Panorama Gold

Merry Tones Steel Orchestra

2018 Tune of choice:  Vex  | arranger:  Kendall Lewis


The Merry Tones Steel Orchestra

The Merry Tones Steel Orchestra has consistently been one of the top twenty steelbands in Trinidad and Tobago over the last three decades. Born in the early nineteen-forties in the lush rural valley of Diego Martin in Northwest Trinidad, the band operates out of its own premises at No.1 Bagatelle Road, Greenhill Village, our permanent headquarters since 1986. The spacious Merry Tones Pan Complex was erected largely through our own efforts, on land leased to us by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. A veritable hub of activity in the community, our Pan Complex is often a venue for dance parties, wedding receptions, political meetings, educational classes, and  religious crusades.

The Merry Tones has the proud distinction of being one of the five surviving Steel Orchestras which took the stage at the inaugural Panorama Competition in 1963. The past 30 years of this, the world’s premier Steelband competition, has seen us cop four victories, 1995, 2004, 2005 and 2006 all in the Small Band category. These victories are in addition to commendable performances at Steelband Music Festivals over the many years as well.

In addition to the above achievements in local competitions, Merry Tones has also performed creditably overseas.  In 1980, nine members from the band were part of the first full steelband to visit Sweden for the Carnival Festivities in May of that year. 1997 saw two members of that original touring party, as part of a three-man team returning to Sweden to do workshops and lecture sessions. .

In 1992, we visited the US as guests of The World Music Institute, where we appeared at the Symphony Space in Manhattan and at Brooklyn College. Closer to home we have in recent years visited and performed in our sister island Tobago and St Kitts.

In May, 2004, after an observation of the then Steelband climate in Trinidad and Tobago, a decision was taken to form a single pan unit within Merry Tones. Thus was born the Icewater Pan Ensemble. The name “Icewater” was one of many early monikers of the present Merry Tones Steel Orchestra, during the 1950s, thus we found it quite an appropriate name for its “sister” band.

To date, Icewater has had a string of very successful performances at locations throughout Trinidad and Tobago. From the various marinas in Chaguaramas to the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, to entertaining Heads of Sate on regular occasions Icewater’s impressive list of satisfied clients just keeps on growing. This list also includes commendable performances overseas where 2006 Icewater was contracted for Anguilla's Carnival Celebration and in 2008 we visited Panama as for the 3rd Annual Afro Panamanian Festival.

As the premier ‘back-in-times’ Single Pan steel orchestra in Trinidad and Tobago, we have prepared an exceptional repertoire of musical selections, consisting largely of memorable oldies which suits the tastes of the young and the not-so-young as well. To experience Ice Water is to take a refreshing drink in the memories of the music of yesteryear, an experience you are guaranteed to never forget.

The Merry Tones Steel Orchestra remains proud of its legacy of service to the Diego Martin community and Trinidad and Tobago and also its commitment to the fostering of appreciation for the Steelband Movement worldwide.

Source:  Merry Tones Steel Orchestra

Panorama Performance

Join When Steel Talks