CAISO, stands for Caribbean American International Steel Orchestra, we are the hottest steeldrum band in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. CAISO’s music draws from the calypso, soca, reggae, and latin jazz influences. The band has been in existence for over 30 years and has performed throughout the DMV all the way to Kosovo. CAISO will make you feel like you are on an island resort in the Caribbean, and we’re all about that – enjoy our interview with CAISO below!
Entertwine: Could you tell us about the band’s origination; how did the members of the band meet and begin writing music and performing together? Could you tell us about some of the more significant lineup changes that have taken place?
Our founders are David Zephrine and Michael George, initial members respectfully include Sam Brown, Godfrey Clark, Oswin Finley, Carlyle Oliver, Broderick Robinson and Roger Grenidge. David and Michael have been pan partners and friends for 50 years; the duo migrated to the US in 1969 to attend school and pursue music career.
All are former members of the Trinidad & Tobago Steel Band of Washington, DC and had performed previously with well-known groups in Trinidad and the West Indies such as BWIA Sunjets which was formerly known as WestSide Symphony Steel Orchestra. WestSide Steel Orchestra was an offspring of PanAm NorthStars Steel Orchestra. The BWIA Sunjets traveled all over the world to perform and proudly represented Trinidad & Tobago. The band performed at Radio City Music Hall with the Rockettes in 1965 as well as toured Canada and Sweden.
With a band that has been in existence for over 30 years, most initial member have retired and new members have come into the band. Orin Richards is our newest member, he is a keyboardist, bassist, and vocalist for parties.
How would you describe your sound? Which genres and styles are you blending?
Festive music featuring the Steelpan instrument in Calypso, Reggae and Latin Jazz genres. I call our concert style “Beach pop” party music covering the caribbean hits mixing instrumental and vocals for island style fun. Another mode we have is our background blend aka “BB” style relaxing vibes, background music good for ambiance and social networking.
Our one of a kind ensemble infuses steelpan music inspired by Steelpan artists such as Len “Boogsie” Sharp, Leon “Smooth” Edwards, Andy Narrell as well as legends like Bob Marley, Mighty Sparrow, Jimmy Buffet, and other popular artists.
What does the music scene of Washington DC and the surrounding areas represent to you? Tell us about where you’ve played within the scene; you’ve recently performed on Fox 5 News and at DC JazzFest, right?
The group first gained its fan base by performing at the Pier One Club in Annapolis and the Ocean Club in Ocean City, MD. Throughout the years CAISO has performed at many of the top venues in the DMV such as Merriweather Post Pavilion, Wolf Trap, Smithsonian Institute, Congressional Country Club and Embassy Row in DC just to name a few. Other notable performances include appearances on network television stations as seen on Fox 5 DC morning show
Could you tell us about some of the most exciting or interesting live performances the band has been a part of within the United States? You also have played overseas for American troops stationed in Kosovo, correct?
We want the thank the people of ProSports MVP for setting up the shows in Kosovo for American and International peacekeepers. It is an honor to surf the entire DMV music scene and perform from here to Kosovo! Here’s a brief video we made from trip.
What does 2015 hold in store for CAISO? Do you have any upcoming performances?
We are Steelpan trailblazers adding more flavor to our jam sessions this year by introducing “play steelpan with the band” which is an onsite contest to win a chance to play a song with the band during concert style shows, no music experience necessary.
Upcoming performances: Tiki Bar Solomons Island season opener April , DC Jazzfest’s “Jazz in the hood” showcase a Gallery O on H in June, Kentmorr Beach in July.