Metro meets pan paradise
Steel pannist brings the tropical drum to the limelight!
From keyboard and accordion players to vocalists and dancers, Montreal’s metro stations feature a wide array of talented artists all year round. Montrealer Ukpöng Etang is looking to add a splash of diversity to the city’s music scene, both underground and above, with one thing—his steelpan.
When Etang first began playing Trinidad and Tobago’s national instrument at Coronation Elementary School at the age of 9, it was far from a passion.
“A lot of my friends started playing pan before me,” said Etang, who also goes by the moniker Mr. Pöng. “I remember being in the third grade at our school’s spring concert with my mom. All of my friends were on stage in the band, and she asked me why I wasn’t in it as well. I didn’t know what to tell her.”
The following year, the half-Nigerian half-Jamaican Montrealer became the newest member of the school’s steelpan ensemble.
While Etang had taken piano lessons for two years—from age 7 to 9—the traditional music lessons were cut short as a result of his newfound love for steelpan. Etang was taught by a renowned pannist and music teacher: Trinidad and Tobago-born Salah Wilson.