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.
Our Gallery shows that beyond the Solid Steel core 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.
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.
Steel Drum BandDisco BandPop Party BandFestival Style BandLive music band
June 6, 2017
"Not sure how the ranking numbers work but Elliott and his uncle from Solid Steel were excellent and I would thoroughly recommend them to anyone - they were so polite and made our party - so thank you so much Jackie"
March 30, 2017
"Fantastic experience dealing with Solid Steel. They created a wonderful atmosphere at 100th birthday party. They were easy to deal with. Professional and personable. Great Music."
June 5, 2016
"Lovely people and great musicians. Arrived just on schedule."