El Ka Bong
El Ka Bong is a Psychedelic Reggae/Latin Jam band from Upstate New York. Following the breakup of progressive metal band Arbitrary Cause, founding members James Eddington, Zachary Schoonover, Aaron Holland, and James Ralls were given the opportunity of hosting a weekly gig at Garcia's Mexican Restaurant. It did not take long for the shows to become a highlight of the Geneva music scene.
EKB added vocalist Laura Black and percussionist Matthew Hurd to the group when James Ralls attended college at SUNY Fredonia. With Laura's powerful operatic vocals at the helm, El Ka Bong could finally begin to experiment with the sounds they had dabbled with for years.
What resulted was a complex blend of Latin rhythms, rock and roll, dub, soul, funk, and the freedom of Jazz.
The band recorded its first record Pass it On in the Fall of '08, but it was never widely released. Instead, it was given away at shows as a demo.
Their second record The HarvesT featured 11 songs and contains their biggest hit to date, "Benches". This album strayed slightly from the Latin songs and delved further into Reggae grooves and indie rock.
According to one review, the strength of El Ka Bong is
"the ability to work within a distinct style remarkably well, but also to keep every song (nay, every measure) interesting, engaging, and full of motion."
These days El Ka Bong is performing for larger audiences. Having left the days of Garcias behind them, their favorite genre of show is Festivals. Last summer, they appeared at several upstate NY festivals including : Naples Music Fest, Scottypaluza, Muse Fest, and Sterling Stages Last Daze of Summer. This year they hope to be a part of the legendary Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance held in Trumansburg NY.
El Ka Bong will record a 4–5 song EP this spring at More Sound Studios in Syracuse, NY. Other bands to utilize this studio are Rubblebucket Orchestra and John Brown's Body. In Fall of 2010, EKB plan to move to Boston for a few months to hone their sound and get away from New York for a while.