Many bands in mainstream rock have a connection to Native communities through one of their musicians. The Band’s Robbie Robertson, Testament’s Charles Billy and the many contributions of Jesse Ed Davis to various groups are some examples. Sol Seed—a reggae-fusion band out of Eugene, Oregon—has a relationship with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde through its guitarist, Kenny Sequoia Lewis.
Through Lewis, Sol Seed – only two years old at the time – found itself performing at the 2012 Native American Music Awards at the invitation of Grand Ronde flute player Jan Michael Looking Wolf.
“I think it was one of those moments that validated what we were doing,” said band member Benny Pezzano. “Something was written in the stars for all of us together.”
Lewis played as a studio musician for Looking Wolf’s album Breaking Free. For Lewis, the Nammy experience showed him the depth of genres within Native American music.
Performing with Looking Wolf created for him a “smoother experience” that he would take to Sol Seed. Now with six years of experience as a band, member Pezzano says Sol Seed has a message of “universal love, universal acceptance and reaching across cultural or national boundaries.”
“Live music is one of the best medicines for anyone,” Pezzano said. “It’s right up there with laughter. Someone once told me that reggae music is what positive feelings sound like. Most importantly, it brings everyone together.”
Sol Seed spends its time between touring nationally and regionally in the northwest. Growing up in Medford, Oregon Lewis says he enjoys playing at the Grand Ronde reservation for their youth.
“It’s really cool to see the smiles light up on their faces,” Lewis said. “I get to connect with them because I’m the only tribal member in Sol Seed. It’s a huge honor for me. I really enjoy it.”
To find out more about Sol Seed and their music, go to www.solseedmusic.com. They can also be found on Facebook, Reverbnation and Soundcloud.