We are a professional Steel Drum Band based in Portland, ME. Although we formed recently in February 2015, we have been playing together in Blue Hill, ME since high school, some of even longer, under the direction of Carl Chase and Nigel Chase. Our repertoire, a diverse blend from traditional Calypso to contemporary Pop, is perfect for any occasion, from community fundraisers to private weddings.
In order to understand Sister Steel, it is important to understand the cultural phenomonen in which we emerged. It all started more than fifty years ago, when Carl Chase heard a recording of steel drums and was hooked by the unique sound. Fifteen years later, while sailing in the Caribbean he saw his first live performance. After returning to Maine from his next trip, and upon recieving Pete Seeger's book Steel Drums: How to Make Them and Play Them, he decided to create his own pans. To pursue this goal, he traveled to Trinidad where he met and studied under master tuner Roland Harrigin. He then started the first area band in 1975, the Atlantic Clarion Steel Band.
His original band still exists today alongside a myriad of programming for all ages. Overtime, Carl has not only become an accomplished manufacterer and tuner of the instrument and master arranger of music, he has also built great respect for himself and Maine-based steel drum music within Trinidad and Tobago and the international pan community. He is single handedly responsible for the introduction and popularization of the instrument in Maine, and with the help of his son Nigel, also an accomplished arranger, player and educator, the legacy will be long lived.
Our name pays homage to the kinship we feel with these Blue Hill bands we came up through: Rhythm Rockets, Planet Pan and Flash in the Pans. We see ourselves as their sister band and are proud of where we came from. We were formed in a manner that fully respects the tradition of the instrument and try to pay tribute with a commitment to high quality musical arrangements and a knowledge, respect and appreciation for the history and culture where the instrument emerged from.
We are the next generation of New England steel band enthusiasts and we have been honored to not only grow up with a direct link to Trinidad and Tobago, but to learn from the best outside of the Caribbean. We are passionate about, and believe in, the light-hearted, community-building spirit steel pan has brought to New England and are excited and motivated to strengthen this tradition in Portland and throughout Southern Maine.