The Esso Tripoli Steel Band played for Queen Elizabeth and appeared at Montreal's Expo 67. Liberace heard them there and invited them to tour with him. The band performed with Frank Sinatra and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Then, in 1976, Hugh Borde and his family, which by now included several Tripoli Steel Band members, moved to Ypsilanti. Son Emile Borde created a new incarnation that took the name Trinidad Tripoli Steelband. With guitars and keyboards but always with the sound of steel drums front and center, they were a pretty consistent presence in Ann Arbor dance clubs in the 1980s and early 1990s. The steel drum got along well with its more high-powered nightclubgoing cousins, reggae and soca.
Now the Trinidad Tripoli Steelband plans a "Calypso Christmas" show at the Ark on Thursday, December 15. With all the changes the band has been through, a fun program of Christmas music shouldn't be too tall an order.
[Review published December 2005]