Music Reviews & News
From deep in the South Pacific, Cornerstone Roots pay respect to the colossal world of Jamaican reggae, while confidently bringing their own influences and uplifting messages to the mix. This approach of classic cool and future consciousness has helped set the tone for reggae in Aotearoa New Zealand since 2001 when vocalist/guitarist Brian Ruawai and bass player and partner Naomi-Jean Tuaopepe established Cornerstone Roots.
Based in Raglan/Whaingaroa in Waikato, one of the surfing hubs of New Zealand. The band blends Maori and Samoan culture with a deep knowledge for authentic roots reggae, dub and ska to the stage and studio. Playing alongside the Cornerstone Roots founders the current line up features Andre Peri on drums, Reti Hedley on keyboards/guitar, and stepping up in his parent’s footsteps 12 year old Reiki Ruawai on backing vocals.
Q&A with Brian RuawaiNew Zealand has always been a melting pot of cultures and has almost adopted the laid back style of beach and surf culture, what part, if any do you think that has influenced your music?
Raglan is one of the most relaxing places in NZ , it has the presence of the Mountain (Karioi) and the vibe from the open beach and point breaks. The town itself attracts a certain type of traveler mostly surfers. Its off the beaten track and less commercial than say the east coast. The community here is quite close knit and inter connected with locals tangata whenua and visitors. All these attributes especially the surrounding environment are conducive to writing music and time for reflection. We’re a very beach orientated family and one of the best things we do together is get out there and enjoy the waves together or just sit and watch the kids surf.Cornerstone Roots is releasing a new single on Monday 14th November, entitled 'Journey", What is your next album focusing on creatively?
Lyrically we always focus on our path or Journey in life. Lately it is the vibe musically that we have been working on. Putting together a great live set to get our audience really involved at a show. This ablum is a rub a dub laced single mixed and produced by DJ MU of Fat Freddy’s Drop fame.Whats playing at home?
Rarely do we get the chance to control what music is played in the house these days music is a big part of our children's lives and they dictate what we have to listen too. That’s is everything from Modern reggae to Dub step remixes and 90s hip hop. Me personally I've been listening to early Kravitz and Ben Harper.
For the record, Cornerstone Roots has released three critically acclaimed albums, Soul Revolution, Free
Yourself and Future Is Now, plus two EPs, One Fine Day and Forward Movement. Live, Cornerstone Roots are in demand nationally and across Japan, Australia and Pacific Islands. They’ve also supported reggae greats Burning Spear, Lee Scratch Perry, Sly & Robbie, Toots and The Maytals, Jimmy Cliff and The Original Wailers. In 2010 Cornerstone Roots embarked on a 22-date European tour, playing Mighty Sounds & Sazava Festivals in Czech Republic, Uprising Reggae Festival in Slovakia and Ostroda Reggae Festival in Poland.