Harry Best is an accomplished steeldrum player, songwriter and recording artist from the Caribbean island of St.Lucia.
Harry's music has been featured in many of the Carnival Festivals of the islands over the years. Most noted are hit songs he wrote with the calypsonian Arrow entitled "Lolay Lolai" and "Come Girl".Harry is also the leader of a Caribbean reggae Band, SHABANG, which performs regularly on the west coast of the United States.
Harry Best sits in the center of a musical triangle with Bob Marley, Otis Redding and Winston "Shadow" Bailey at the points. At any given moment he can be the romantic, the rebel or the mystic; or a combination of the three.
Born to a family of musicians on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean, Harry's earliest influences were the deep-rooted Conga drumming of one uncle and the 'Nat Cole' imitative crooning of another. Harry grew up on a steady diet of regional calypsos mixed with regular rations of North American pop music from artists such as Sam Cooke, Fats Domino and Chubby Checker.
When Harry migrated to the U.S. in the late 1960s, he discovered Otis Redding and was touched for life by the late balladeer. Living two blocks from the house where Sly and the Family stone rehearsed in San Francisco, Harry soon found another influence. In those early days Harry kept his rhythmic skills sharp playing in local steeldrum bands. Ocasionally he would venture at song-writing and surprisingly found success with enjoyable ease. Meanwhile, two up-and-coming artists from the Caribbean would make a double impression on Harry: the rebel Rastafarian sounds of Bob Marley and the incantational rantings of a shamanistic calypsonian who called himself the 'Shadow'.
Harry's song-writing skills eventually caught the attention of the popular Caribbean star 'Arrow' who featured a tune by Harry, "Lolay Lolai" on his 1995 "Classics" album. The tune was a smash hit all over the Caribbean and in Caribbean communities in Europe and North America. Harry repeated the feat again in 1998 with a saucy dancehall hit called "Come Girl" on Arrow's "Turbulence" album that year.
In 1999 Harry released his own CD album, "Sittin' in da sun", comprised of mostly instrumental steeldrum tunes. He wrote three of the eight tracks, including a reggae tune "Cool de Fire" which won rave reviews in the Caribbean and in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, that year Harry signed an agreement with DSM Producers of New York for release of another of his tunes, a dance piece called "Rock Me".
A full-time musician, Harry hones his tunes on his band Shabang at gigs throughout the west coast.