Bursting forth from their underground status, Groundation has taken the music world by storm. Capturing the essence and drive of true roots reggae, the internationally renowned band takes the art form to new heights by blending elements of jazz, funk, salsa, fusion and transcendental dub in a progressive amalgam of sound.
Music fans from across the globe have taken note. Over the last few years Groundation has performed for hundreds of thousands of fans around the world, headlining shows in twenty-five countries on six continents, and appearing at some of the world’s largest and most prestigious music festivals, including Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, Australia’s WOMAD, Germany’s Summerjam, and Italy’s Rototom Sunsplash. With an unparalleled international following and the critically acclaimed release of their 2012 CD, Building an Ark, Groundation has cemented its reputation as an international ambassador of American music, clocking tens of millions of YouTube hits in the process. Whether on their masterfully self-produced studio albums or in their now legendary live performances, Groundation’s sound is without category, yet deeply familiar, offering listeners everywhere an access point for musical connection.
“Groundation” alludes to the decades-old communal Rastafarian ceremony of “Grounation,” a ritual based on the meditative powers of music. But Groundation is an idea for today, uniting audiences and using the universal vibration of music to help bring about a positive social evolution.
Groundation’s origins are in the jazz program of California’s Sonoma State University where, in the fall of 1998, Harrison Stafford (guitar/lead vocals), Ryan Newman (bass) and Marcus Urani (keyboards) began their artistic collaboration, developing both their musicianship and their global outlook. It was there that Stafford taught the first California State University accredited class on the History and Culture of Reggae Music.
This core group was joined in 2000 by San Francisco-based jazz trumpeter David Chachere. Since 2008 the rhythm section has been fueled by the fiery drumming of Renobased jazz-fusion specialist Rufus Te Kanawa Haereiti, while Bay Area percussionist Mingo Lewis Jr. (son of Santana and Return to Forever percussionist Mingo Lewis) adds heady Afro-Cuban layers to Groundation’s stout syncopations. Vocalist Kim Pommell, from Kingston, Jamaica, joined the group in 2007, deepening Groundation’s harmonies and taking live shows to new heights. All of them are featured on the group’s new album.
Though they are based in California, Groundation’s music is closely intertwined with the roots of Jamaican reggae. In seven studio albums they’ve collaborated with a who’s who of reggae elders, including Don Carlos, Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace, Pablo Moses, The Congos, and many others. They’ve toured with Steel Pulse, Israel Vibration and California sensations Rebelution to name just a few.
Taking up reggae music’s commitment to the upheaval of our unjust social system, and forwarding this message through a fresh, improvisation-based musical lens, Groundation has become the biggest, most respected American reggae band touring the world today. Come join us and find out why.