The most famous string band on Sint Maarten is “Tanny and the Boys”, a cultural icon. The group of golden age musicians play festive music rooted in St Maarten. The band was founded in St. Maarten during the late 70´s, named after the former bandleader Nathaniel “Tanny” Davids. The musicians in the band have played music all their lives and is known as the oldest existing band on the island. All members of the band received royal decorations for their musical contribution. They play at house parties, dances, anniversaries and formal receptions throughout the Caribbean, the Netherlands and Germany. The band has entertained various personalities from Lieutenant Governors, Mayors and even for Queen Beatrix of the Dutch Kingdom.
The steel pan originated in Trinidad and is one of the island's most treasured traditions. The sounds of the steel pan arrived on St. Maarten/St. Martin in the mid-20th century. It is influenced by the descendants of African slaves, who had a history of drum-based rhythms. After animal skin and bamboo drums were banned, steel oil drums were used. From the single note drum, other pans were created that could play full scales. Famous steel pan musicians on St. Maarten are Chester York and his sons Neville York and Mighty Dow. The first international movie recorded on St. Maarten is about steel pan music. Titled “The Pan man rhythm of the palms”, it is about the life of steel pan musician Harry Daniel.