Despite the rain, crowds filled Hopmonk’s Abbey last week for Monday Night Edutainment’s first big show of the fall season. For more than a decade, the weekly dance party has been introducing Sonoma County to reggae’s freshest bands and MCs. But it is loyalty to the genre’s biggest international stars that consistently fills the house.
Edutainment’s WBLK production crew resumed their tradition of booking excellent talent with a three-band lineup. What’s more, Hopmonk had their first opportunity to debut a giant translucent tent covering the entire back patio. With the rain falling lightly outside, it was just another NorCal summer night inside the glowing dome.
Headlining was Caribbean band Bambú Station from the Virgin Island of St. Croix. They are currently touring as one half of The One Island Tour, a 16-city West Coast run with Maui’s InnaVision. The two linked up with the opener Ancestree, a reggae festival favorite based in Santa Cruz.
A six piece reggae orchestra, Ancestree‘s style meshes bohemian countryman (and woman) with global revolutionary. Adding style and finesse to lyrics of social justice and environmentalism is their savvy female saxophonist, Alia Fintz. Songs like “The Roots of David” and “Monzanto” should be staples of our conflicted society.
Host and resident WBLK selector DJ Jacques threw down some modern mashups between classic beats to keep the vibe hot during quick change-over sets. InnaVision then took the stage to a riled audience looking forward to some smooth Polynesian reggae.
(Edutainment’s long-time friends J-Boog and Oahu’s Washhouse Music have been champions in bringing island rhythms to the Bay Area.)
Starting off the set with some drawn-out rock riffs, it was unclear where they were headed. But soon the beat dropped into that sweet island sound. Dual vocalists Kokomon and Ben Gali shared the stage, swapping melodies and rhymes between them. Check out this video by Klot War Media of the crew touring the West Coast.
Bambú Station took the stage to a thoroughly warmed up crowd. If Midnight are the sons of St. Croix reggae, Bambú are their cousins. Deep rolling beats and lasting vocals are synonymous with the island’s esoteric sound. And it is their powerful lyrics about justice and democracy that make them highly relevant. Providing the most conscious commentary of the night, lead singer Jalani Horton urged the college-aged majority to seek truth about the world in places like Palestine and East Africa. To experience the world and know the injustices of humankind. Although the message wasn’t heard by all, it stands as a testament to the significance of world music. Beyond the consistently good talent, this is was “Edutainment” provides us.
Tags: Ancestree, Bambu Station, Hopmonk Sebastopol, InnaVision, Reggae