Blue King Brown

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Blue King Brown
Blue King Brown, Portland, ME, June 2011.jpg
Performing on stage, Portland, June 2011
Background information
Origin Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Genres Reggae, roots
Years active 2003 (2003)–present
  • Roots Level
  • MGM
  • Lion House
Associated acts Skin
  • Natalie Pa'apa'a
  • Carlo Santone
  • Salvador Persico
  • Sam Cope
  • Pete Wilkins
  • Emily G
  • Jess Harlen
Past members
  • Hailey Cramer

Blue King Brown are an Australian roots ensemble formed in 2003 in Byron Bay by mainstays Natalie Pa'apa'a and Carlo Santone. They have released three studio albums, Stand Up (October 2006), Worldwize Part 1 - North & South (August 2010) – which reached the ARIA Albums Chart top 50 – and Born Free (November 2014). They have toured nationally and internationally; and supported concerts by Carlos Santana, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Damian Marley, the John Butler Trio, the Cat Empire, Silverchair, Dispatch and Powderfinger.


Blue King Brown were formed by Natalie Pa'apa'a (aka Natalie Magdalena Chilcote, Nattali Rize)[1][2] on lead vocals and lead guitar and Carlo Santone on bass guitar in Byron Bay in 2003 as an urban roots ensemble.[3][4] Each had started playing and song writing on guitar, while jamming with local residents and itinerants. They performed as a percussion duo and in a band, Skin, which included both Matt Godwin and Greg Sheehan on drums, before moving to Melbourne in the following year.[5][6][7]

To complete the line up of Blue King Brown, the duo recruited Salvador Persico in 2005 on percussion, he added a Latin influence to their sound.[8] He was followed by Sam Cope on keyboards,[9] and Cesar Rodrigues on lead guitar with Javier Fredes regularly performing as a second percussionist.[6][10] An early drummer was Julian Goyma.[7] Pa'apa'a recalled their sound, "When it was me and Carlo it was just drums, just percussion. It was very percussive, very rhythmic and that's what we love. We really brought a lot of that into Blue King Brown, which is why we have two percussionists and lots of drum breaks."[6] Backing singers have included Hailey Cramer and Ngaiire.[6] Rebecca Ari and Jess Harlen have also worked as backing vocalists.[11] The ensemble's line up has varied from a five-piece to an eleven-piece.[6][12]

The beats driven collaboration formed connections in the Australian roots scene and provided percussion for the John Butler Trio (JBT).[7] They have also supported performances with a number of local and international touring artists, including the Cat Empire.[7] Peter Dawson of Diaspora Worldwide felt the group were "a funky 5-piece roots-reggae outfit which has quickly established itself on the National touring circuit. Under Nat and Carlo's strong direction the band has developed a strong fan base around the country."[7] Santone described the local scene, "There's a lot of soul in roots music, it's not about glitter and gold that's what I like, it's music for music's sake not hype or rock star attitudes and there's some great Australian roots acts really rockin' it at an international level."[5]

Blue King Brown's track, "Water", appeared on their six-track debut self-titled extended play in September 2005, and was added in high rotation on national youth radio, Triple J.[13] Dawson described the track as "Bright and bouncy [it] is pure funk, with [Cope]'s Rhodes piano and [Persico]'s timbales playing hit 'n' run."[7] Blue King Brown won an Australian Independent Record (AIR) Award for Best Performing Single/EP in 2006.[14] In mid-2006 they supported Michael Franti & Spearhead's tour of Australia.[15] Santone described the music video for "Water", which had been made for $200, "It's basically inspired from our time we spent out in the remote communities in central Australia. It opened our eyes to a lot of things going on out there, with the traditional owners of the land being kept from their sacred sites and precious water holes out there."[13]

Blue King Brown issued their debut album, Stand Up, in October 2006 through their own label, Roots Level Records; in Japan it appeared on Village Again/Sideout with a bonus track.[16][17] It was recorded at Big Jesus Burger Studios, Sydney with Pa'apa'a and Santone co-producing; all the tracks were written by Pa'apa'a including six co-written with Santone.[16] A Triple J reviewer described the group, "With their rootsy reggae and funk, they're currently packing out venues and are faves on the festival circuit."[18] Stand Up was nominated for the 2006 J Award[19] and their track, "Come and Check Your Head", was listed at No. 100 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 2006.[20] In 2006, aside from performing at the Woodford Folk, East Coast International Blues & Roots Music and West Coast Blues & Roots Festivals, they also performed in Fiji and Japan.[18] By 2008 Goyma had been replaced on drums by Peter Wilkins.[12]

Their second album, Worldwize part 1 - North & South, was released in August 2010, which peaked at No. 44 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[21] The two discs were reviewed by Layla Clarke of AU Review; she felt the first disc, North, showed that "steady reggae guitar and drums form the base for the weaving of vocals, brass, strings, piano, and other percussion to create the sounds that make up an individual song."[22] The second disc, South, was a set of "dub tracks" which were "more instrumental and [the disc] is a worthy companion to the first."[22]

At the ARIA Music Awards of 2011 it was nominated for Best Blues and Roots Album.[23][24] In 2013 West Papuan sisters, Lea and Petra Rumwaropen, joined as backing singers.[25] The group undertook a tour of Japan in May and then supported Julian Marley on his tour of Australia.[25] Wilkins was replaced by Steve Allingham on drums.[6]

In mid-2014 the group relocated to Jamaica where Pa'apa'a decided to change her performance name to Nattali Rize due in part to Bob Marley's lyrics for "Rise Up".[26] While in Jamaica the group also worked on their third album, Born Free (November 2014).[26] It had been partially recorded in Kingston's Tuff Gong Studios.[27] AllMusic's Steve Leggett opined that it "finds the band in full passionate flight, delivering contemporary reggae that sounds urgent, necessary, and vital" with the group "quickly becoming a force on the international jam band urban roots scene, mixing reggae with Afro-beat and Latin rhythms and layering them beneath lyrics that cry out for positive social change."[27]

In January 2015 Blue King Brown toured Australia to promote Born Free with the line up of Cope, Fredes, Persico, Rize, Rodriques, Lea and Petra, and Santone.[10] Bobby Goudie of The Clothesline caught their performance at The Gov, "They get their audience grooving and absorbed with their up-beat tunes and messages of hope, peace and standing up to oppression around the world... [and are] a skilled, experienced band that has been spreading their ideas and conscious music for over 10 years. Enjoyment is not solely based on how many of the songs you recognise or can sing along to. They are an incredibly accessible live band to people who don’t know their music as it evokes so much hopeful energy and cool grooves."[10]

Rize collaborated with Jamaican-based group, Notis, to issue a single, "Rebel Love", in March 2015, which was followed by a nine-track EP, New Era Frequency (7 August 2015).[2][28][29]


  • Natalie Pa'apa'a – vocals, guitar, percussion (2003–present)
  • Carlo Santone – bass guitar, percussion, backing vocals (2003–present)
  • Salvador Persico – percussion, timbales (2005–present)
  • Julian Goyma – drums (2005–07)[7]
  • Sam Cope – keyboards, piano, organ, synthesiser (2005–present)[9]
  • Cesar Rodrigues – guitar
  • Javier Fredes – percussion, congas
  • Ngaiire – backing vocals
  • Hailey Cramer – backing vocals
  • Pete Wilkins – drums (fl. 2008–13)[12]
  • Damien Lines – synthesiser
  • Rebecca Ari – backing vocals (fl. 2010–11)[11][30]
  • Jess Harlen – backing vocals (fl. 2010)[11]
  • Lady Nadee – backing vocals (fl. 2011)[30]
  • Lea Rumwaropen – backing vocals (2013–present)[25]
  • Petra Rumwaropen – backing vocals (2013–present)[25]
  • Steve Allingham – drums[6]



  • Stand Up (14 October 2006) – Roots Level Records (bkb 002)
  • Worldwize Part 1 North & South (Lion House Records, 20 August 2010) No. 44 AUS
  • Born Free (Lion House Records, 7 November 2014)

Extended plays[edit]

  • Blue King Brown (12 September 2005) – Roots Level Records (bkb 001)


  • "Moment of Truth"
  • "Water"
  • "Come Check Your Head (download single, Roots Level Records)
  • "Stand Up" (Roots Level Records, 3 March 2007)
  • "Women's Revolution (download single, Roots Level Records, 11 June 2010)
  • "Never Fade Away" (Lion House Records, 20 August 2010)
  • "The March Feat Jah Mason" (Lion House Records, March 2012)


  1. ^ "'Better Spent' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.  Note: User may have to click "Search again" and provide details at "Enter a title:" e.g. Better Spent; or at "Performer:" Blue King Brown
  2. ^ a b Innes, Matt (21 December 2015). "Together As One: Nattali Rize & Notis". Scenestr Magazine. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Panellist: Natalie Pa'apa'a". Q&A. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  4. ^ Pa'apa'a, Natalie; Santone, Carlo (24 September 2003). "Blue King Brown". Blue King Brown Official Website. Archived from the original on 10 October 2003. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Leigh, Shanna (7 March 2006). "Blue King Brown – Back to nature". The Dwarf. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Change makers". Deadly Vibe. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Dawson, Peter (1 January 2007). "Blue King Brown". Diaspora Worldbeat. Diaspora Media. Archived from the original on 25 March 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  8. ^ Claudia (22 July 2015). "Learn Cajon » Melbourne Cajon and Percussion classes with Salvador Persico". Cajon Talk. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  9. ^ a b "Sam Cope | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c Goudie, Bobby (18 January 2015). "Blue King Brown Spread the Word of Peace and Freedom with Their Unique Sound and Infectious Stage Presence – Live Review". The Clothesline. Archived from the original on 20 January 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c "Blue King Brown: Jazz Café, Camden". 28 June 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c "Blue King Brown". Musicoz. 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Gibson, Jano (17 May 2007). "Aussie band gets worldwide publicity for $200 – Music – Entertainment". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  14. ^ "Awards History: 2006 – The Blackett Hotel, Sydney". Australian Independent Record Label Association Ltd (AIR). 
  15. ^ Soer, Jerry (18 September 2006). "Blue King Brown". Who the Bloody Hell Are They?. Archived from the original on 23 May 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  16. ^ a b Stand Up (booklet). Blue King Brown. Sydney: Roots Level Records. October 2006. bkb 001. 
  17. ^ Stand Up (booklet). Blue King Brown. Japan: Village Again Records. October 2006. VAAA-0001. 
  18. ^ a b "Stand Up: Triple J Music Reviews". Triple J. 2 November 2006. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  19. ^ "Triple J Award – Nominated Albums: Stand Up Blue King Brown". Triple J. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  20. ^ Triple J Hottest 100 list
  21. ^ 'Blue King Brown – Worldwize Part 1 – North & South Archived 15 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 13 September 2010.
  22. ^ a b Clarke, Layla. "Blue King Brown – Worldwize Part 1 North & South (2010 LP)". the AU review. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  23. ^ "The Countdown Begins... Nominations Announced". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 11 October 2011. Archived from the original on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  24. ^ "2011 ARIA Awards Winners by Year". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  25. ^ a b c d Cashmere, Paul. "Blue King Brown Expand with Two New Members". Noise11. Paul. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  26. ^ a b "Nattali's 'rizing' up with BKB at this year's Byron Bluesfest". Verandah Magazine. April 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  27. ^ a b Leggett, Steve. "Born Free – Blue King Brown". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  28. ^ "'Rebel Love' (feat. Zuggu Dan) - Single by Nattali Rize & Notis". iTunes Store. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  29. ^ "New Era Frequency by Nattali Rize & Notis". iTunes Store. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  30. ^ a b Cowe, Shaun (6 June 2011). "Blue King Brown @ Metropolis, Fremantle (02/06/11)". FasterLouder. Junkee Media. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 

External links[edit]