Jules.


The Girl Pat Steel Band, Katzenjammers and others of that era.

Upon returning from the 1956 carnival in Trinidad and from a visit to the island of Antigua, the birthplace of her parents where she was entertained by the renowned Hells Gate Steel Band, she began a study of the steel pan.

As an artist, writer, journalist, administrator and consultant, with a keen interest in the performing arts, her goal is to insure the dissemination and propagation of the visions of the black creative artist on to the international scene.

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