A brief history of Bamboo Tamboo
Bamboo Tamboo (also known as Tamboo Bamboo) originates from the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago and was the precurser to steel pans.
The Caribbean had a high population of West Africans that were forced into slavery, who expressed their Culture, celebrations and religion through music, often played on the Djembe and other drums.
After several unsuccessful revolts, which were organised by the ability of the Slave community to communicate with each other often over great distanced via their drums, the British High Commission banned the use of all skinned instruments in the Caribbean.
Even under such oppressive conditions the slave community improvised new instruments to express themselves rhythmically and musically.
On Trinidad and Tobago bamboo was cut into varying lengths to give different sounds, and so was born Bamboo Tamboo.
Tamboo comes from Tambour, the French word for drum.
So Bamboo Tamboo means literally 'Bamboo Drum.'
The sticks used to hit the Bamboo were often sharpened to a vicious point and were used as weapons between rival gangs, so Bamboo Tamboo was eventually outlawed.
This gave rise to the still popular form of music played on steel pans.
Just to let you know that I led a workshop in the Cedars Academy – one of our Gateshead schools for pupils with special needs. The students greatly enjoyed using the bamboo tamboo; the workshop was related to pitch, and we started with a procession around the building whilst other colleagues improvised. The students found the bamboo tamboo easy to handle and played with great enthusiasm and confidence. The instruments are a splendid addition to our range of resources!
Head of Gateshead Music Service