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Groundation performing at the 2006 Jamaican Reggae Festival in Kandel, Germany
|Origin||California, United States|
|Genres||Roots reggae, Jazz fusion, Dub|
|Associated acts||Don Carlos
David "Diesel" Chachere
Te Kanawa Haereiti
Nicholas Daniel Wlodarczyk
Formed in the fall of 1998 by Harrison Stafford, Marcus Urani, and Ryan Newman, Groundation began on the campus of Sonoma State University's Jazz Program. Between 1999 and 2001, Harrison Stafford taught the first course on the History of Reggae Music at the University. In 1999, Stafford teamed up with Kris Dilbeck to found Young Tree Records and release Groundation's debut album Young Tree. "Groundation" comes from the Rasta term "Grounation".
Grounation Day is an important Rastafarian holy day celebrated April 21, which commemorates Haile Selassie’s first visit to Jamaica in 1966. Grounation Day is second in importance to Coronation Day, which is celebrated November 2, in honor Hail Selassie’s Coronation in 1930.
In 2000 they added to the line up David Chachere, a San Francisco-based jazz trumpeter, and Kelsey Howard, a North Bay trombone player. Saxophonist Jason Robinson was a member of the band for a time, and has since gone on to become the head of the jazz program at UC San Diego. Drummer Paul Spina (Les Claypool, Will Bernard's Mother Bug) has been with the group since taking over for James Stafford in December 2001; he left the group in summer 2008. Kim Pommell and Kerry Ann Morgan (both graduates of Kingston's Ashe performing arts school) joined in 2006, and are featured lead vocalists on Groundation's 2009 release Here I Am. In 2012, vocalist Jhamiela Smith joined the group, daughter of legendary reggae guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith, to sing chorus along with Kim Pommell. They are current chorus vocalists for Groundation.
The nine-piece band creates an altogether new reggae sound, featuring swirling, jazz/funk inspired horns, stout Latin and African based poly-rhythmics, and soulful harmony vocals. Their concerts utilize live improvisation, in classic jazz fashion, and are renowned for their high energy, communion-type atmosphere. Having gained international notoriety for their progressive fusion style, Groundation regularly plays at major international festivals like Summerjam.
The band uses analog instruments and recording equipment rather than digital, with Stafford explaining "No digital, we don't work with synthesisers. Just like in the 1970s we stick to that format."
- Harrison Stafford – vocals, guitar
- Marcus Urani – b3, keyboards
- Ryan Newman – bass
- David Chachere – trumpet
- Te Kenawa Haereiti aka. Rufus – drums
- Kim Pommell – chorus
- Sherida Sharpe – chorus
- Nicholas Daniel Wlodarczyk – trombone
- Jason Robinson – sax, flute
- Paul Spina – drums (from December 2001 to July 2008)
- James Stafford – drums (on the first two albums)
- Shawna Anderson – chorus (from 1999 to 2004)
- Adaria Armstrong – chorus (2004)
- Jeannine Guillory – chorus (2005)
- Ekua Impraim – chorus (2005)
- Ikesha Johnson – chorus (2006)
- Benjamin Krames – congas, timbales, percussion (in 2007, during Mingo's break)
- Kelsey Howard – trombone (from 2000–2012)
- Kerry-Ann Morgan – chorus (from 2006–2012)
- Mingo Lewis Jr. – congas, timbales, percussion (2003–2013)
- 1999: Young Tree (Remastered in 2002)
- 2001: Each One Teach One
- 2002: Hebron Gate
- 2004: We Free Again
- 2005: Dub Wars
- 2006: Upon the Bridge
- 2008: Rockamovya (Groundation's three founding members' project featuring Will Bernard and Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace),
- 2009: Here I Am
- 2011: Gathering of the Elders
- 2011: We Dub Again (Dub Remixes of We Free Again)
- 2012: Building an Ark
- 2014: A Miracle
Rockamovya – A Groundation side project
The three founding members of Groundation (Harrison Stafford, Marcus Urani and Ryan Newman) joined with the Jamaican drummer Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace and Will Bernard in June 2008 to form Rockamovya. The name comes from Wallace's Jamaican patois style and is meant to show the unity and power of the music.
- "Groundation » Press". groundation.com. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- Campbell-Livingston, Cecelia (2012) "Groundation Sticks to Basics", Jamaica Observer, 5 June 2012, retrieved 2012-06-05
- "Groundation » Music Player". groundation.com. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- "Rastafarianism". www.religionfacts.com. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
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