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Robert Symons ~ Tropicana Steel Pan: Press

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Robert Symons-Steel Pan Soloist and Recording Artist from Bermuda.

The story of Robert Symons is interesting and moving. In what was to become a lifetime pattern of diligence and dedication, he set out to teach himself the instruments of his profession at a very early age.

This renowned steel pan soloist and recording artist from the Island of Bermuda currently has three CDs available titled Tropicana Steel Pan Bermuda Vol. 1, 2 & 3.

On these three volumes of easy listening compositions, he works his way through the history of pop music with panache, style and gracefulness.

The recordings feature robert' eclectic style and approach with modern music hits, utilizing all the tools known within the genre...That memorable once in a lifetime cruise you took, someone's special wedding reception, or memories of walking on a pink sandy beach in the Bermuda sun will come to mind.

This music is a one-way ticket to your own personal paradise.
Soothing * relaxing * easy listening popular favorites and classic standards set the perfect tone and ambience to complement Any occasion!
Available at www.cdbaby.com/symons

Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
A man every Bermudian should be proud of
By Tricia Walters
When an American tourist lost her credit card in Hamilton last week, she never dreamt it would be returned to her, but one honest Bermudian proved her wrong.
American tourist, Sandra Keefe, from North Carolina, was boarding a bus to St. George’s late on Wednesday night when she accidentally dropped her credit card at the bus terminal.
When she arrived at the St. George’s Club, she had no idea that back in Hamilton, Robert Symons had found the card lying on the ground and was about to embark on a private mission to find her and return it.
Mrs. Keefe said she had no idea she had even lost the card until Mr. Symons called her. “I have no idea how he found me, but he must have done some good old detective work,” she said.
She said he had left the card at the Police station at the Bermuda International Airport so that she wouldn’t have to travel back to Hamilton to get it.

Mrs. Keefe, who was due to fly home on Saturday, said Bermudians should be proud of people like Mr. Symons. “It’s not everyday, or in any other country, where you would find someone this honest,” she said. “You should be proud!”
A very humble Mr. Symons, a Tropicana steel pan musician who has been volunteering his services at the airport for some eight years, said he just “did the right thing”.
“I saw the card lying there and picked it up. When I saw the expiry date was only next year I knew that just wasn’t right so I thought I’d try and find her,” he said.
He knew she had to be staying in St. George’s because the card had been lying at the St. George’s bus stop and called the St. George’s Club. “She was there. It was amazing luck,” he said.
Mr. Symons said he just wanted Mrs. Keefe to have a “true Bermuda experience” when he decided to go the extra mile to return the card. “She asked me to dinner, but I declined. I just want her to enjoy what’s left of her holiday and go home knowing that Bermuda is a great place,” he said.
Although, laughing, he added that he hoped she would at least buy one of his CDs before leaving.
Mr. Symons accompanied the Bermuda Regiment to Germany recently during the Bremen Music Festival and also represented the Island in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Tricia Walters - The Royal Gazette
As a member of the Bermuda contingent at the 2003 Edinburgh Tattoo, and the lone steel pan soloist, Robert Symons did his homeland proud as he performed before thousands on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle each night for three weeks, and to millions on television.....
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By Nancy Acton
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He speaks softly, moves quietly, and by his own admission is “a very private person”. Yet Robert Symons has more than made his mark on the entertainment scene both as a bass guitarist and, in recent years, as a steel pan player.He has worked with, and for, the rich and famous both here and in many countries abroad, and as a professional musician is both well respected and sought after.
In fact, it could be said that “Robert Symons is everywhere” because his ‘Tropicana Steel Pan~Bermuda’ CDs are regularly played on all local radio stations and in public places island wide and on www.wholewheatradio.com which is a satalite radio station that broadcasts from Alasks to a listening audience world wide and that is in addition to his live performances both in Bermuda and internationally.
So what is it that makes this man and his music so popular?
As always, the answer must be subjective, but certainly the fact that he is a quiet artist who lets his music speak for him; that it is beautifully performed, has universal appeal and sits gentle on the mind, are parts of it.
While both his mother and grandmother played piano, it was not until his grandmother gave him a guitar for Christmas at age nine that Mr. Symons’ own interest in music began. In what was to become a lifetime pattern of diligence and dedication, the boy set about teaching himself the instrument. The more he tried the more he progressed and the better he became.
“It was just something that felt natural to me, so I picked away and it just took,” he says.
With his school days behind him, Mr. Symons entered the commercial world, working in the business community but always music ran like a thread in the background.
“I played guitar in garage bands, and it was kind of cool because nights and weekends I would be with my friends playing music,” he says. “Music was ever-present, but it hadn’t really surfaced.”
One day Mr. Symons decided to break out and form his own group, but it seemed that he always had trouble keeping bass guitarists, so he fixed that by becoming one himself.
“The E, A, G, D strings are the same on both a regular and bass guitar, so it wasn’t too difficult to switch because I didn’t have to worry about the two extra strings the regular guitar has,” he says. “I was playing in a group with Ronnie Lopes and Kevin Fitzsimmons, and Jimmy O’Connor came by after his group disbanded and he was putting together a new band. So, in addition to Ronnie, Kevin and myself, he had Dennis Fox and Phil Flowers’ former guitar player, Leyland Hicks, and we were came out as ‘New Happening Bda’ in 1976. I arranged all the music that we performed including the vocal harmonies. That just came naturally to me.”
The new band was a great success and fulfilled regular gigs in all of Bermuda’s top hotels. In time, however – as he would do several times throughout his long career – Mr. Symons left the Island to grow, both as an individual and artistically.
“I knew there was a world out there and Bermuda was a part of it, but it was not enough,” he says.
He settled in New York, and highlights of the years spent there included working in the orchestra of the Actors Conservatory Theatre, performing all over Westchester county in such productions as ‘Godspell’, and ‘Guys and Dolls’. Because he could not read music, he based his survival on his standard modus operandi: self-help. Spending hours in the public library, he listened to recordings of the music and memorised it perfectly.
Later, Mr. Symons played with a top 40 cover/ road band whose circuit included the US east coast and St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, where he ultimately joined the club band, Zanzibar, playing at the Frenchman’s Reef hotel. When this band went out on its own, the Bermudian joined them and returned to Baltimore, where 12-hour rehearsals filled their days for a month, until their first gig took them back to St. Thomas and the Frenchman’s Reef. For the next three years, Zanzibar’s circuit included not only St. Thomas but also most of the US southern states, and its east coast.
“It was new, different, and I was seeing a new town every day and meeting new people all the time,” Mr. Symons remembers.
In 1983, the Bermudian bassist decided it was time to come home. For a time he “subbed” with Tino at the Hamilton Princess, became part of the Joe Wylie Trio, playing in the back-up band for Greg Thompson’s ‘Follies’. Sunday nights found him playing rock ‘n’ roll first at the White Heron and then at the Ram’s Head and the Wharf Tavern.
After three years with Mr. Wylie, Mr. Symons struck out on his own, forming the trio Robert and Friends, with Milt Robinson and Peter Profit, and playing at the Bamboo Lounge. From time to time the line-up changed because its leader “wanted to play with everybody, and wanted something fresh and new all the time”. Thus it was that many of Bermuda’s best-known musicians, and even some off the cruise ships, added to the mix.
In addition, Mr. Symons played dinner music in the trio ‘Cantabile’ at the Castle Harbour Hotel with Adrian Ridgeway and Shelton Bean, and also in another trio playing in the Windows on the Sound restaurant at the Southampton Princess Hotel with Howard Lee and Kenneth (Tokey) Dill. Occasionally, Mr. Wylie joined them.
“It was cool to wear all those different hats,” Mr. Symons recalls. “I could fit in anywhere. I knew all the tunes and how to play them as they were supposed to be played.”
When in 1990 he got an invitation to play on the Horizon cruise ship he did not hesitate, spending half a year in the Caribbean.
Returning home for the summer, he decided it was time, once more, to spread his wings, so he returned to St. Thomas, ostensibly for six months, but wound up staying seven years, playing in Blackbeard’s nightclub with such “really, really good” headliners as jazz vocalists Ronnie Wells and Rebecca Parris, and Giacomo Gates. Appearing regularly at the famous Barnacle Bills rock and roll club. Performing with Jazz Harpist Micheal O'Shiver in St. Thomas and Puerto Rico and with legendary painists Dorothy Donagan and Dave Bruebeck among other highlights.
In addition, he was the bass player with many steel pan duos.
“There were many of these in St. Thomas and St. John, where I also lived, and there were four gentlemen who really inspired me,” he says. “I figured it was time to make a change. If you want to stay in music you should know at least two instruments, one of which should be the lead instrument. That way you will never be out of work.”
With this reasoning the talented Bermudian borrowed a steel pan from a friend, took it home, and started to “find his way around it”. Just as he had done all those years ago with his first guitar, Mr. Symons set to with a will and for the next six months practised for hours on end.
“I approached it as a job. I would hop on that pan at 8 a.m., break for lunch, play all afternoon, break for dinner, and then practice again until 11 p.m. at night,” he remembers. “There was one guy in particular that fascinated me. He played pop music whereas most guys played calypso. He played tunes I knew so I said, ‘ Maybe I can sequence background music on a sequencer (a machine that music is programmed into). My concept was to have a pan and sequenced music tracks which included all the instruments.”
An unexpected gig on a cruise ship gave Mr. Symons more time to practice with a sequencer, and by the time he came ashore he felt ready to “go public” with his newly-developed talent. Soon he was hired by the Café Sito restaurant in St. Thomas, where his lunchtime music also filtered out into the streets.
One day it attracted a familiar face from Bermuda: his kindergarten teacher, Frances Taylor.
To be sure it was her, Mr. Symons played ‘Bermuda is Another World’ and sure enough it got her attention.
“I went over to her and we talked. It was so nice to see somebody from home that you hadn’t seen for a very long time ,” he says.
After that, it was time to come home because I had played in just about every venue possible in St. Thomas and St. John and had made a good name for myself. I had played with a host of people, and I realised that I had a product which I could bring back to Bermuda and launch.”
Hardly had he returned in 1997 than Mr. Symons was hired by Toby Dillas of the Department of Tourism to play on promotional tours. From there his success as a solo steel pan artist has grown by leaps and bounds, and he is a popular favourite with both private clients and the corporate sector, performing both here and abroad at private functions and conferences. He has also travelled extensively playing on cruise ships.
Talented as he is, however, Mr. Symons does not sit at home waiting for the phone to ring. Instead, he believes in self-promotion.
“Like anywhere else in the world, you have to market yourself. I still have to get up in the morning and make it happen. The advantage here is that it is a small island and people get to know you.”
In addition to word-of-mouth, the steel pan player’s three CDs, ‘Tropicana Steel Pan Bermuda’, Vols. I, II, lll, also boost his busy career because they are played island and world wide. He has also been a volunteer performer at the Bermuda Airport departure lounge.
“Thinking outside the box, it is not always about money, the benefits are numerous,” he says. “I have been paid in so many other ways, the absolute highlight of which was being invited to participate in last year’s Edinburgh Military Tattoo.”
Even now, Mr. Symons still pinches himself to believe that he really was in Scotland, in the spotlight as a solo artist, proudly representing the Island he loves, and seen by millions around the world on television.
Nor will he ever forget the special welcome Bermuda laid on for himself, the Bermuda Regiment Band and the gombeys, after their aircraft landed.
“Everybody went out of their way to show us just how appreciative they were, and how proud they were that we went out there and did something so special.”
A letter from Brigadier Jameson, chief executive and producer of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, is also cherished. He described the solo an player’s performance over three weeks as “faultless”, and commended him for his “professionalism and commitment as a ‘main player’ at the most successful 2003 Tattoo”.
Certainly, Mr. Symons will never forget his birthday on August 16 in Edinburgh. His fellow Bermudians surprised him with a cake and sang and played ‘Happy Birthday’ to him before the night’s performance, and as it ended, with the fireworks going off behind Edinburgh Castle, he thought with wonder, “This is my birthday and I am in Scotland for the very first time, and in this international mix.”
As for the future, Robert Symons is thinking of moving abroad again for a while, hopefully to fulfil his dream of becoming a headliner act himself.
“The only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves, so I guess the sky is the limit,” he says.
Asked what advice he would give to aspiring young musicians, he says: “Find your own base. When you can say, ‘I know’, people pick up on that. When you play with conviction people pick up on that. Don’t let anybody push you around or take advantage of you. You learn that as you go along. It’s not for anybody else, it’s for you. Don’t give up.”
Mr. Symons website is www.tropicanasteelpan.com
Nancy Acton - The Royal Gazette

Best of the Best to represent Bermuda Bermuda hopes to make 100,000 new friends at a world-famous German music festival to be held at the end of this month. The Bermuda Regiment Band & Corps of Drums, the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band, steel pan soloist Robert Symons and the Bermuda National Gombey Troupe have been invited to participate in the Bremen International Music Festival 2005, otherwise known as Musikschau der Nationen in Bremen, Germany with all transportation expenses paid. The Festival is known as one of the most prominent indoor brass band music events in Europe. Since it began in 1965, dancers, singers and folklore groups from more than 70 nations have performed before an audience counting more than 963,000 spectators. A total of 56 Bermudians will leave the Island for Germany on January 25. Over a period of eight days they will perform in seven shows. In each show they will get ten to 15 minutes of performance time and will also participate along with other countries in the festival?s opening and closing ceremonies. "We are really going there to make friends for Bermuda," said Bermuda Regiment Director of Music Major Barrett Dill. "At those shows they are expecting well over 100,000 people and of course all the television rights after that. Bermuda should be very well on the map. He said this was a fine way to bring attention to the 40th anniversary of the Bermuda Regiment and 500th anniversary of Bermudas discovery by Juan de Bermudez. "It is important that we show all of the diverse cultures of Bermuda," he said. "We are hoping that from the international point of view potential visitors will say Bermuda has been around for 500 years, it is about time we visited that island". Major Dill said it was heartening that all transportation expenses were being paid by the festival organisers. "It is a tribute to the show that they had invited us to the show with all-expenses paid," he said. "This is the first time in our history that an organisation that has asked us to perform has actually said that they would be responsible for transportation.  Normally, it is up to the Bermuda side to come up with the financing. We were a little bit wary about that, but it was under the guise that there may be other expenses that we hadn't anticipated when we get there." During the festival there will be a Bermuda booth with lots of brochures and giveaways to promote Bermuda. The Bermuda National Gombey Troupe also promises to be a popular attraction. "The gombeys are always a huge draw", said Major Dill. They are going to go around the hall performing and handing out fliers on Bermuda. The captain of the Bermuda National Gombey Troupe, Andre Place, said it promised to be a good experience for his gombeys. I know it will be cold over there, he said with a laugh. Gombeys in the Bermuda National Gombey Troupe were selected from different gombey troupes all over the island. They represent the best of the best. We are definitely ready to go, he said. David Frith, Pipe Major of the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band was also excited to be going, particularly since the band celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The Bermuda Islands Pipe Band were a popular sight at the Nova Scotia Tattoo held a few years ago. "In 2003 when the Regiment went to the Edinburgh Tattoo, we were not included, which I think was a big mistake on behalf of the people from the tattoo", said Mr. Frith. He said sometimes the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band players felt their accomplishments were overshadowed by the activities of larger bands. "In Nova Scotia, I thought the response to our performances was brilliant, he said. We not only performed dressed in our formal attire, but we also did our own little ninety minute show dressed in Bermuda shorts. We played Calypso on the bagpipes. That went over quite well because there is no other pipe band in the world that does calypso."He said songs like "All Day, All Night Mary Ann" were always a novelty when played on the bagpipes. Mr. Frith - who has been with the band since he was 13 admitted that it is becoming harder to get fresh blood into the band. "It is a little bit more difficult now to get new members than it use to be, because all the kids in school have other outlets and musical instruments are rampant throughout the schools, he said. When I was young this wasn't so. Bermudians who were unable to travel to Germany for this musical event will be able to see it on television thanks to the efforts of Panatel VDS Ltd. Multimedia who will be recording the Bermudian performances. "We started this initiative when my husband Reimar and I had the pleasure of viewing the Musikchau Der Nationen in Germany, and thought how great it would be if Bermuda could be represented one year," said Wendy Fiedler of Panatel. We recommended the participation of the Bermuda Regiment Band to the organiser, Rolf Reimers. Mr. Reimers is the head of the German War Graves Commission. Money raised from the Festival goes to maintain war graves all over Europe. "We sent him video footage of the band performing at Beat the Retreat ceremonies on Front Street that was shot by Panatel, and he was excited and issued a formal invitation for Bermuda to participate in 2004", said Mrs. Fiedler. Unfortunately, the band was already committed to Edinburgh in 2003, and 2004 was too soon, so the invitation was accepted to perform in January 2005.

Tricia Walters - The Royal Gazette

The History of the Steel Pan The steelpan was born in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad around the 1930's. African descendants, as a form of musical expression, started pounding out rhythms and harmonies on various pieces of metal. Traditional African skin drums were forbidden in Trinidad at this time and the tamboo bamboo bands were soon outlawed so they were searching for innovative ways of making music to accompany the people's songs and dances at carnival time. Many people believe that the steelpan is the only acoustic musical instrument invented in the 20th century, however Herman Winterhoff, of the Leedy Manufacturing Company, invented the early vibraphone around 1920 and the J.C. Deagan company also came out with a similar instrument the "vibraharp+" a few years later. The steelpan is in my opinion however, the most significant acoustic musical instrument invented in the 20th century and possibly the only "family" of instruments invented in the 20th century.  

 

The steel drum or pan is a unique instrument, and one of the most recently invented. It is a skillfully hammered 55 gallon oil drum which has been carefully tuned to produce tones. The steel drum carries a full chromatic range of notes and can produce just about any type of music you can think of. Around 1946 Winston ‘Simon’ Blake using a small oil drum developed a 14 note pan that caused a sensation when he played it during the first carnival held in Trinidad after the celebration was banned at the beginning of World War Two. The instrument was quickly copied by other musicians and Trinidad’s rhythm drum bands evolved into music bands. Ellie Mannette one of Simon’s friends began using discarded 55 gallon oil drums which he hammered concave, trimmed and heated to make the metal stronger and more able to retain notes in tune, and then hammered the underside to create convex notes on the concave sufface. By 1947, he had perfected a drum with two octaves of a diatonic scale and pans with chromatic scales were soon developed. In 1951 the Trinidad All Percussion Steel Orchestra (TAPSO) a group of 10 all star pan men that included both Simon and Manette was sent to represent Trinidad at the Festival of Britain in London. The group not only played Caribbean music but classical selections as well. The event put pan on the world map and the group toured England and France and played on BBC radio and television. Today, steel bands have from four to ten players. Some are orchestras with more than 300 pans spanning five octaves from single tenor or soprano pans of 24 to 27 chromatic notes to sets of nine bass pans of three notes each played by a single person. Steel bands play music from calypso to jazz to Beatles and Bach. A good chromed tenor pan costs around $750 and a full orchestra can cost more than $60,000. Most of the large steel band orchestras have corporate sponsors. Today there are more than 190 steel bands in Trinidad and over 800 steel bands world wide. The Esso Steel Band came to Bermuda in the 1950’s and were considered to be one of the top tourist attractions on the island. They thrilled audiences with their steel pan calypso music and selected classical pieces beautifully arranged for steel pan. It blended exquisitly the culture of the Caribbean, Africa and Europe.

Although Bermuda has virtually no equivalent at all to Caribbean music, it does not lack in poets who can write good unique local words that good local musicians could put to music if they were given some incentives to write music truly from Bermuda in every way.

The History of the Steel Pan

Marching to the Pinnacle Members of the Bermuda Regiment Band and Corps of Drums, the National Gombey Troupe and Steel Pan Soloist Robert Symons show their stuff at Warwick Camp prior to departing for Scotland where they will be among 1,000 participants in the famed Edinburgh Tattoo. Steel pan soloist Robert Symons is an accomplished professional musician who is as used to playing internationally as he is here at home. He regularly performs for the Department of Tourism, corporate business and private audiences, and his long career includes working for a variety of top cruise lines. In addition, he has toured the US, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, the South Pacific, the Caribbean and South America. He is also a recording artist Like his fellow countrymen, Mr. Symons is eagerly looking forward to Edinburgh. "I have never been part of anything of this magnitude, but I am going to go with an open mind. I can't even begin to imagine what it is going to be like, but I know it is a great opportunity. I will also be representing Bermuda, and I wouldn't want to pass that up." In fact, Mr. Symons says he didn't think twice about accepting when Major Dill contacted him about participating. "He told me that Brigadier Jameson (Chief Executive/Producer of the Edinburgh Tattoo) had heard me the previous year at the airport departure lounge and asked if I would be available. I didn't hesitate for a second." Mr. Symons will be taking his distinctive custom-made, 1960s style steel pan with him, and will join his fellow Bermudians in fulfilling a number of pre-and post-Tattoo engagements. 

Tricia Walters - The Royal Gazette

ROBERT HAS PERFORMED IN: The United States * Canada * South America * The Caribbean * Mexico * The South Pacific * Hawaii * Scotland * Germany *.

ROBERT'S PERFORMING HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

*CRUISE SHIPS*

PRINCESS: Crown, Regal, Grand, Pacific, Golden RESIDENSEA: The World NCL: Pearl, Crown, Majesty. CELEBRITY: Horizon, Solstice, Equinox, Eclipse, Summit. Reflection. CARNIVAL: Fascination HOLLAND AMERICA: Noordam, Veendam OCEANIA: Regatta, Insignia, Sirena AZAMARA: Journey, Quest SEVEN SEAS: Mariner, Navigator 

*CORPORATE*

RIMS Conference San Diego...Reception hosted by B.I.B.A ASHRM Conference San Diego....Reception hosted by Endurance Re ASHRM Conference Chicago....Reception hosted by Endurance Re Bermuda Tourism Overseas Marketing Seminars....Ambient Steel Pan Entertainment ~ 1997 ~ ongoing

*FESTIVALS AND CONCERTS*

Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2003, Edinburgh, Scotland....

Guest Steel Pan Soloist. Bremen Music Festival 2005, Bremen, Germany.....

Guest Steel Pan Soloist. Bermuda Music Festival 2006.....

Steel Pan Soloist Opening Act. Atlantic Music Festival 2009 Halifax NS....

Guest Steel Pan Soloist L.F. Wade International Airport ~ US Departures.....

Ambient Steel Pan Entertainment ~ 1997 ~ Ongoing

As a Bass Guitarist, Robert has played performed in numerous venues, some highlights include:

*BERMUDA* "The New Happening Bda" A high energy 6 piece Top 40 Cabaret Show Band on the Bermuda Hotel Circuit: Elbow Beach Southampton Princess Hamilton Princess Sonesta Beach Castle Harbour Grotto Bay Featuring: Jimmy O'Connor Trumpet/Vocals Ronnie lopes Drums/Vocals Leland Hicks Guitar/Vocals Dennis Fox Piano, Synth/Vocals Kevin Fitzsimmons Trumpet/Vocals Robert Symons Bass Guitar/Vocals "The Joe Wylie Trio" House band at Windows on the Sound Dining Room, Fairmont Southampton Princess Hotel, Bermuda Featuring: Joe Wylie Piano Howard Lee Drums Robert Symons Bass Guitar "Greg Thompson's Follies" Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, Bermuda Live Production shows: "Dream Girls' "Broadway Memories" "The Cotton Club" Backed up by: Joe Wylie Piano Shelton Bean Drums Robert Symons Bass Guitar "Cantable" House band in the Windsor Room at The Castle Harbour Hotel, Bermuda Featuring: Adrian Ridgeway Piano Shelton Bean Drums Robert Symons Bass Guitar "Robert & Friends" House Band , Bamboo Lounge,The Oasis Club, Hamilton, Bermuda directed by Robert Symons Featuring a host of local and foreign guest musicians and entertainers including Milt Robinson, Peter Profitt, Brian Butterfield, Ray Onley, Steve Dupres, Tom Ray, Randy Lambert, Valerio Cantori, Oscar Resident Bass Player Bermuda Rock 'n Roll venues: "The White Heron" "The Rams Head" "The Wharf Tavern" Featuring Headliners: Mike Barry from the US, Niel Lewis from Wales, Rod McKenzie from the UK and a host of musicians and entertainers; Robert Lee, Carl Pitman, Wayne Terry, Hurricane Floyd, Tony Brenon, Doc Simons, Steve Evans, Howard Willett to name a few.... "The Bermuda Strollers"... US Tours

*CARIBBEAN* Resident Bass Player: "Blackbeards Castle Hotel", St. Thomas, USVI Featuring Headliner Jazz Greats: Ronnie Wells, Ron Elliston, Rebecca Parriss Giacomo Gates, Nat Turner to name a few..... The Famous "Barnacle Bills" rock and roll club, St. Thomas USVI....regular performer. "Secret Harbor Hotel", St. Thomas USVI. Secret Harbour Hotel hosted the "Jazz Cruise Brunch" for many famous jazz musicians and entertainers that were performing on board the cruise ship "Norway." performing with such legends as Jazz pianists Dorothy Donagan and Dave Brubeck. Performed as a duo with renowned Jazz Harpist, Michael O'Shiver on the St. Thomas and Puerto Rico Hotel Circuit "Samba Combo" A samba/jazz/pop combo apperaing at Caneel Bay Resort, The Hyatt Resort, Coral Bay, Festivals in St. John USVI Featuring: Rich Greengold, Mark Wallace, Eddie Bruce, Aldis, Prince, Robert Symons "Tropicana" A pop/jazz duo appearing at Shipwreck Landing, Coral bay, St. John USVI Featuring: Gregg Jones ( Awsome Guitarist) and Robert Symons "All Stars" Bass Guitarist in Steel Pan Duos Featuring Steel Panists: Burt Schneider, Alonzo Haynes, Dusty Crooke, Carl Freeman to name a few on the St. Thomas and St. John USVI Hotel and Restaurant circuit.

*UNITED STATES* "Crazy Rhythm" A 5 piece high energy Top 40 / Rock US NY based East Coast Hotel Circuit touring band Featuring: Bob Jarvis Drums Jeff Finstein Keys Stan & Donna Vocals Robert Symons Bass Guitar "Zanzibar" A 5 piece high energy Top 40 /R&B/Soft Rock US Baltimore based East Coast and USVI Hotel circuit touring band Featuring: John Clark Lead Vocals Jeff Fell Drums/Vocals Mark Guttenplan Multi Keys/Vocals John Scallabrini Guitar/Vocals Robert Symons Bass Guitar/ Vocals

FOR MORE, Click "HIStory" on the navigation bar

 


 

**** ROBERT'S RECORDED MUSIC ****

Robert's music is easily recognizable ... a one-way ticket to your own personal paradise, featuring lovely relaxing soothing rhythms that help to make the steel pan as warm as a tropical island breeze...." Tropicana Steel Pan ~ Bermuda" Vol 1, 2, and 3 arranged, performed and produced by Robert click "purchase " on the navigation bar

Distribution, Purchase, World Wide Shipping available from:

The Music Box, Reid Street, Hamilton, Bermuda (ph) 441 295 4839 (e) musicboxbda@logic.bm

 


 

MUSIC REVIEWS

An excellent cd, and an excellent artist. I purchased all of his cds, and I highly recommend each of them. This artist is a must have for any collection.......Brad It was wonderful meeting Robert in person during a recent trip to Bermuda, watching him play the steel drums in front of me, then returning home to Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania and listening again and again to this masterful musician and his very relaxing Tropicana CD selections. Fantastic! ...Larry Bowen.

 


 

Hi Robert, I bought an album from you in the tourist mall near where the cruise ships pull in about a year ago. I was making a trans-Atlantic crossing and stopped to have an enjoyable chat with you for maybe ten minutes. I remember taking an instant like to you and the sounds you were producing. I just wanted you to know how much I have enjoyed your music back here in Utah where we live. There is a control, a presence, an attitude of composure and gentleness about you that continues to knock me over. Your touch on the steel drum conveys so much - your genuineness, your gentleness and your sincerity-of-soul are so obvious in the music you create. Thanks again for doing what you do and being what you are. I wish you the best. .....David Bond

(Dec 3, 2013)


Robert Symons has put out a new release through CD Baby!

We here at CD Baby have got pretty good memories. And we just remembered that at some point in the not-too-distant past you purchased music by Robert Symons.

We commend your impeccable musical taste and wanted to let you know that Robert Symons has a brand new release out now. It just went live on our website for sale. And we just had to let you know FIRST since you're one of the few hip and wise people who "knew them way back when." 

It is called I Just Called to Say I Love You.

We wanted to make sure you were the first to know. If this release is being sold as a physical CD, it could become a hot commodity very quickly! So if you find it sold out already by the time you visit our site, don't fret! You can still place an order with your credit card. You will not be charged up front. When we receive more stock, we'll ship the item to you and charge your card at that point.

To purchase this music now or to hear some sound samples first, click here: http://cdbaby.com/cd/robertsymons

Hope you enjoy it, and thanks for supporting independent music!

 

CdBaby (Sep 13, 2016)

    Bob O'Leary

Top notch CD - a "must have" for anyone who enjoys island music!
This CD is first class all the way. After hearing Vol. 1 in a Hamilton gift store I brought it home and then needed more! Now I must order Vol. II. I would love to hear him play in person.

    Diane Seaberg

ROBERT SYMONS TROPICANA STEEL PAN BERMUDA
I HAVE VOL. 1, VOL. 2 AND VOL. 3 LOVE ALL THREE, I PLAYED THEM A LOT. IN YOUR RECORD YOU CAN SEE I BEEN ORDERING REPLACEMENT. I LOVE THE CD'S AND SHARE THEM WITH OTHERS WHEN THEY COME OVER TO VISIT ME. EVER SINCE WE WENT TO ST. GEORGE, BERMUDA I BEEN HOOK ON ROBERT SYMONS CD'S. MY HUSBAND AND I ARE GOING BACK TO ST. GEORGE, BERMUDA THE END OFF AUGUST 2008 ON A CRUISE THIS IS OUR FOURTH TRIP.

    Larry Bowin

Tropicana Steel Pan is so relaxing to listen to...fabulous !
It was wonderful meeting Robert in person during a recent trip to Bermuda, watching him play the steel drums in front of me, then returning home to Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania and listening again and again to this masterful musician and his very relaxing Tropicana CD selections. Fantastic!

    Don Rubin

 
Having visited Bermuda many times during my service in the Royal Canadian Navy, I heard pan music before, but not like this. Mr. Symons has captured the essence of all of the songs and the melod;y comes through without a lot of backup "noise" which makes his discs easy listening. It is very soothing and being in a nursing home I find it most relaxing---but at times would like to get up and dance with the nurses! Many thanks for such beautiful music Mr. Symons.

    Holly M. Dow

Another magnificant musical work of art.
The songs on this CD are favorites of mine. I'm patiently awaiting the next one.

    Harry Frahm

Soothing sound
I have listened to Robert and his soothing randitions of my favorite music a lot on a cruiseship where he entertained. I bought this album to have his songs for myself, anytime. Will buy more and recommend his relaxing style being so different from other steel drum artists.

    C Hausler

Robert Symons Tropicana Steel Pan Vol 3
This CD was exactly what we have been looking for. Beautiful, soothing, relaxing, but lively enough to give everyone at the pool party the feeling that they were in the islands drifting with the music. Great selections on the CD.

    Brad

Cream of the crop in any collection!
An excellent cd, and an excellent artist. I purchased all of his cds, and I highly recommend each of them. 
This artist is a must have for any collection!

    BILL BARNEY

JUST AS GOOD AS THE FIRST !!
INCREDIBLE MUSIC.... RELAXING, SENSUAL, AND ALL-AROUND SUPER !!

    Sharon Matthews

The music is awesome - relaxing and fun.
We got Volume 1 in Bermuda, and ordered this one as soon as we got back. The music is awesome, so relaxing to listen to. It just puts you in a great mood. You find yourself swaying to the rhythm. Can't wait for Volume 3.

    George Garrity

Excellent Stuff!
Symons was a great find on a recent Bermuda trip. Couldn't locate the CD anywhere until I discovered CD Baby - then I had it in less than a week. Loved it and just ordered Volume III.

    Suzie

Great trip souvenir !
We just returned home from a Celebrity cruise and heard Robert Symons onboard the Eclipse. His music was memorable enough that I downloaded his CD before unpacking once we got home! Thanks Robert for the great music during our Western Caribbean travels and thanks Celebrity Cruises for recognizing and showcasing his talent! -Suzie and James

    Brad

Robert Symons music is awesome!
An excellent cd, and an excellent artist. I purchased all of his cds, and I highly recommend each of them. 
This artist is a must have for any collection!

    Kimberly Moreland

Excellent CD! It's a must have for your summer parties!
This CD has great songs on it. We will play it at every party!

    bill barney

ABSOLUTELY TERIFFIC !!
I HEARD ROBERT PLAY LIVE IN BERMUDA AND WAS CAPTIVATED BY HIS MUSIC. PURCHASED BOTH CD'S AND CAN'T WAIT FOR NEW ONES!!

    Al Kish, River Bend Webmaster

Great relaxing music.
Just returned from a cruise to Bermuda and have put up a web page to mark the event. Would like to have one of John's songs as background music so that others could also enjoy his music. Web page at: http://www.always-online.com/riverbend2/Bermuda.htm

    April

Great CD!1
Great CD!! It took me back to our honeymoon in Bermuda!! Loved it!!

    Al Brooks

Very relaxing music, wonderful sounding and well played
I have listened to many steel drum band and Robert Symon's band music is very relaxing. The steel drum seems to be in the back ground of the music and is not over powering the other instruments being used. I am looking forward to Volume #3

    Peter Pouchet

 
Very well put together CD. All selections suitable for dancing or just relaxing and listening. It places you in an upbeat, happy, Caribbean state of mind.

    Michael F


A phenominal compilation of pleasant music arranged with an island beat. We've volume One. Robert's steel drum mix sets the mood for relaxation, rekindles memories of Bermuda, and stirs within a sense to return to the pink sand beaches of Bermuda with songs as Oh Island In The Sun, and Bermuda Is Another World. It is a delight to hear favorites like Wind Beneath My Wings and Unchained Melody by the steel pan master musician. 

Do pick yourself up one or both of his CD's. You won't regret it. 

Michael Fedenyszen, 
Boston



    Josh
can't get enough

i was in bermuda, robert played at our hotel, i was strapped for cash what with the increased bermudian prices compared to the continental usa......but i still reached deep into the funds and bought his cd.......even got it autographed [which for an extra fee might be a nice extra to this site, or even better, free personalization] 
i lent it to someone i thought i could trust, and i will never see that cd again, and so i am ordering another one, i can't get enough of robert's music, its great :) 
nice work 
keep it up


    Karl
Beautiful island music!

I loved the CD so much I bought five extra copies - to give away as gifts. It evoked wonderful memories of my trip to the Caribbean!


    rebecca campagnone
great cd!!

i am enjoying it and feel like i am in Bermuda!!

 

CD REVIEWS (Sep 13, 2016)

 


March 28, 2016

Letter of Professional Reference for Mr. Robert Symons

Dear Sir or Madam,

It is our pleasure to supply a letter of professional reference for Mr. Symons.

Robert has played weekly for our Taste of Bermuda event through the winter months. Featuring and showcasing great Bermuda tastes and products, as well as creating vibrancy and great local sounds in front of both the Frog and Onion and the Bermuda Craft Market, Robert has played professionally and fulfilled all terms of our contract. The sound of steel pan is a perfect background to what we were trying to achieve, and Robert is one of the best at his craft.

Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned.

Most Sincerely,

Philip Barnett, President

Island Restaurant Group Ltd
email: pbarnett@irg.bm