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February 14, 2005 | by  | in Music |
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Katchafire, Skankamelia and Rainbow Country

Stop washing your hair and grab da ganja, mon, cos reggae is coming to Ori. Tessa Prebble’s got the goods (the info, that is. Not the ganja. Though no harm in asking…).

Katchafire, Skankamelia and Rainbow Country: hands up who can tell me which night is the reggae night this orientation?

Let’s start small and work our way up. Rainbow Country formed in 1998 after lead singer Perry Osborne finally convinced guitarist Calvin Ormsby, who had up until then been standing him up, to come and play with him in Lower Hutt. Later they were joined by Tuma Tokona, on Drums, Lionel Nikora on Bass and Jhan Lindsay on Saxophone.

Their name, Rainbow Country comes from a Bob Marley song, giving you a fair idea of where the band’s influences lie. Ormsby describes their sound as a mixture of Jamaican reggae on one side, and New Zealand roots “as a reflection of New Zealand’s beautiful landscape and culture”, on the other side.

While Rainbow Country haven’t released any material at present, they are keen to get out there and get involved in the Wellington music scene, and they promise to provide a lively, happy, funky set, this orientation.

Skankamelia, hailing from Gisborne, are all the about the good times and positive vibes. Their sound can be described as reggae, laced with rock and soul, or as they have dubbed it, ‘beach dub reggae’.

The Gisborne boys, Dion (Guitar and Vocals), and Damian (Drums) Whaanga, Lawrence Rangi (Guitar) and Reuben Quirk (Bass) all grew up listening to and playing a fairly diverse range of music; from the classic reggae of Bob Marley, to the grunge legends Nirvana, Skankamelia cover it all. Between them they bring together rock, hip hop, metal, soul and reggae to form their own unique sound.

During their time together Skankamelia have played both at home and abroad and have performed alongside some impressive names in the New Zealand music scene – The Black Seeds, Salmonella Dub, Trinity Roots, Cornerstone Roots and Kora, to name just a few. They have also played in the “Rhythm and Vines” New Year’s festival in Gisborne, and the “Sound Splash” festival in Raglan.

Skankamelia are planning to release their first single sometime mid year, followed by their debut album release and a national tour later in the year. Following that, Skankamelia will do the same in Australia to share their music abroad.

My advice: Get in there and see them before they head off across the ditch.

And last, but by no means least, Katchafire. Katchafire are a Hamilton-based band who have been bringing their reggae sound to New Zealand, and the world, for over four years.
Katchafire play everything from Bob Marley, UB40, and Herbs, to Blondie and The Eagles, all, of course, with their own flavour of reggae. But it isn’t covers that have made Katchafire a well-known name, singles like “Giddyup” and “Who You With” which appeared on their debut album “Revival”, both received regular airplay on B-Net and mainstream radio, and their videos featured on Juice and C4.

Katchafire have performed with the likes of Michael Franti and Spearhead, Salmonella Dub and DJ Sirvere, as well as playing at the Big Day Out, Planet x and the Raglan Ecofest Reggae Festival.
With the release of their second album ‘Slow Burning’, (with homage paid, on the cover slip, to the Bob Marley album from which the band took its name) Katchafire are riding a wave of success, so come down and help them celebrate.

Reggae is one of the core points of New Zealand music, and although there are a lot of dub, and roots bands out there, no one quite captures that full reggae sound like Katchafire.

Its not hard to see this night is going to be good. There’s nothing like roots, dub and reggae to get you moving. Don’t miss it.

*Rainbow Country, Skankamelia and Katchafire play in the Union Hall at 8pm. Tickets are &10 for Vic students and $22 for others.

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