Thursday, June 10, 2010

Harmony Festival Features Grammy Winners Ms. Lauryn Hill and Steel Pulse

32nd Annual Harmony Festival Features Grammy Winners Ms. Lauryn Hill and Steel Pulse
By Shelah Moody

    Grammy winning singer/songwriter Ms. Lauryn Hill will give a rare and exclusive performance at the 32nd Annual Harmony Festival at Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, June 11-13. The three day festival, which will include yoga workshops, psychics,social activists, physicists, gurus, a children’s area, organic food, acrobatics and techno-tribal dance, will also feature Grammy winning reggae artists Steel Pulse, Lyrics Born & Chali 2na, Fishbone and speakers such as Dr. Bruce Lipton  and Swami Beyondonanda.  Unfortunately, Ms. Hill was unable for comment.Fortunately, I did have the pleasure of speaking with David Hinds, founding member of British Reggae Steel Pulse, who’ve produced revolutionary albums such as “True Democracy, Babylon the Bandit” (Grammy winner, 1985), “Earth Crisis”  and “Tribute to the Martyrs.” They are getting ready to release a documentary on DVD on Steel Pulse’ expansive history.
    Hinds, Steel Pulse’s lead singer/songwriter said he is looking forward to playing the Harmony festival on Friday night, June 11 and Saturday evening, June 12. Steel Pulses’ nine piece band also features founding member Selwyn Brown (keyboads/vocals/melodica) and the neo-reggae, jazz and R&B stylings of Sidney Mills (keyboards).  In their thirty plus history as a band, Steel Pulse has been anti-colonization, pro-Africa and involved in many global causes. Hinds wrote a song for Haiti soon after the country’s devastating earthquake “You are Africa’s first descendents/For Haiti/For the struggle for independence/For Haiti!/For your fortitude and resilience/For Haiti!/Toussaint L’Oveture’s investments/For Haiti!/You can’t afford to be redundant/For Haiti!”Hinds said Steel Pulse hopes to visit Haiti sometime this year through the Solar Electric light fund.  I asked Hinds, who is a vegetarian and a Rastafarian, what health and harmony meant to him“If it’s all about health, I’m all about health,” said Hinds. If it’s all about harmony between people of different races, cultures, creeds and lifestyles, I’m all about that, too.  Hinds spoke about some of the activists and spiritual leaders who have influenced him. “Julia Butterfly influenced me to write the song ‘Global Warning” because of her efforts trying to save the trees in California, said Hinds. “There have been so many leaders throughout the development of the black Diaspora, who have influenced me. I see the black activists, such as Angela Davis and George Jackson, as spiritual leaders. Their efforts brought me into the political mode from the age of 13-14. Bob Marley’s music was an outlet and a voice to air his opinions. I thought it was necessary for me to do that from my perspective and my standpoint living in England. I don’t have anyone I am following in church such as Jimmy Swaggart or Billy Graham. It’s time that we got back to spiritually leading herself, don’t you think?”  I also spoke with Sean Ahearn, co-owner and programming director of the Harmony Festival. Ahearn said that more than 40 acres of the Sonoma fairgrounds will be utilized for the festival, which will host more than 300 vendors.“We are trying to create balance and harmony in our world and we do that in many ways-music, art, ecology, and healthy living,” said Ahearn. “The artists that we book and the events that we program are interrelated to those themes. That makes us kind of unique. We are not just booking the biggest bands with the biggest following for the most money. Everything that we do here has a mission, a message and a purpose from the performers to the vendors.”Ahearn said the music selection will include everything from classic rock to hip hop and reggae. Rock icon Wavy Gravy of the Grateful Dead, perhaps one of the world’s most famous clowns, will lead a parade at the Harmony festival on Saturday June 12.   Ahearn said that the elusive Ms. Lauryn Hill’s appearance is definitely one of the highlights of the Harmony Festival. Ms. Hill, a former member of the Fugees who swept the Grammy Awards in 1999 for her signature album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,”  will close out the festival on Sunday, June 13. Ahearn said Ms. Hill reached out to the festival herself and asked to perform.“(Ms. Hill) is  the biggest artist to perform at the Harmony festival, possibly the North Bay,” said Ahearn. She’s coming with her 12 piece band all the way from the east coast.  She heard about the festival and contacted us through her management. She was looking for something special to do this summer. She is going to spend a couple days in wine country and then head home. What we are about resonated with her. It was an easy sell. We are very blessed to have her coming out. It’s going to be an action pact weekend.”What: 32nd Annual Health and Harmony Festival featuring Ms. Lauryn Hill, Steel Pulse, Slightly Stoopid, Chali 2na & Lyrics Born, Zappa Plays Zappa, Rebelution and others.
When: July 11-13
Where: Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa, CA.
For performance schedules and more information visit

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment