A Caribbean looking steel band for London
In the eyes of many people the steel pan is principally a folk instrument. Consequently, there is an overwhelming demand for our professional Caribbean steel band to look ‘authentic’.
The stereotypical Caribbean person is dark and wears dreadlocks for many foreigners who have never been to that part of the world. But the real Caribbean look isn’t at all like the stereotype!
With minimal research you’ll find that throughout the Caribbean, and particularly in Trinidad, the typical Caribbean look is more diverse. Because with that mix of ethnicities, it’s more af an interracial look!
Trinidad society is a real melting pot that includes East Indian, African, Mixed, European, Chinese and Syrian ethnicities. And Solid Steel’s musicians reflect this, by and large. We do look a lot like a cross-section of Trinidadian society’s racial mix. Some may be older, some younger, some with darker and some with lighter skins. Disproportionately male, we must admit- but we’re working on that!
At this moment, all of our players have some element of African ethnicity. But there are some outstanding white steel pan players in the UK and we will hire the next white musician in our band on the grounds of his or her talent and not discriminate against him or her on the grounds of race. If he or she plays great calypso, Latin, reggae, jazz et al in an authentic style on a steel pan or any other of our band’s instruments – that’s what should matter most.
A professional looking steel band
In terms of costume, unless we are told otherwise, we will assume that you would prefer our band to dress suitably for a Caribbean theme. Some guidance from you on the basis of photos on this site, however, will help guide us specifically to any choices you prefer.
Again, there is another European stereotype in play. Many people like steel bands to wear multi-coloured, loud, short sleeved shirts with prints that include figures of palm trees and hula dancers. But no-one walks down a street anywhere in the Caribbean wearing a Hawaiian-style shirt! Oh, hang on, I just remembered. Some of them do. And the locals have a name for them too. They call them ‘tourists’.
So when people ask us to dress ‘authentically’, what they want 99% of the time is for us to dress like tourists who are holidaying in the Caribbean. However, if their event has a Caribbean-theme, all of the guests will then have a similar costume to us! We really don’t mind doing this and always will if you specifically request this.
Left to our own devices, though, we often wear something that looks ‘stagey’, but also references our cultural heritage. Trinidad is the true home of steel band music, but there’s no national dress to speak of. So we like to take it back a little further to West Africa.
Other than this option, we tend to coordinate our look with bright, and sometimes fluorescent colours or sometimes clients ask us to wear all white. We guarantee any of these options will look great on us when you hire our steel band!