SOLID STEEL: OUR HERITAGE BAND

Steel band hire for events nationwide

Welcome to the world of our professional steel band, Solid Steel – and welcome to… the reliable sound of sunshine!

Please explore the exceptional work we do at events nationwide which include weddings, corporate & other events and music workshops.

We are a steel band and company of steel pan (steel drum) playing musicians available for hire to perform live or virtually at events held in the UK and internationally. Founded by Paul Cherrie in 1985, it is a family band with a history that can be traced back to the Windrush generation of steel band players that first introduced the new, exciting sound of the steel pan to Britain. Our band is unique in its ambition and ability to equally entertain and transport the imagination of its audience to the tranquility of an eco tourist’s paradise or vibrancy of a Caribbean carnival!
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What Our Clients Say

Roy Watson, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Paul’s sister and band came down from Manchester. Charming people – arrived on time, wonderful acoustic steel band. Set up a great atmosphere for our garden party. Really made the day. Did everything it said on the tin ! Totally professional and well recommended.

Mary Jones, Sheffield

Been meaning to email you to say the band were brilliant- THANK YOU. Will come back to you again!

Brockenhurst, Hants

Hope you & the guys are well. Would have got back to you sooner but we’ve just got back from our honeymoon (had a fantastic time). We both wanted to say a massive thanks to you for playing at our wedding. You made it very special & made a great atmosphere. We really enjoyed it & would definitely recommend you. We both had a perfect day. As you know John’s Grandad had a ball haha. Sorry I didn’t manage to come & speak to you personally on the day, Paul,. I so wanted to come over & tell you guys how lovely it was to have you there on our special day. Take care, Bernie Cunningham

Love Charlotte and Ryan, Herts

I’m sorry that this is terribly late but we just wanted to say a massive thank you for playing at our wedding at Tewin Bury Farm, Welwyn on Thurs 29th July. You were AMAZING and everybody was commenting on how fantastic you were. You really made our wedding reception special and the atmosphere magical! Thank you again for all your hard work.

Ian & Magda, Gloucestershire

Thank you to the trio which played at our wedding. They were fantastic and everyone loved it. We would definitely recommend you and book you again.

Sandy Stewart, Manchester

Just wanted to say a BIG THANKS! to Solid Steel, the band played at my engagement party and gave a great performance!, Thanks again for helping make the day a special one!

John & Bernie, New Forest, Dorset

A massive thank you to you guys for playing at our wedding. You were fantastic, everyone had a great time. You made it a very happy & relaxed atmosphere for our drinks reception. Would definitely recommend you. Look forward to booking you again for one of our Anniversaries.

The Shaw family, Cuckfield, West Sussex

Just a quick note to thank you so much for organising the band at our son’s Christening at Cuckfield Golf Course. The music reminded us of our previous Caribbean holidays. With the sun shining and a few rum punches inside us, we were almost back on those glorious golden sandy beaches. Many thanks once again

Trevor Headley, Sunshine Caribbean Catering, Surrey

Paul Cherrie and crew are the most professional band I know and have worked with – no question.

Elaine Lawrie, Guernsey

Thank you so much for your entertaining set in Guernsey. The audience loved the limbo and the crowd participation with the dancers. You were great and made it more than just another corporate event.

Rachel & Aidan Norris, Ipswich

Solid Steel played at our wedding earlier this month in Suffolk, it was an usual choice for the location but it went down so well, all the guests and the staff at the venue loved them, I can’t praise them enough. Hope they go on to have a wonderful and long career

Lorna Smith

Solid Steel played at our wedding and they were amazing, we all loved them. They performed so well and got everybody in the mood for dancing later.

Mr & Mrs Baker, Essex

Solid Steel played at our wedding and they were fantastic ! We’ve had many guests comment on how good they were. I would fully recommend this band.

Rebecca, London

Big thanks to Solid Steel for performing at our UKTV company Christmas party. They were fab and great to find a steel band that plays Christmas Carols so well!

Natalie Hopper, Leicester

I would just like to say a big thank you for making our wedding so Special

WMS, Windsor, Berks

Many thanks for a fantastic evening, you all managed to brighten up a chilly evening. Would have no hesitation in recommending you. Thanks again!

Dave and Ann Collins, Essex

We had the band at our 50th birthday party, just what we wanted- it was superb. Our guests have given a big thumbs up to the band. We also had a Limbo dancer, supplied by Paul from Solid Steel. 5 Star awesome. Thank you.

Nicola and Jeremy Bard, London

Paul and the crew played a fabulous set for our son’s BarMitzvah. They kicked our Caribbean party off with rhythm and swing. Kaniki limboed like a man made of rubber, the kids thought he was amazing. Would definitely use them all again.

Rachel Bliss, London

Solid Steel played at our wedding on Saturday 27th September in London. They created a great party atmosphere with wonderful music and big smiles! Lots of our guests commented on how much they had enjoyed their performance. I would definitely use Solid Steel again.

Susan Maynard, Modbury, Devon

We have just arrived home and wanted to thank you and your great steel band for providing a wonderful day for Nigel’s 60th. He was overwhelmed. We were also lucky to have great weather on the day which gave us all the feeling that we were actually in the Caribbean!! Thanks again.

See Our Band!

Learn more from common FAQs

A ‘steel band’ online is also called a ‘steel drum band’ and a ‘steel pan band’ to distinguish it from what America calls what we would call a ‘steel ring’. But the correct term is ‘steel band’ and it’s best defined as a group of musicians the majority of which play ‘steel pans’ (as named by the Caribbean folk of Trinidad where they were invented) or ‘steel drums’ as some others call them. In the full-time business of providing clients all sorts of steel pan-playing performances and workshop experiences, Solid Steel is available for hire- which renders us ‘professional’. The founder of the band, Paul Cherrie, is a British professional musician of second generation Caribbean (specifically Trinidadian) heritage with 40 years of experience in leading bands and 35 years experience of the administration involved in managing their successful performance.

A community steel band is one which is open to all members of a local community regardless of whether that community has members who are of Caribbean heritage or not and does not require an audition to join. Members of the general public can attend band rehearsals and receive instruction on the skills required to perform specific musical pieces on a specific steel band instrument. The bands are funded by any combination of government grants, private sponsorship and band membership subscriptions. Some also fund themselves by registering as charities, but all of them are duty-bound to serve their own communities with concert performances and workshops that are readily available. Visually, community bands are very ‘branded’ wearing their own band’s name and logo on their t-shirts and instruments. They do wonderful work and the sound of as much as 50 people playing together is a wondrous thing. But their business is not- nor should it be- to play at a private event for a professional fee. Some of Solid Steel’s players over the years have become professional-level players having once played in community steel bands, but they are rare because a community steel band is open to everyone regardless of their musical ability.

Perhaps as many as 90% of clients only want to hear steel bands play instrumentally without vocals. But, on request, Solid Steel does include professional-level vocalists who sing whilst playing steel pans/drums and who carry equipment for that, which these days is often battery-powered and easy to set up- even in outside staging areas. In the UK this service is a rare thing indeed!

No. There are specialist steel pan makers and steel pan tuners who supply and maintain our instruments. We can however supply you with the pan making and pan tuning services we recommend as pan-playing professionals- for prices lower than you would be able to get from direct contact with these experts.

We travel all over the country and abroad, playing fully live to audiences at events with (but mostly without!) a tropical theme like Caribbean nights, private parties, wedding receptions, corporate events, product and project launches etc. in prestigious and not-so-prestigious venues as diverse as hotels, festivals, schools, tv and radio studios, village halls, shopping centres, pubs and restaurants

Yes, we most certainly do. In this much-changed world that we find ourselves in since the start of the pandemic, it would be easy for musicians to get left behind, technologically-speaking. Solid Steel has always embraced changes in technology and endeavoured to make these changes work for us- and stay ahead of our field. The notion of live virtual events is obviously a relatively new one but we believe that there can’t be many steel bands that have done this kind of work at such a high level, having delivered a highly successful livestream performance for Cisco, for instance, on one of their WebEx events.

We’re in high demand as an acoustic (unplugged!) steel band and particularly as a trio. This format was first established in London in the 1950s, so it’s a London thing pretty much in the way that Balti cooking is the invention of Asians in Birmingham.  So our trio is very natural, organic and beautifully undated with a timeless quality only other acoustic groups like string quartets can aspire to. The other reason is that the Solid Steel trio, in particular, uses the best musicians playing the highest quality of steel band instruments to achieve the best sound and achieve the right balance of the key elements of music- melody, harmony, bass and percussion. We then choose suitably melodic material such as traditional calypsos and Caribbean folk music with Latin and popular ‘standards’ fleshing out our repertoire.
We don’t always play as a trio. As much as we love that 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!
Finally, we don’t always play as a band. We also offer solo and duo options that can be either ‘unplugged’ and fully live or performances using backing tracks. These options are best suited to the smallest of events, the smallest of client budgets and for virtual events.

Most traditional steel bands, especially first generation Caribbean ones like The Cherry Pickers will principally play  ‘Caribbean Folk’ music consisting of calypso (the national folk music of Trinidad & Tobago) and Harry Belafonte-styled ‘island music’- along with some old Latin-American ‘standards’. We still love these songs and when hired as a fully-instrumental and unplugged acoustic steel band really enjoy playing these wonderful melodies. But, we also meet the modern demand for our steel band to play the pop and reggae that is familiar to younger audiences and is the most requested these days. Because we offer vocals within the band itself, we’re more suited as a steel band to meet the demand for modern pop covers that might be unrecognisable if played just instrumentally on steel drums.

We have an extensive library of sound files and videos online that feature us performing ‘live’. Not all of them are of the high quality technically that we believe the quality of our playing deserves, but they do fulfill our principle objective of letting you, as a prospective client, know what any particular band line-up is going to sound like at your event bar the acoustic environment of your staging.

Most song requests are fairly easy to play on steel pans- with a few exceptions! We tend to get requests mostly for songs that aren’t Caribbean- like pop songs. As a top professional steel band, we pride ourselves in being able to do this. Especially if you choose one that includes vocals, because not all pop melodies are very recognisable if just played instrumentally on the steel pans. 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. We can send you a list of all of our repertoire, but it is reliant on the line-up you book. Please be aware that as versatile an instrument as the steel pan is, we like to reference its folk roots too, so we will always include some Caribbean songs at your event. Whatever songs we play we’ll always try to play the right material for you at the right volume regardless of how many steel band musicians you have booked.

We can do this if you’ve booked us to play with amplification or to include vocals. If you’ve booked us to play ‘unplugged’ as an all-acoustic steel band, we can bring in extra equipment to accommodate you. We would prefer if you play your own choice of music through our system using your phone, tablet or laptop if the music is only being played at a background level for the ambience of your event. However, if you want recorded music played that’s more prominent or requires more specialised knowledge of Caribbean music, we will be happy to DJ for you!

This will depend on the size of our band and whether it is using any amplification. It is one of life’s great paradoxes that steel bands are often perceived to be much quieter than expected by people who had previously thought they might be too loud for their event and also perceived to be much louder than expected by people who had previously thought they might be too quiet for their event. Sensitive professional musicians like those in Solid Steel who respond to the needs of specific events are often to blame for this!

On average please provide a minimum of 1.5m x 1.5m for each steel pan player playing a single pan- unless the band is socially distancing, of course.

Very few steel bands offer this service, but we do! We use musicians who offer the ‘pan roun’ neck’ method of playing the steel pan – with the single pan suspended on a strap from the neck of each player. This ‘pan roun’ neck’ way of playing is the oldest, most authentic method, but with our heavier steel instruments is physically demanding, so we do place some restrictions on how long we can do this for and over what distance. For short impact performances and parades this kind of performance is a real crowd-pleaser! – and loved by all.

The steel pan is principally a folk instrument in the eyes of many people. So there is an overwhelming demand for our professional Caribbean steel band to look ‘authentic’. For those Europeans who have never been there the stereotypical Caribbean person is dark and wears dreadlocks. But the real Caribbean look isn’t at all like the stereotype. In most of the Caribbean islands and particularly in Trinidad it’s clear that the real Caribbean look is ‘defined’ by a lot of mixed and intermixed ethnicities. Trinidad is a real melting pot with East Indian principally, then African, Mixed, European, Chinese and Syrian in order of prominence- and Solid Steel’s musicians do tend to reflect this. We do look a lot like a cross-section of the very racially-mixed Trinidadian society- some older, some younger, some darker skinned, some lighter skinned. Disproportionately male we would have to 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 the next white musician in our band will be hired for his or her talent and not be discriminated against on the grounds of race. If he or she plays great calypso, Latin, reggae, jazz et al in an authentic style- that’s what should matter most.
Unless we are told otherwise we will assume that you would prefer our band to be dressed suitably for a Caribbean theme, but some guidance from you on the basis of photos on this site will help guide us specifically to any preferred choices. Again, there is another European stereotype in play. Many people like steel bands to wear multi-coloured, loud, short sleeved shirts with figures of palm trees and hula dancers printed on them. 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’re called ‘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. And if their event is Caribbean-themed, all of the guests will be dressed just like us! We really don’t mind doing this and always will if we’re specifically asked to. 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 go for a co-ordinated look with bright, and sometimes fluorescent colours or sometimes we’re asked to wear all white. Any of these looks great on our steel band!

Solid Steel’s founder, Paul Cherrie, is a PGCE qualified teacher and guarantees the highest teaching standards are maintained whether Solid Steel is being hired to run our popular steel band workshops in schools, run a fun workshop at a hen night or contracted to manage steel band team building activities for our corporate clients. Playing the steel pan is a lot of fun and we’re keen to share that experience! People of all ages and abilities always love having a go at hitting a drum, but given the opportunity to play a steel drum they take that enthusiasm up to another level. We can provide the opportunity to be interactive with our range of fun, educational, and inexpensive team building and workshop services.
These services can be tailor-made to suit any group of people regardless of age or ability and indeed can prove to be particularly beneficial to those with disabilities and special needs.

We’re not just a steel band that gets busy in the summer. As a professional band we perform all year round. There are, however, times when we are busier than others and we tend to price our services accordingly.
In the summer we’re naturally very busy with weddings, company barbecues and other events where the ‘sunshine’ sound of steel bands has long been considered as almost mandatory by UK bookers such as wedding coordinators, corporate entertainment organisers, conference entertainment organisers and party planners. We also get a lot of interest in our steel band performing in the Black History month of October . And, of course, in December we’re very busy with Christmas parties and Christmas Carol concerts (we have a demo of Solid Steel exclusively playing Christmas favourites available on request). We also often do some touring with our steel band, performing abroad in the Spring.

We’re available for hire with musicians based mainly in London, but with contacts to associate steel pan players throughout the country, but particularly in Manchester, Brighton, Leeds and Birmingham.This helps us provide a truly UK-wide service whilst reducing our carbon footprint by keeping our car mileage at a minimum. Though we love to drive all over the country playing our super-green (recycled oil drums

Anywhere and everywhere! Because our steel band has associate members throughout the UK, we are able to supply similar high quality steel bands throughout the country at affordable prices. The best illustration of that is to provide you with  a list of all the gigs we can verify that the band performed in 2019:-

Steel Band Workshops (2 tutors) for a Prep School in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey
3-piece steel band for The ICC in Birmingham
3-piece steel band  for the Victory Service Club, Central London
2-piece steel drum duo for John Lewis Partnership in  Milton Keynes,  Buckinghamshire
Steel Pan Soloist for OPEN in Norwich, Norfolk
3-piece steel band (with PA & vocals) at Lee Valley Athletics Centre, London
3-piece steel band for University Of Greenwich in Chatham, Kent
Steel Band Workshops (2 tutors) for Primary School in Calverton, Nottingham
Steel Band Workshops (1 tutor) for Primary School in Bishop’s Stortford, Herts
3-piece steel band for Maximum Media Radio Show, Clerkenwell, City of London
2-piece steel drum duo for Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey
3-piece steel band (incl. vocals) for Cottingham, Yorkshire
2-piece steel drum duo (with PA, vocals & a gazebo) for a Cricket Club in Warnford, Hants
3-piece steel band (incl. strolling) for Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair, London
Steel Band Workshops (1 tutor) for Primary School in Chislehurst, Kent
2-piece steel drum duo for Infants School in NW London
3-piece steel band for a corporate event in Docklands, London
3-piece steel band for Oatlands Park Hotel in Weybridge, Surrey
3-piece steel band for River Cruise in Windsor, Berkshire
3-piece steel band for 21st birthday party in Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Steel Band Workshops (2 tutors) for a Primary School in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk
3-piece steel band for an outdoor venue in Wandsworth, London
3-piece steel band for England vs West Indies at Ageas Bowl, Southampton
3-piece steel band  for wedding in Keswick, Cumbria
3-piece steel band for Wentworth Golf Club, Surrey
3-piece steel band & Limbo Dancers for Bar Mitzvah in Altrincham, Manchester
3-piece steel band for corporate event at London Heathrow Hotel, Hounslow
3-piece steel band for a corporate event at Bankside, Southwark, London
3-piece steel band incl. a PA, vocals & a gazebo for corporate event in Livingston, Scotland
Steel Band Workshops (1 tutor) for Primary School, Crouch End, N. London
Steel Band Workshops (2 tutors) for Primary & Nursery Schools, Hatfield, Herts
3-piece steel band for Community Gardens, Southampton, Hants
4-piece steel band for corporate event in the Gardens of Tower Of London
3-piece steel band for Google Summer Party, HAC, City of London
3-piece steel band & Limbo Dancer for a school in Bagshot, Surrey
3-piece steel band for The Stourport Manor Hotel in Worcestershire
3-piece steel band for a Bingo Hall in NW London
3-piece steel band for a Department Store in Streatham, London
Steel Band Workshops (2 tutors) for a Junior School  in Barnet, London
3-piece steel band for Wokefield Park, Reading, Berkshire
3-piece steel band for corporate event at the Natural History Museum, London
3-piece steel band for International Cricket match at Headingley Stadium, Leeds
3-piece steel band for a Retail Park,  Surrey Quays, London
Solid Steel Acoustic Duo for a pub in Basingstoke, Hampshire
Solid Steel Acoustic Duo for a wedding in Ilkeston, Derbyshire
3-piece steel band for a corporate event, St Paul’s Cathedral, London
Steel Band Workshops (2 tutors) for an Academy in Southampton, Hampshire
3-piece steel band for a corporate event in Chiswick, London
3-piece steel band for a Primary School in Hampstead, London
Solid Steel Electric Trio (incl. vocals & PA) at Chelsea Physic Garden, West London
3-piece steel band on The Electric Barge, Paddington, London
2-piece steel drum duo (with a workshop pan) for a school in Highgate, London
3-piece steel band for a school in Upminster, Essex
2-piece steel band (incl. strolling) for a recording studio party in Chelsea, London
Solid Steel Electric Trio for a pub in Epping,  Essex
3-piece steel band for a wedding in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire
Solid Steel Acoustic Duo for ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Shepherd’s Bush, London
2-piece steel drum duo for a corporate event in Tadley, Hampshire
3-piece steel band for Chepstow Racecourse, Monmouthshire
3-piece steel band for a wedding in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
3-piece steel band for Dreamland Margate, Kent
10-piece steel band for Sir Steve McQueen movie shoot, Notting Hill, London
4-piece steel band for Shrewsbury Flower Show, Shropshire
3-piece steel band for Ticketmaster corporate event, London
Solid Steel Acoustic Duo for a wedding reception at a pub in Addlestone, Surrey
3-piece steel band for a Nursery in Slough, Berkshire
3-piece steel band for Neverland, Fulham, London
Solid Steel Acoustic Duo for Stoll in Fulham, London
3-piece steel band for a wedding in Manchester
2-piece acoustic steel band for a corporate event in Wickford, Essex
2-piece electric steel band for a corporate event in Chelmsford, Essex
2-piece electric steel band for a corporate event in Chigwell, Essex
3-piece steel band for The Verandah in Park Lane, Mayfair, London
Steel Pan Soloist for Destinology in Wilmslow, Cheshire
5-piece steel band for Warner Bros ‘Tom & Jerry’ Movie, Leavesden, Hertfordshire
3-piece steel band for a shopping centre in Walthamstow, London
4-piece electric steel band incl a PA & vocals in Leatherhead, Surrey
2-piece steel drum duo incl vocals & PA for London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Steel Pan Soloist for St. Martin in the Fields Courtyard, Central London
3-piece steel band (incl. a gazebo) for corporate party in Greenwich, London
3-piece steel band for a wedding in Keynsham, Bristol
2-piece steel drum duo for a wedding in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
7-piece steel band for Sir Steve McQueen’s 50th birthday party, Notting Hill, London
Steel Band Workshops (1 tutor) for Primary School in Woolwich, London
Steel Band Workshops (1 tutor) for Primary School in Greenwich, London
Steel Band Workshops (2 tutors) for a Junior School in Ilford, Essex
Steel Pan Soloist for National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham
2-piece steel drum duo for corporate event at Southampton Harbour Hotel, Hants
2-piece steel drum duo for community event at Sadlers Wells Theatre, London
4-piece steel band (incl. female vocals) for Sixt at World Travel Market, ExCel, London
4-piece steel band (incl. drummer & a vocal PA) for a wedding in Witney, Oxfordshire
2-piece steel drum duo for The Atrium, London
Steel Band Workshops (2 tutors) for Private School, Finchley, London
2-piece steel drum duo for a Hospital in Stanmore, Middx.
Steel Pan Soloist for Potters Fields Park, London
3-piece steel band for Costa Coffee in London
3-piece steel band for the Arab Bankers Association in Central London
3-piece steel band for the Aruba Bar & Restaurant in Bournemouth, Dorset

Solid Steel is led by Paul Cherrie, as the flagship act of his management company, ‘Cherry Ripe Management’, which manages many other tropical themed performers that can be hired to complement your event. The most popular fun choices of these are Carnival Dancers and limbo dancers, but there are many more. Please explore some options at www.tropical-ents.co.uk.
We’re very experienced in all things Caribbean, naturally, and will always want to help you. We can even advise you on theming and catering if we’re asked!