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Shabang! Steel Drum Band: News

Steel Drum classes - June 18, 2009

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Sistas-wit-style Caribbean Dance group join Shabang! - May 7, 2008

The award-winning Caribbean Dance Group, Sistas-wit-style will be appearing with Shabang on a number of collaborations this year. The Sistas are also available for private parties and promotions. See pictures at photo link.

Shabang Honored - February 9, 2008

Harry Best and Shabang were recently honored with rave reviews and a slew of awards by for the song ‘Cool de fire’. On January 26, ‘Cool de Fire’ was awarded the Track of the Day distinction only a couple of days after being entered into a contest in the reggae category.
Garageband reviewers rated the tune a 4.8 out of a possible 5. In addition, the song was voted Best Male Vocals in Reggae, Best Lyrics in Reggae, Best Melody in Reggae, and Best Mood in Reggae, for the week of 4Feb2008.
“Amazing,” was the reaction of Harry Best, Shabang’s leader. “For a song that was recorded almost 10 years ago. Goes to show you, a great tune never gets old.”
‘Cool de fire’ received favorable airplay in the Bay Area and in the Caribbean when it was first released in 1999 on the album Sittin’ in da sun. The tune has been a staple of the group’s public performances but had been overshadowed by subsequent releases on the Gonna Make It album that followed in 2002.
Shabang is getting ready to record its third album this spring. Some of the songs on the new album have never been recorded or performed publicly by the group.
“We’re encouraged by the success of Cool de Fire,” Harry said. “We plan to enter a couple more tunes and see what kind of feedback we get.”
Harry Best and Shabang appear regularly at Tiki Tom’s in Walnut Creek. They also have a number of public performances lined up for the summer of 2008.
Check out Shabang’s Garageband reviews at this link:

Steel Drum Classes / Lessons - January, 2008

Caribbean Steel Drums|Pans Community Classes Lessons

All instruments provided! Learn the magic of making music on Caribbean steel drums. Have fun with the basics of sticking and melody making. Enjoy playing favorites like Yellow Bird, Jamaica Farewell, Lion King, and more. Beginners welcome. You will be jammin’ in no time.

A native of the Caribbean, Harry Best has been one of the top providers of Caribbean steel drum music in the Bay Area and Northern California for more than 20 years.

Info: 510 222 1123

A Caribbean Theme Party - January, 2008

Throwing a party? Why not consider a fun Caribbean theme?

Wherever you find a few people gathering together in the Caribbean, there is a great party - and you are invited to join the fete.

Many of the best parties are centered around festivals, especially carnival- the expression of Caribbean culture which often provides an opportunity to experience and join in the rhythms of the region-reggae, calypso, soca, zouk and salsa, among others.

The things Caribbean people do at carnival are unsurpassed. The costumes are nothing less than a work of class. All of these festivals, regardless of what they're called boast a kaleidoscope of color and offer fun-filled experiences.

Setting the Stage

Your Caribbean party will come to life with Coral Reef colors like: Yellow, Orange, Lime Green, Cerise, Light blue, red, purple, hot pink, raspberry, royal blue, turquoise.

Depending on the style of your group, you can choose to make this a serene, tropical dinner or a hot, hot, hot island party.

Keeping it Low Key

· Decorate with seashells, coral, raffia-tied linen napkins, and natural fabric placemats.
· Make your own seashell napkin rings.
· Purchase clear acrylic napkin rings in your local craft shop. Glue one large or several small seashells in a cluster to each ring.
· Create a centerpiece of tropical fruits in a basket that has seashells, starfish or sand dollars strung or glue gunned to the outside.
· Hire a steel drum band (Harry Best and Shabang!) to create that perfect ambience by playing softly in the background

The Caribbean, like most tourist locales, has been influenced by the cuisines of many visiting cultures. But there are still many unique elements to Caribbean cuisine that set it apart. Some of these include tropical fruits, certain types of seafood such as conch, hot sauces and rum. For this month's menu I have included each of these items.

The Menu (Recipes Below)

Banana Daiquiri Yum! - Need I say more?
Conch Fritters - Plan ahead since you'll probably have to special order the conch.
Jerk Chicken - Jerk is the wonderful Jamaican spice blend.
You can adjust the heat by modifying the amount of chile peppers if anyone in your group is very sensitive to the heat.
Macadamia Crusted Yellowtail with Mango-Papaya Salsa - This recipe blends a number of flavors from the Caribbean.
Caribbean Cucumber Salad - Be careful, this refreshing salad bites back!
Virgin Islands Johnny Bakes - Although usually served as an "eat on the run" food in the Caribbean, this recipe will add to the educational value of your dinner.
Fried Plantains - Plantains often fulfill the starchy position of potatoes on a Caribbean platter.
Coconut Flan - You can't forget to include coconuts in your tasting of the tropics.

Turning Up the Heat with a HOT, HOT, HOT Party

· Decorate with tropical fish or parrot-themed party goods. During the summer season, many stores that sell home accessories feature tropical-themed melamine dinnerware that work great for outdoor entertaining.
· Visit your favorite online or retail party goods store to find palm trees, tropical fish or birds to add to your decor.
· Tell your guests that shoes are optional and cut-off shorts are encouraged.
· Hire a hot steel drum band (Harry Best and Shabang!) to get your friends into the rhythm of the islands, making it difficult for them to stay seated between courses.


· By the third round of rum drinks, someone can begin a conga line.
· After the fifth round of rum drinks, begin the limbo contest.
· Hire someone to braid everyone's hair.

Party Favors

Send your guests home with a small, tropical-colored, gift bag containing a bottle of sunscreen, a small bottle of rum, seashells, and a bottle of Caribbean hot sauce. You can often find Tropical Pepper Co. sauce, in your local supermarket.


3 chile peppers, seeded, diced
2 onions, finely chopped
1-inch piece ginger root, peeled, chopped
4 tablespoons chile paste
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons water
3 pounds chicken

Place the peppers, onions, and ginger in a jar of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the chile paste and oil and blend. Then add the allspice, oregano, and water. Rub this mixture all over the chicken. Marinate overnight. Barbecue chicken parts or roast in a 400 degree oven.

Fried Plantains

4 ripe plantains
oil for frying
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the fryer. Peel the plantains. Thinly slice the plantains, crosswise. Fry the plantains in batches until golden brown, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper

Conch Fritters

2 cups water
1 tbsp. accent
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. seasoned salt
1 tbsp. black pepper
3/4 tbsp. thyme
4-6 cups self-rising flour
3 lbs. conch meat (fresh ground)
1/2 cup ground sweet pepper
1/2 cup ground carrot
1/2 cup ground onion
dash hot pepper sauce

Dipping Sauce
1 cup mayo
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup chilled tomatoes

Mix together first 6 ingredients. Add enough flour to fonn a thick batter, then add the remaining ingredients. Batter should be stiff enough to roll like a meatball. Roll in flour and drop into oil heated to 350 degrees. Cook until brown. Serves 15 People.

Coconut Flan

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 12 custards

1 pint milk
8 ounces coconut milk
8 ounces coconut cream
1 cup toasted coconut
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoon lemon juice
6 whole eggs
3 egg yolks

Combine milk, coconut milk, and coconut cream. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 15 minutes. Take off flame and let cool before adding the toasted coconut. Let toasted coconut infuse for 15 minutes.

Make caramel by adding the sugar and water in medium sauce pot and cooking until it darkens to amber, then whisk in the lemon juice.

Pour the caramel evenly in 4-ounce ramekins and set aside. Strain the milk mixture into a bowl. Add the eggs and yolks and whisk lightly. Fill each ramekin with this mixture, then place ramekin in roasting pan. Create a water bath by filling the roasting pan half way with hot water, and cook covered with foil in a preheated 325-degree oven for 25 minutes.
Serve with a fruit salsa.

Johnny Bake

(10 to 12 cakes)

1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 ounces margarine
1 egg
3 ounces evaporated milk
2 to 4 tablespoons water as needed
1 pinch of salt
Vegetable oil heated for deep-frying

1. Add all of the ingredients to the flour.
2. Mix dough well and roll, with sprinkled flour, into balls that are approximately two and a half inches in diameter.
3. Flatten to a thickness of about half an inch with a rolling pin.
4. Drop each, one at a time into the hot oil and fry until dark golden brown on all sides.
5. Remove from frying pan and blot with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
6. Serve hot or at room temperature.

CARIBBEAN Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
1 small chile pepper, seeded, minced
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced

Slice the cucumbers lengthwise and remove seeds with a melon baller or spoon. Slice each half into 1/2 inch pieces. Place them in a bowl and sprinkle on the salt. Toss gently and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain well.
Place the cucumbers in a serving bowl and add the chilies, lime juice, and garlic. Toss well. Cover and let salad sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Caribbean Rum Punch

There is a little rhyme that goes:

One of sour – pure lime juice
Two of sweet – grenadine syrup
Three of strong, and – rum
Four of weak – ice

To those basic ingredients add several dashes of aromatic bitters, then stir and pour over crushed ice, adding some grated nutmeg on the top. Decorate the glass with chunks of pineapple etc, and place a hibiscus flower at the side to give some tropical charm.

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT - December 21, 2006

PERCUSSION INSTRUMENT REPAIRER needed in Oakland. Repairs tunes & maintains percussion instruments. 2 yrs/exp. Reqd. verifiable job ref.; 8am-4pm M-F; $14.74/hr.


Certifying Officer
Employment & Training Administration
Division of Foreign Labor Certification
700 North Pearl St. Suit 510
Dallas, TX 75201

Christmas CD - December 4, 2005

Our new CD, Steel Drums Island Christmas is now released for the holiday season. It's traditional Christmas music done Caribbean style, as only Shabang can. Check the 'Buy' link!

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