Fancy adding a Caribbean flavour to your wedding, party or corporate event? Find out everything you need to know about Steel Bands in this blog post from the team at Alive Network!
What Is A Steel Band And What Do They Do?
It's the sound of the Caribbean, but what exactly is a steel band, what do they play and why should you book one for your event?
What Music Will My Steel Band Play?
Steel bands play the music of the Caribbean islands like Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad, including lilting Calypso, soca, and iconic Jamaican reggae. Many take classic pop and rock tunes and add a dash of tropical rhythm, for a joyous sound that gets everyone's hips swaying! The TNT Steel Combo, while also performing 21st century pop covers, mix Latin music into their sets such as the bolero, cha cha and merengue, making their music almost irresistible to dance to. For alternative Christmas entertainment you can turn to The Island Boys Steel Band to play some traditional Christmas songs with a Caribbean twist! All three groups play 'island' music, such as the Harry Belfonte hits, "Island in the Sun" and "Yellow Bird".
How Many Players Are There In A Steel Band?
Steel drum bands often consist of just a handful of players, but the sound they produce is very intricate and remarkably varied. For intimate spaces and small rooms, a steel pan duo or trio are perfect as gentle background music for weddings, drinks receptions, barbeques, garden parties and in-store product promotions. For larger spaces and larger groups, such as fetes, festivals and product launches, most bands add a drummer and bass pan or bass guitar player, to create those infectious Caribbean beats.
What Instruments Do Steel Bands Play?
The distinctive sound of a steel band is down to the unusual instrument band members play, the steel pan. Originally from the tropical islands of Trinidad and Tobago, the steel pan is also known as a steel drum, as the instrument is traditionally made from a 55 gallon oil drum! Sheet metal is carefully beaten into a curved bowl with panels tuned to a particular note. Players (known as pannists) hit the panels with rubber tipped sticks, sometimes two in each hand. The resulting sound is as bright and cheerful as a Caribbean smile!
What Events Are Best For Steel Bands?
A steel pan band is perfect for any occasion requiring an injection of musical sunshine and a laid back vibe. Entertain delegates or exhibition visitors with the sounds of a steel band at a beach-style cocktail bar. Delight guests and family in the bbq or buffet queue with mouthwateringly tasty tunes from the spiritual home of jerk chicken and pina coladas! Give your fete a festival vibe with a Caribbean coconut shy, or a beach theme bouncy castle, and live music from your steel band. And get everyone up and dancing (and maybe trying a touch of limbo) at any party, anytime of year - loud shirts optional!
Unlike many other live bands, steel drum bands are great entertainment for childrens' parties. Tiny kids and toddlers instinctively love the gentle, unamplified sound of the steel pans, and always want to jig about while the band is playing. Pre-teens enjoy the energy of the music, and often are desperate to have a go (as are their parents!), but do check if your band offer this option - not all do.
How Do I Book A Steel Band?
With Alive Network, it's quick and easy to book a steel band. Simply click on the Steel Bands button in the left column, browse the Profiles of our top UK steel bands, and listen to their demo tracks. You can also check the band's availability and get an instant online quote, or call us on 01782 740839 for expert help and advice.