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TRADES TALK STORY | HARRISON STAFFORD OF GROUNDATION

Posted on 18 December 2013

Much like Kilauea, the roots rock reggae movement has never quite gone dormant from the Hawaiian islands. However, I'm reluctant to say that the movement has slowed down a bit since my high school days.

I recall going to the once-a-week Thursday night reggae concerts at the former Pipeline back in the mid-to-late 2000's where you would run into everyone and their cousin. Before I was 18, I would have to either sneak in with a non-minor's ID or even (unsuccessfully) sprint through the kitchen backdoor.

One band of all stands out in my mind -- Groundation. Not only was the group playing roots reggae with its heavy bass and rhythmic drum lines, it was infusing jazz, funk, and a melody of horns throughout their songs. On top of its musical mastery, Groundation has the undoubtedly unique vocal lead of Harrison Stafford.

The group can attest to its strong grasp on music theory from its start at the jazz program in California's Sonoma State University. Just listen to Hebron Gate, Groundation's debut album released in 2002. A couple of my favorite songs on the album include "Something More" and "Picture on the Wall".

Now days, this northern California band has headlined for hundreds of thousands of fans in over 25 countries. Believe it or not, the band got its start "abroad" just over a decade ago in a place not too foreign to their home state - the islands of Hawai'i.

IMG_2512This past Saturday's show brought me back to the days where we would make it a point to attend every week's concert. With the legendary Absynnians preceding Groundation, it must have been quite an experience. I say "must have" because of a camera equipment mishap where I  was unexpectedly short a lens to shoot the interview above. #videoproductionproblems

Big thanks to Jesse with Rudeboy Reggae for getting this together, Matt Matches for solving the aforementioned camera mishap (see our post on some of his work), Josh Huaracha for always being down to crew, and BAMP Project for bringing the concert to town as well as letting us use their green room area for the interview.

Of course, big ups to Harrison Stafford of Groundation for taking the moment to share his mana'o with us two nights ago. I never thought I would be sitting within two feet of the man, let alone conducting an interview with him. Cheehee!

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