It is said that if you don’t know your past, you don’t know your future; well Groundation knows its past, and they’re stepping into the future. While capturing the essence of true Roots Reggae, internationally acclaimed Groundation aims to take the art of genre-bending to new heights by blending elements of both Jazz/Funk fusion and transcendental Dub in their progressive amalgam of sound.
The name ‘Groundation’ came from the Rastafarian ceremony of the same name. Its goal: using the vibration of music to get everyone on the same wavelength in order to forward positive consciousness.
Groundation was founded in the fall of 1998 when three long time musicians Marcus Urani (organ/keys/piano), Ryan Newman (bass) and Harrison Stafford (guitar/lead vocals) came together in the jazz program of California’s Sonoma State University to form the core of Groundation’s fusion of style and sound.
They were later joined in 2000 by San Francisco based Jazz trumpeter David Chachere and the North Bay’s Kelsey Howard on trombone. Groundation saxophonist Jason Robinson has gone on to become the head of the Jazz program at UC San Diego. Drummer Paul Spina (Claypool’s Flying Frog Brigage, Will Bernard’s Mother Bug) was replaced in 2008 with Reno-based Jazz/Fusion specialist Tekanawa Haereiti. Bay area percussionist Mingo Lewis Jr. (son of Santana percussionist Mingo Lewis) brings Latin and African infused rhythms, adding heady layers to Groundation’s already stout syncopations. Jamaicans Kim Pommell and Stephanie Wallace, joining the group in 2007 and 2008 respectively, have helped take Groundation’s harmonies and live shows to new heights and are featured lead vocalists on the new studio album.
Though Groundation has played in 30 countries on 4 continents in just the last few years (headlining huge multi-genre festivals in Israel, France, Germany, Italy, Morocco and Brazil to name but a few), 2009 marks a turning point in their development here at home. On their wildly successful coast-to-coast 2008 summer tour, worlds collided as Groundation’s internationally seasoned high-energy show style met the American heartland, culminating in an historic tour. Once again, Groundation heads across America at a truly crucial time in our country’s history with shows from coast to coast starting in the Fall.
2009 also will see the release of the long awaited full length studio album “Here I Am.” Following the release of “Rockamovya,” the first Groundation side project featuring Grammy-nominated Jazz guitarist Will Bernard (Stanton Moore Trio, Dr. Lonnie Smith) as well as Jamaican Reggae legend Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace (Burning Spear, The Abyssinians the cult film ‘Rockers’) on drums, “Here I Am” is already generating considerable buzz throughout the international music industry and will surely go down as an early 21st century classic (U.S. release set for June).
Reggae music’s commitment to an upheaval of our unjust social system and Groundation’s livication of forwarding this message through a fresh, improvisation-based musical lens has created a truly unique movement. Groundation is the biggest, most respected American Reggae band in the world today…come join us and find out why.