Episode 9: The Musical World is a Cultural Melting Pot, Part 2

Episode 9: The Musical World is a Cultural Melting Pot, Part 2

Aaron Abrahamson Cote
illustration credit: Jon Bravo of Ska Illustrated

Aaron Abrahamson Cote is a Rhode Island-based steel pan player who considers himself a cultural ambassador with the privilege of representing a culture that is not his own. This episode is part 2 of my conversation with Aaron. He talks about the fascinating history and development of the Steel Pan and how the release of new Steel Pan samples is affecting his work.

Topics in this episode include:

  • The history and development of the Steel Pan
  • Colonization and the development of culture
  • Music of uprising
  • Making music with found instruments
  • “Recycled” music
  • Turning someone else’s trash into a cultural enterprise
  • Ellie Manette
  • The design of Steel Pans
  • Steel Pan sampling
  • Writing for Steel Pan Band
  • Writing music that is inclusive and not just for one’s own use

After graduating from Butler University and The University of Illinois (MM), Aaron Abrahamson Cote’s music education continues with firsthand performance experience on a regional and even international level.  His background in symphonic percussion paved the way for an intense practice routine that acted as the backbone for his Steel Pan career.  After learning the standard Caribbean repertoire, Cote’s band Panoramic View backed him in completing his quest to publish a series of original tunes for steel pan.  Over 200 compositions later, this year Cote plans to release his 7th collection of sheet music and backing tracks for steel pan.  Many of Cote’s original pieces are available for free streaming on online media platforms.  With performance credits ranging from Bobby McFerrin to The Skatalites, to members of Rancid and Wilco, Cote is constantly looking to expand his network and collaboratively create an art form that bridges the gap between cultures.  Among others, Cote has worked remotely on recording projects with Sō Percussion, international reggae star Dr. Ring Ding, and Pan Rocks! featuring Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction.   Despite his heavy background as a freelance artist and recurring member of several bands, Cote consistently performs across the Northeast region with Panoramic View and The Island Time Steel Band. While his career has taken him world-wide, Mr. Cote and his wife Caryn are constantly drawn back to the comfort of their beautiful home state of Rhode Island.

You can find Aaron Abrahamson Cote at the following links:

Hear their latest tracks reimagining the 2nd movement of Beethoven Symphony No.7 on Band Camp here: Beethoven Symphony No. 7 Movement II: Allegretto in Reggae | Panoramic View | Panoramic View Steel Drums (bandcamp.com)

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