The Island Sound will publish an Exclusive Interview with Harrison Stafford from Groundation on June 10th.
Harrison Stafford, the founding member and frontman for Groundation and solo project, Harrison Stafford & The Proffesor Crew, recently released his second solo album, One Dance on May 13, 2016. Harrison Stafford, known as “Professor” last released a solo album in 2011, titled Madness.
The nickname for Harrison Stafford is more than suitable. Beyond starting the band Groundation, Harrison Stafford also developed and taught his own course on the History of Reggae Music at California’s Sonoma State University from 1999-2001. The California born musician has a deep love for Jamaica, the culture and the music, while honoring the history through his way of life and the creativity in his musical style.
With the release of Harrison Stafford’s latest album, The Island Sound had the privilege to speak with the Professor, himself. In the upcoming interview, Harrison Stafford discusses the reception he receives in Jamaica, saying, “Most of the musicians in Jamaica know Groundation from performing at festivals all around the world. I have only done a few things on radio in Kingston to promote the music. It is a growing thing. From many of my friends that I know, there is a big following in St. Ann’s Bay and even Ocho Rios. I went to Calabash, this Ital Rasta Restaurant, and an elder Rasta Dread came up, recognized me and couldn’t believe he met me. I didn’t expect this elder Rasta to know Groundation.”
The genuinely surprised Harrison Stafford continues, “I think it comes from the fact that we are militant and we are focused. I love to play roots music and the message is 100% about equal rights and justice, while forming a better world for our children. I think Jamaicans feel that. Jamaicans judge you on the music and the works that you do, not judging a book by its cover.”
On November 15, 2015, Harrison Stafford also produced the documentary Holding on to Jah. The Professor shared the long process of development for the film stating: “It really came out of teaching the History of Reggae Music course at Sonoma State University. I would have Joseph Hill of Culture, Israel Vibration, and other musicians come and speak to the class. I called on my friend, Roger Hall, to film these lectures. That is where the whole documentary began. Just to film this story and these elder Rastas that were there in 1966 to see his majesty, Haile Selassie, come to Jamaica.”
Harrison continues, “That moment was really an epiphany and a huge turning point in the history of all humanity. Selassie was brought to Jamaica and paid by the Jamaican government to disavow the belief that he was the Messiah and God. As he met with the elders and Rastas, he said ‘I am who you say I am’. The government was trying to squash out this cult and slow this movement. Instead, it blew up! And, this film, Holding on to Jah, is really centered around this moment, during Selassie’s visit. We just sat around to get these elders’ stories, the story of reggae music, the story of Rastafari, the story of Jamaican people. It is a beautiful and powerful story that I believe is crucial to now. It’s all about the future. It’s all about one love and togetherness.”
Harrison Stafford is one of the more insightful people within this reggae movement. This is only the preview of the full-length, exclusive interview. More of the topics discussed in the upcoming interview, to be published on June 10th, include the writing process and production of the new album, One Dance, which musicians will be featured in the touring band this summer, the differences and challenges of touring in Europe and South America compared to the United States, and what to expect from Groundation in the future after this current hiatus.
All of these topics and many more will be discussed at length in the published interview on Friday, June 10th. Be sure to comeback to read the full-length interview with Harrison Stafford.
Video: Harrison Stafford & The Professor Crew – “One Dance”