Cherry Pickers - Steel Drum Band | Manchester, North West England(no reviews)
Based In: Manchester, North West England
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The Cherry Pickers Steel Band is based in Manchester and is an institution within the UK entertainment industry having already celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. The band is founder Trinidadian Max Cherrie's gift to lovers of steel bands that play traditional Caribbean folk music- and indeed to his own family- as it has developed into a family band over the years.
Max and his elder brother Ralph played with Russ Henderson MBE and Sterling Betancourt MBE in the early fifties and helped them establish the Notting Hill Carnival and the '3-piece steel band' format that eventually became an ... industry standard in London, with Russ' band playing all the biggest 'society' gigs of the day.
The Cherrie brothers’ contribution to the Russ Henderson Steel Band was significant. Ralph brought the first bass pan over from Trinidad that was practical as a gigging instrument. Max took that instrument and developed the technique of playing it with the one hand and shaking a maracas- or in Trinidadian parlance- 'shak-shak' with the other hand. Today there may be as many as twenty bands that go out and perform as a steel trio in and around London. All will have someone playing a bass pan and shaking something with the other hand!
The Cherry Pickers became well established during the sixties and seventies, both at home in the UK and internationally. It developed a sound reputation for excellent musicianship and reliability. Great UK steel band names such as Desmond Bowen, Desmond Mings, Gerald Gobin, Hugo Gunning, Mario Gibbins, Irving 'Ghost' Lynch, Julian 'Bassa' Cadogan, Brian Henderson, Errol Moore, Emanuel 'Eman' Thorpe, Ralph Richardson and Gerald 'Castro' Irish are all very much an important part of the band's history at that time. The band toured a lot and was once a staple part of the entertainment for P&O passengers on their Caribbean cruises when they used to travel out from Southampton- before the arrival of the fly-cruise era that put an end to that.
The band was also championed by Shell in the seventies and represented them at numerous engagements nationwide.
It was around that time that the band became more of a family band. Whilst Ralph had also played with Max in the Cherry Pickers, with both brothers preferring to play the same instrument (the bass pan) and the steel trio format firmly established as an industry standard, the opportunities to play together were somewhat limited and Ralph had his own projects to develop. However, Max's son, Paul, and his nephew, Chris, started to play in the band in the mid-seventies and since then his daughter, Maxine, Ralph's son, Mark, and now Max's granddaughter, Tania, have all played in the band with Mark's son, Elliot, eagerly waiting in the wings for his debut!
In the late eighties, Maxine moved from London to Manchester to study at The Royal Northern College of Music and her father, Max, joined her to establish a new home for the Cherry Pickers in the North West of England where it's brand of steel band- small, all-acoustic playing traditional music- would be unique to the region. It remains unique in the North West to this day and whilst the other pan-playing Cherries in the South still get occasional opportunities to play with the band, it is Max and Maxine who for the most part are carrying the Cherry Pickers torch right now as can be seen from this list of recent and varied engagements:-
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a wedding reception at the Lowry in Manchester
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a trade fayre at the Reebok stadium, Bolton
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for the Cheshire Oaks Shopping Centre
A 6-piece acoustic steel band on a float for the Gay Pride carnival parade in Manchester
A steel duo with vocals for a wedding in Oldham
A 4-piece acoustic steel band for a birthday party in Alderley Edge
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a wedding reception at the Village Hotel in Bury
A 6-piece acoustic steel band for a match at Notts County football club
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for an Age Concern Christmas concert in Manchester
A steel duo for the Ben & Jerry's Festival in Heaton Park, Manchester
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a caravan park in North Wales
A 4-piece acoustic steel band for a company barbecue in Sheffield
A 3-piece steel band for the Barbados Tourist Board at the Midland Hotel, Manchester
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for the Great Manchester Run in Manchester
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a pub in Trafford
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a charity event in Cheshire
A 3-piece steel band for the St. Lucia Tourist Board at Chester Racecourse
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for Notts County Cricket Ground, Nottingham
A 3-piece steel band with vocals for a 21st birthday party in Cheshire
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a Bar Mitzvah in Prestwich
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a wedding in Liverpool
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a company barbecue in The Lake District
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a wedding in Leeds
A 3-piece acoustic steel band for a civil partnership in Manchester
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