Back in 2010, Christopher Carr and several other locals musicians that would eventually make up local band Ancestree Reggae were just roommates. Everyone came from different backgrounds, but the one thing they had in common was a love for reggae music. It’s this connection that was the impetus for the band.
“We’re kind of a beautiful spectrum of cultures, backgrounds and identities. We’ve had players from Mexico City, we’ve had players from Brazil. We’ve had players from Israel. We have songs in multiple languages,” says bassist Carr. “We’ve always been trying to communicate how things are better when we can come together. It’s a message of unity.”
It wasn’t just that everyone in the band loved the music. The message lined up with all of their values. Reggae’s message of peace and its penchant for political activism were two sides of the same coin for them. Ancestree Reggae songs are about love and harmony, but also tackle an array of political issues—including one about fighting Monsanto, for instance.
“There’s that involuntary joy that comes when you get in the pocket of the one drop. We’re trying to find a way to get people to dance and feel good, but we also want to give them some medicine, and try to stir up the fire and use music as a message. Reggae is always good for that,” Carr says.
Appropriately enough, there is no clear leader in the band. There’s no distinct lead singer, no sole figure that writes all the songs. It’s this democratic aspect that makes the band work so well.
“We all sing and play multiple instruments.” Carr says. “We just want to keep that good vibe reciprocated, and keep growing.”
INFO: 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, Santa Cruz Cannabis Cup. Santa Cruz Veteran’s Hall, 2259 7th Ave., Santa Cruz. $35. 475-9804.