At the core of the band is the Cherrie family who originate from Trinidad- the home of the steel band- and who have been involved in playing steel pans professionally in Britain since the early 1950s.
Our steel band was founded by me, 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 as was his brother, Ralph, whose son Mark is one of the most highly respected pan players in Britain and who, of course, plays with Solid Steel too.
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!
With very few exceptions the musicians who play with Solid Steel remain friends with us and make themselves available to return and revive their happy memories playing with us!
Although I can’t name-check everyone there have been some very regular and talented full-time players with the band that deserve a special mention. Mark Cherrie, Michael Bailey and Dennis Davis were amongst those who first played with the band in the Eighties. Francis Hylton, David Morris and Miguel Barradas joined us in the Nineties and Tom Alleyne and Samuel Dubois have been working with the band since the Noughties.
In the last couple of years, I’ve injected some new blood into the band with the fresh involvement of the talents of Adam Ouissellat, Ruel Richardson and Mike Searl whilst Tania Cherrie and Elliot Cherrie have also been brought in both as players and administrators.
Working with agencies & event organisers
For many years the source of our work was primarily through entertainment agencies. We played 3 month foreign residencies in 5 star hotels in Damascus, Djibouti and Monte Carlo whilst also playing for domestic one-nighters in the UK.
We were an agency’s dream in that they knew we were more marketable than some of the older bands, reliable, competent and honest. Their commission was assured!
The advent of the internet of course sounded the death knell for many of those agencies as artistes felt compelled to have websites in their own right and have clients book them directly.
We have mixed feelings about this as a band. Many of the agencies who were very good to us are no longer around and the self-promotion of the social media age does have a somewhat hollow ring to it sometimes- especially when one remembers how many knowledgeable entertainment agents used to champion your band!
Although we still work with a couple of agencies we work far more now with some great event organizing companies- although the majority of our clients do come to us directly.
Where we’ve played in the UK
Here is what we’ve provided to some great venues in the last couple of years:
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a wedding in Stoke, Staffordshire
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a University staff barbecue in Cambridge, Cambs
Four 3-piece acoustic steel bands for race meetings at Sandown Park racecourse in Esher, Surrey
A 3-drum steel band for a multi-cultural awareness event in Milton Keynes, Bucks
A 3-piece steel band with vocals for a wedding in Loughton, Essex
A 4-piece funky steel band with vocals for a birthday party in Derby, Derbyshire A 3-piece traditional steel band for a wedding in Hasemere, Surrey
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a wedding in Didsbury, Manchester, Lancs
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a wedding in Maidstone, Kent
A 3-drum band for a Bar Mitzvah in St Albans, Herts
A 3-drum traditional steel band for wedding receptions in Chelsea, London
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a corporate fun day in Cardiff, Wales
A 4-piece acoustic steel band for a company barbecue in Mayfair, London
A 3-pan unplugged steel band for a wedding in Oxted, Surrey
A 3-piece unplugged steel band for London Zoo, Regents Park, London
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a champagne reception in Notting Hill, London
A 3-drum steel band for a pub in Harrow, Middlesex
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a charity event in Chester, Cheshire
A 3 steel pan traditional steel band for a Thames Cruise from Windsor, Berks
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a Caribbean Association in Milton Keynes, Bucks
Two steel band workshops for schools in Brent, London
A 3-drum traditional steel band for Lord’s Cricket Ground in London
A 3-piece steel band with vocals for a 21st birthday party in Alderley Edge, Cheshire
A 4-pan acoustic steel band for a corporate awards event in Brentwood, Essex
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a pub barbecue in Winchester, Hampshire
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for the Church of Scientology in Tunbridge Wells, Kent
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a wedding for Exeter in Devon
A 7-piece steel combo with vocals for a barbecue at an army barracks in Camberley, Surrey
A 5-drum acoustic steel band for a wedding in Bristol, Avon
A 3-piece steel band with vocals for a 40th birthday party in Sandbanks, Dorset
A 7-piece steel combo with vocals for the Horniman festival in London
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a wedding in St Ives, Cornwall
A 4-piece acoustic steel band for a Government Office in Southampton, Hampshire
A 3-drum steel band for a wedding in Crosby, Liverpool, Lancs
A 6-piece acoustic steel band for a company barbecue in London, Middx
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a wedding in Henley-On-Thames, Oxford
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a wedding in Ascot, Berkshire
A 5-drum acoustic steel band for a wedding in Leeds, Yorkshire
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a civil partnership in Wilmslow, Manchester, Lancs
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a wedding in Gerrards Cross, Bucks
A 2-facilitator steel band team building exercise in Egham, Surrey
Of course, if we take it back far enough we have already performed extensively throughout the UK. In London, we’ve played in just about every borough including Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Camden, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith, Fulham, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, Westminster, Greater London, Barking and Dagenham, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton and Waltham Forest.
We’ve played in other cities and towns such as Aberdeen, Aldershot, Andover, Ascot, Aylesbury, Banbury, Barnstable, Bath, Basingstoke, Bedford, Birmingham, Bodmin, Bournemouth, Bracknell, Bradford, Bray, Brecon, Bridgwater, Brighton, Bristol, Burton-Upon-Trent, Cambridge, Cardiff, Carmarthen, Cheltenham, Chester, Chichester, Cork, Coventry, Crawley, Crowthorne Derby, Dorchester, Dublin, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Eton, Exeter, Farnborough, Farnham, Glasgow, Gloucester, Gosport, Guildford, Harlow, Havant, Hemel Hempstead, Henley on Thames, High Wycombe, Hungerford, Kidderminster, Leamington Spa, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Lincoln, Liverpool, London, Luton, Maidenhead, Maidstone, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newark, Newbury, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northampton, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Oxford, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Redditch, Redruth, Reigate, Rugby, Salisbury, Sandhurst, Shrewsbury, Slough, Southampton, St Albans, Stafford, Stevenage, Stoke-On-Trent, Sheffield, Sunderland, Sunningdale, Sunninghill, Swansea, Swindon, Tamworth, Taunton, Telford, Thame, Thatcham, Truro, Tunbridge Wells, Wantage, Watford, Winchester, Windsor, Wolverhampton, Yeovil, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
We’ve performed in every county including Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cheshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, East Anglia, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Kent, Monmouth, Middlesex, Norfolk, Northumberland, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Wiltshire and Yorkshire, throughout England, Wales, Scotland & Ireland.