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Maori Roots 

Katchafire, wailing from down under

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From the South Pacific islands to the California mainland, Katchafire's seven-member reggae-dub sound blazes the Pacific Rim with organic island spirit.

The all-Maori band, started as a Wailers tribute group, has grown to bridging Jamaican roots culture with the native soul of Aotearoa (New Zealand). A family affair born in a Hamilton, New Zealand, garage, Katchafire caught fire when Grenville Bell nurtured the talents of his two sons, Logan and Jordan, for what has become one of the biggest reggae bands from down under.

Katchafire's latest album, On the Road Again, went platinum with a mix of "generational rub"—early one-drop rhythms, R&B soul and deep synth notes. The singularity comes with ancestral Aotearoa horns, congas and the hazy vocals of Jawaiian love ballads.

Part of the California Roots Festival "Road to May" concert series, a precursor to the three-day reggae music and live art festival in Monterey County next month, Friday's show is a mini-festival in itself, featuring three full bands and Sonoma County locals Casa Rasta on the decks.

Katchafire play with Ukiah's Top Shelf and Maui's Maoli, backed by Casa Rasta, on Friday, April 26, at the Mystic Theatre. 21 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 8:30pm. $24. 707.765.2121.—Jacquelynne Ocaña

  • Katchafire, wailing from down under

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