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While capturing the essence of true roots reggae, Groundation also takes the genre to a new height by blending elements of jazz and dub to the sound. What started as a campus-based musical experiment at the Sonoma State University's jazz program in California during 1998 has taken singer and composer Harrison Stafford, keyboard player Marcus Urani and bass player Ryan Newman on a fascinating musical journey through seven albums. They have remained at the helm of a floating nine-piece line-up focused on collective improvisation within a respectful reggae framework. Above all, they are jazz musicians but are also prepared to venture into funk-inspired horn lines and heavy Latin and African-based polyrhythms. It allows Groundation to play complex arrangements with the utmost precision and lush orchestration, adding texture and verve to the raw spirit of roots reggae. Born into reggae, having travelled with his Rastafari parents extensively in Africa and in Jamaica at a young age, Stafford's way of seeing the world reflects Rastafarian culture - indeed, the name Groundation is a subtle pun on the Rastafari term grounation, referring to a holy day celebrated by believers. Appropriately, Stafford's lyrics deliver a potent message of pacifism, audacity and spirituality.
(Biography supplied by WOMAD New Zealand 2012)
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