Rebelution's last album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's reggae chart. Their latest, "Count Me In," slated for release Tuesday, will likely also scale the charts.
A Hawaii favorite, Rebelution's infectious, new recording highlights the band's desire to inspire their fans to have a positive impact in their lives. "A lot of what we hear every day is that money measures success," says Rebelution's vocalist/guitarist Eric Rachmany. "This new album is a reminder to spread love and positivity to the people around us; these are the true measures of success."
The popular California reggae band has a special fondness for Hawaii. Reggae fans in our state were some of the first in the nation to appreciate the group's catchy music, calling radio stations to play "Safe and Sound" from their 2007 breakthrough album, "Courage to Grow."
Rebelution performs tonight at 7:15 in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Yokouchi Pavilion. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 day of show for general admission and $60 for VIP. All ages admitted, but attendees younger than age 21 must stay in their designated area. For more information, visit www.mauiarts.org.
"When we went to Hawaii for the first time, we couldn't believe how many people knew our music. And 'Safe and Sound' was like a big summer hit," Rachmany explains. "It was an incredible experience, and so we will always remember Hawaii. It's like a home away from home."
The new album features a couple of special guest appearances, including dancehall singer Collie Buddz on the track, "Hate To Be The One," and legendary reggae vocalist Don Carlos on "Roots Reggae Music." Buddz had recently toured with Rebelution; and Carlos has been an important vocal influence on Rachmany.
Formed in 2004, while its members were attending college in Santa Barbara; Rebelution also features Matt Velasquez on vocals/guitar; Rory Carey on keyboards; drummer Wesley Finley; and bassist Marley Williams.
After releasing their self-titled EP in 2006, with each successive album from "Courage to Grow" to "Bright Side of Life," their popularity has increased - leading to major festival dates at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Glastonbury.
And despite giving away half of the album to their fans during the six weeks leading up to its release, the band's third album, "Peace of Mind," became their most popular.
"Peace of Mind," a triple CD priced as a single album, featured a standard studio album, a stripped down acoustic version of the same songs, and a dub remix of the 12 tracks.
"We all listen to a wide variety of music," notes Rachmany. "I grew up listening to a lot of acoustic music and so the acoustic CD was a no-brainer. Dub is such a huge part of reggae music, and reggae is definitely our foundation when we come together as a live band."
Many of their songs offered encouragement and inspiration. "We are in a position where we can make a positive impact on people," he says. "Generally, in our music, there is an underlying message of positivity and encouragement and motivation."
Their bright, California-sun-soaked style of reggae has influenced some of their fans to explore deeper roots. "I've been fortunate to link up with Don Carlos of Black Uhuru, and he said, 'Thank you for helping the resurgence of my career,' " Rachmany reports. "That was such an amazing compliment as he was such a huge influence."
The Masters of Hawaiian Music series at the Napili Kai Beach Resort will feature a special all star show on June 18. Hosted by George Kahumoku Jr., musicians performing include Ledward Kaapana, Jeff Peterson, Paul Togioka, Herb Ohta Jr., Da Ukulele Boyz, Sterling Seaton, and Wainani Kealoha. Doors open at 6:45 p.m., and show begins at 7:30 p.m.