Sunday, April 25, 2010

Steel Pan Bands

I occasionally meet very interesting people on trains. Today on my way home from church I sat across form an older man who I'm sure I wouldn't have talked to at all, except for a couple of Arab women behind him who got into a REALLY loud conversation over...well, we don't know what they were talking about, actually, or if they were arguing or just talking loudly, but the man shook his head at me in disbelief and was a little perturbed by their noise. He asked if I was Swiss, and I found out he's from the Bahamas, but he's lived here 35 years. I'd like the Bahamas, he said. I should go sometime. He's a musician, he said, and asked if I play anything. I told him I used to play violin, and he said it was sad I don't play anymore and wondered if I'd pick it up again. When I got home I looked up his band, The Steel Harmonites, and discovered his name is Mike, he's from Trinidad, and he started the band in the 70s. It's the oldest steel pan band in Switzerland that is still playing. "Are you studying here?" he asked. "and your folks? are they in Oregon? Your dad and your brother--and do you have sisters?" I hadn't even told him I have brothers! How did he know that!? Maybe it shows. I wished him a good afternoon at my stop, and he said, "yeah, you too, sweetheart," and I felt juuust a bit like I was at home, where it's not so unusual to be called sweetheart by a perfect stranger after 5 min. of conversation. And where my pa always calls me that.


  1. It was really me, in disguise, Steph. I got to missing you so bad I just had to come see you-- so I took a quick course in Swiss German and a little disguise, and ... nah. I wish, though.

    Hope you come home soon.


  2. very cool! check out the best up and coming steel drummer out of NYC - Freddy Harris @