Solid Steel

We’re Solid Steel and we’re a modern professional UK-based steel band or ‘steel drum band’ as our American cousins mistakenly call it! We’re available for hire with musicians based mainly in London, but with contacts to associate steel pan players throughout the country.

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We are a small family of musicians that spans 3 generations. We regard ourselves as good musicians above all else and most of us have a second instrument we also play at a professional level.

What also distinguishes us from other steel bands is that we can offer vocals and other instrumentation to play the diverse repertoire that you can see here in our playlist.

My father’s band

Our steel band was founded by myself, Paul Cherrie, in 1986, after an ‘apprenticeship’ served with my father Max’s band, ‘The Cherry Pickers’, which is now based in Manchester and which I now also manage.

Max was one of the first of his generation to play pan professionally in this country. I think I may be the first second generation British-born musician to run a professional steel band, but please don’t sue me if you know differently!

The band’s personnel has changed in subtle ways over the years with musicians taking time off for reasons as diverse as recording commitments, tours with pop bands, and parenthood! Through all this time, it has always been my policy to employ the best musicians.

The best musicians

Miguel Barradas, Mark Cherrie, Michael Bailey, Francis Hylton, David Morris, Dennis Davis and Tom Alleyne have all played extensively with the band over the years and they all share very important qualities for me. They’re musicians first and pan players second. They all play other instruments as well as pan and they all understand that to be a good musician is as much about listening as it is about playing!

Playing in a small steel band like Solid Steel is a great outlet for people with this level of ability. It’s not something I particularly regret but I never had any experience of playing in a steel ‘orchestra’. It always seemed to me that with the big bands you get to play the arranger’s music, but with the small band you get to express yourself more and improvise.

Solid Steel’s founder – Paul Cherrie
Larger steel bands – or combos

Now whereas the Cherry Pickers was- and fundamentally still is- a fully acoustic steel trio Solid Steel’s musicians do like to show off their other instruments if it’s appropriate. As much as I love the acoustic steel trio line-up, it’s not always suitable. There are several steel bands advertised for hire in London and throughout the UK, but no other steel band and only a few function bands and a handful of wedding bands would offer greater flexibility in terms of size and format that Solid Steel offers. We try and give our clients the Caribbean steel band that they want and freely advise them of the best options to take based on our vast experience in the business.

Dancing

Sometimes we are booked to play sessions for dancing. There have been many times in the past when we’ve played as a steel trio, especially with vocals, when our audiences have danced to us. However, this is far from guaranteed and younger audiences especially find steel band trios too ‘light’ rhythmically and often prefer us to work with a bass guitar and a drummer in a bigger steel band (if ‘steel band’ is still the right name for you- we prefer ‘steel combo’!) with a heavier rhythm. We would always advise our clients to take this option if their budget is suited to it. Then we’re sure to pack the dance floor!

Solid Steel
Requests & vocals

We also play requests and are particularly suited to this because we are one of very few steel bands that offer professional standard vocals as well. Of course, this is far more doable if we have prior knowledge of your requests before your event. Unless we don’t know your tune and don’t consider it suitable to play on future engagements, we will freely add it to our already extensive repertoire. You can see just how extensive that is on our Song Playlist page . What we play best from this playlist is somewhat reliant on the line-up you book. However, there is one thing you can be sure of. We’ll always try to play the right material for you at the right volume whether there are 3 or 12 members in the band at your event.

Traditional steel band

As a fully-instrumental and unplugged acoustic steel band the melodies that we play need to be long and strong and our own traditional Caribbean music fits the bill. We like to include a lot of traditional Caribbean material, much of it ‘calypso’ which is the national folk music of Trinidad & Tobago, some (but not all!) of which will be familiar to the average UK audience.
So, in this mode we are an outstanding Caribbean Folk band. As such we fit in perfectly with any venue or event that’s broadly themed ‘World Music’.

Solid Steel
Modern steel band

Our musicians are modern and progressive and listen to all styles of music. As our playlist shows we like to cover some modern Pop and Latin American standards, but there’s a lot of great songs that don’t have particularly strong melodies yet have catchy ‘hooks’ and are very strong rhythmically. We like to play this music too, but we prefer to play it as a steel combo with a bass guitar and a drummer and with vocals included.
So we can sing, we can perform in various sizes and guises, organise steel band workshops (see below) and generally on request mould performances that expand upon the traditional calypso and Latin styles of music that form the core of a traditional steel band music repertoire.

21st Century Pop Covers

Happy – Pharell Williams

Rude – Magic!

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Stay With Me – Sam Smith

Get Lucky – Daft Punk

All About That Bass – Megan Trainor

Rather Be – Clean Bandit

If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys

Like Glue – Sean Paul

Make You Feel My Love – Adele/Bob Dylan

Hey Ya – OutKast

Price Tag – Jessie J

Rolling In The Deep – Adele

Smile – Lily Allen

I’m Yours. – Jason Mraz

Someone Like You – Adele

Somewhere Only We Know – Keane

Turn Me On – Kevin Lyttle

Umbrella – Rihanna

Valerie – Amy Winehouse
Calypso, Soca & Island Songs

Bahia Girl – David Rudder

Ban Moin En Ti Bo – Traditional

Brown Girl In The Ring – Traditional/Boney M

Brown Skin Gal – Traditional

Dollar Whine – Colin Lucas

Don’t Stop The Carnival – Alan Price

Hot, Hot, Hot – Arrow

Island In The Sun – Harry Belafonte/Traditional

Jamaica Farewell – Harry Belafonte/Traditional

Linstead Market – Traditional

Mango Walk – Traditional

Obeah Wedding – Mighty Sparrow

Old Lady Walk A Mile … – Lord Kitchener

Sloop John B – Traditional/The Beach Boys

Sly Mongoose – Traditional

St. Thomas – Sonny Rollins

Sugar Bum Bum – Lord Kitchener

Under The Sea – Disney

Who Let the Dogs Out? – Anslem Douglas

Yellow Bird – Harry Belafonte/Traditional

 

Reggae & Ska

Englishman In New York – Sting

Help Me Make It Through… – Gladys Knight/John Holt

I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash

I Shot The Sheriff – Bob Marley & The Wailers

Israelites – Desmond Dekker

Jammin’ – Bob Marley & The Wailers

Johnny Too Bad – Jimmy Cliff

Kingston Town – UB40

Monkey Man – Toots & The Maytals

Montego Bay – Freddie Notes & The Rudies

Mysterious Girl – Peter Andre

No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley & The Wailers

One Love – Bob Marley & The Wailers

Red Red Wine – UB40

Rivers of Babylon – Boney M

Stir It Up – Bob Marley & The Wailers

Sweat (A La La La La Long) – Inner Circle

Three Little Birds – Bob Marley & The Wailers

Tide Is High, The – Blondie

Waiting ln Vain – Bob Marley & The Wailers

 

Cuban & Brazilian Styles

Blue Bossa – Kenny Dorham

Brazil (Aquarela do Brasil) – Ary Barroso

Cachita – Rafael Hernández

Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club

Girl From Ipanema – Astrud Gilberto

Guantanamera – José Fernández

La Bamba – Ritchie Valens/Los Lobos

Lambada – Kaoma

Meditation – Antonio Carlos Jobim

Moliendo Café – Hugo Blanco

Never On Sunday – Melina Mercouri/Nana Mou…

Oye Como Va – Tito Puente/Santana

Peanut Vendor (El Manisero) – Moises Simons

Piel Canela – Bobby Capó

Quizás, Quizás, Quizás – Osvaldo Farrés

Samba De Orfeu – Luiz Bonfá

Sunny – Bobby Hebb

Sway – Dean Martin

Sweet And Gentle – Alan Dale

Tristeza – Astrud Gilberto

 

Pop & Soul Covers

Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers/Michael Jackson

And I Love Her – The Beatles

Breezin’ – George Benson

Dancing Queen – Abba

Englishman In New York – Sting

Fields Of Gold – Sting/Eva Cassidy

Here, There And Everywhere – The Beatles

Imagine – John Lennon

Killing Me Softly – Roberta Flack/Fugees

Lately – Stevie Wonder

Let It Be – The Beatles

Lovely Day – Bill Withers

My Girl – The Temptations

Spanish Harlem* – The Drifters/Aretha Franklin

Sunny – Bobby Hebb

The Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel

What’s Goin’ On – Marvin Gaye

Yesterday – The Beatles

You Are The Sunshine Of …. – Stevie Wonder

You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon

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Office 01942 323636. Julie 07896 084136. Roger 07707 899322