Miami Heat fans ready with pots and pans to bring the noise at NBA Finals Game 5

MIAMI, Fla. -- With the Miami Heat on the cusp of winning the NBA Finals on Thursday, it might be wise to order takeout for dinner.

You want to have clean pots and pans for the celebration, of course.

Taking to the streets to bang on cookware has been a staple of most South Florida public celebrations, particularly in Little Havana and Hialeah.

Standing on corners and hanging out from car windows, the make-shift percussionists were out there by the hundreds when the Florida Marlins won the World Series in 2003, and back out again in 2006 when the Miami Heat won the championships.

Most recently, they were out there on the streets earlier this year when the Heat clinched the Eastern Confrence Finals.

The impromptu kitchen utensil celebrations in South Florida are not strictly for sports.

In 2006, when a false rumor spread that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro had died, a number of pots and pans concertos spontaneously erupted in front of La Carreta Restaurant in Westchester, one of several unofficial go-to places to celebrate.

Following Tuesday's victory, there weren't any pots or pans sightings in the likely places. But some among the celebrating crowd outside of the American Airlines Arena said that on Thursday the tin pan drumming will be a sure thing if the Miami Heat win.

"Oh! It's totally a Miami thing," said Heat fan Betty Lauredo, 29, at the arena on Tuesday. "Get your casuelas ready!"

Steve Roitstein, founder of Afro-Cuban funk group Palo! and a Miami-Dade College music business professor, said it's a Miami thing because it's also a Cuban thing. He likened the South Florida tradition to parades in Cuba where residents normally join the musical procession with pots and pans.

"I think it has to do with it being free and loud," he said. "You just go grab your abuela's pans and go make music."

Roitstein's group will be performing at Hoy Como Ayer in Little Havana on Thursday, where the Heat game will also be playing in the background. The Calle Ocho stretch where the establishment is located is also one of the places where people usually go to celebrate.

"If they win, we might have some extra beats and banging," Roitstein said. "If they lose, we'll probably be playing a lot of slow songs."

Pots and pans were more famously used throughout Latin America during the 1960s and 1970s during government protests. Earlier this year, protesters in Montreal and in Argentina used the utensils to draw attention.

Jeff Lee, owner of Resurrection Drums in Hollywood, warns not to go out willy nilly on Thursday with your pots and pans. After all, legions of Miami Heat haters outside of South Florida will be watching and will be quick to judge, he said.

"I would start with a basic clave," Lee said. "Then you can jump into something like a 6/8 Afro-Cuban groove to keep everyone dancing all night."

How to make a casuela sizzle

Jeff Lee, owner of Resurrection Drums in Hollywood, suggests players:

Use a large pot with handles for a higher pitch.

Best to use a pot with a light bottom for better sound.

Use an ice cream scooper as a mallet instead of a spoon.

Break out a cheese grater and a butter knife for an added guiro sound.


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