‘Steel Impressions’ family band spotlights Caribbean culture

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Long Island’s own Steel Impressions Steel Band is putting a spotlight on Caribbean culture through music.

The band says they are the only family steel band on Long Island.

O.V. Solomon came to the U.S. from Guyana and taught each of his children to play at a young age.

"It's very important to continue,” said Solomon. “I love the fact that they have new ideas and modern moves to add to help to keep this instrument alive."

MORE: Diverse Long Island

The group plays drums made by O.V.'s brother and they are managed by wife and mother Angela Agard, who hails from St. Lucia.

"This is a family that's doing their best to hold everything together and the way that we do that is through the music through the culture," says Agard.

Solomon’s daughter Tunisia writes songs and performs with the band, all while preparing for her last year in college.

"It runs in my blood,” she said. “To play the steel pan is the way I communicate with my family. It's the way we connect and it’s so natural. I just have to keep doing it."

The steel pan has its roots in Trinidad and Tobago. After World War II, people began to experiment with oil barrels to make drums.

"There are more than six kinds of steelpans and each can take a week to make," says Solomon. "It starts with a 55-gallon barrel and a very large hammer.”

Steel Impressions brings soca, calypso and reggae to audiences all over Long Island. The group also offer lessons to those eager to learn how to play the steel pan.

MORE INFORMATION: Steel Impressions Steel Band

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