Former Steelpan player KEB MO from Compton to multi-Grammy winner

 


Keb Mo is the first to tell you he was never crazy about school or academics. It was music that came naturally to the young man. Music was his passion. He was intoxicated with the sound of percussion instruments and hypnotized by the rhythm of the drums. So much so, that Keb Mo started playing the steel drums with a local calypso group called, the Young Calitino Steel Drum band. He played steel drums in that band from eleven-years-old to age nineteen. Their group was popular around the South Los Angeles area and at that young age he began working hotel gigs with them and private parties.

“I started playing the steel drums because a guy in our Compton, California neighborhood built and played the steel drums. Coincidentally, he was probably the only American making steel drums who came from Trinidad and happened to live on my block. He’s not around anymore. He passed away a few years ago. But his name was Chuck Countee. I’m still really good friends with his son Carlos. I got so good that at the age of fourteen I was hired to play my first studio session on steel drums at the Gold Star Recording studios and I even got paid union scale. I was really green, but I was having a lot of fun.”

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