Christa Renee Band
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Christa Renee Band

Manchester, New Hampshire, United States | SELF

Manchester, New Hampshire, United States | SELF
Band Rock Reggae


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Christa Renee Band on TBLMS (8-11-11)"

Feeling down and need a pick-me-up? Trying to cover up that nasty blemish on your entire epidermis? Want to forget that T9 word is just not guessing what you want to say? Look no further. Take a few hits of the Christa Renee Band and you should feel right as rain before long (if rain brings you sadness, I apologize). This is a major theme of the band.
Taking on very heavy subject matters while cleverly masking it in colorful, seemingly blissful musical performances. Whistling past the graveyard so to speak. Even knowing this beforehand, still didn't change the fact that I had an urge to sip a pina colada and let tales of sheer horror wash over me. It's actually an ongoing inside joke of the group that Christa Renee (Vocals, Guitar) will consistently present new material to the other four band members which, to their expectation, is about some worldly epidemic, injustice, prejudice, or kerfuffle. During our conversation however, she appeared to have a rosey disposition and was quite jovial.
The band formed two years ago when Christa was looking for a drummer and a bassist to join her in a reggae/Caribbean style band. Eventually she found Jeff (Drums) who brought in some other people to flesh out the band. The band now fronts guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, and additional percussion. Christa is the chief songwriter of the group and the others dig her incorporation of political, cultural and social issues into her songs while they provide an almost jaunty musical accompaniment. Afrobeat musician and activist Fela Kuti often did this as a way to cope with difficult realities. So did the Barenaked Ladies and I will quote them to best characterize this technique, "I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral, can't understand what I mean? You soon will." Barenaked ladies is another issue Christa brings to light in the subjugation of women.
t was just Christa and Jeff at the station today. Although they mostly play as a full band, the duo is not uncommon. It's less collectively energetic but draws more attention to the poignant lyrics. It also gives Jeff the opportunity to lay down some groovy tapping, pounding and shaking. He is a true veteran when it comes to the music scene. He's done the wedding band thing, he's a music teacher, he played in 10 bands simultaneously at one point, but he is also a referee for women's roller derby to break things up a little (seriously). He also seems to be a Jack of all trades. Kind of a mad percussive scientist of sorts as he brought in a bag of tricks filled with all kinds of rhythmic doohickeys I had never seen. He mostly played the cajon (which means box in Spanish...) which was his main rhythm section (No, it doesn't mean balls! God, you're so immature.). He also listed off several other experimental instruments he uses like the Boomy Wang. "It's a hammered bronze sheet that makes a crash sound like a 'waka waka'," he explained. "Like the Shakira song?" I gleefully asked. "...No. Not like the Shakira song," he retorted with a glazed over look of deep dissatisfaction in his eye. This didn't happen. Jeff is a good guy. It did cross my mind however. Ah, Shakira in those booty shorts. Hold the phone! Have I learned anything? Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem and Christa Renee would be very disappointed. I gotta have some knowledge dropped on me. And you too! Check out these tracks out below.
So let's go over some of the lyrical content of these tunes. The first one is a allegory of September 11th. The second track entitled "Mentirosa" means "liar" in Spanish and is a retrospective look at a poisonous relationship. The last song is about homophobia in the world particularly in Jamaica. Pick your poison! I actually really like it when a band gets dark in a pop song but it's hard to notice at first glance. It is almost like a test the artists conduct on their listeners to see who's the most discerning of the bunch. Sort of like when you found out "Semi-Charmed Life" was about crystal meth addiction and you were stripped of your innocence forever. Or just for a few seconds until you started bobbing your head again. Maybe Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz for some of you older folks in the crowd? Takeaway lesson: Just when you thought everything was lollipops, skee ball and white t's, it's really piles of meth. So as stated above, the Christa Renee Band could be your perfect drug for when you feel life gets a little too heavy to carry.
Side Effects may include: Dependence, Euphoria, Slight Disillusionment, Shakes (Gluteus region) -

"Christa Renee will get you dancing, thinking at Smokin with Chris"

Put on your dancing shoes, but don’t leave your thinking caps at home this weekend.
On Saturday at 8 p.m., Smokin with Chris in Southington will be hosting the New Hampshire-based act, The Christa Renee Band.
The band, which includes Christa on vocals and guitar, Jeff Costello on drums, Pete Gustafson on bass, Josiah Erikson on keys, and Michael Ryan on percussion, offers up a mix of reggae, soul, rock and dance rhythms to get you moving. But if you listen to the words, you’ll get a more personal insight into the band’s lead singer and chief songwriter.
We caught up with Christa via email to talk to her about her band and the upcoming gig in Southington.
Observer: First of all, how did you come up with your unique mix of musi- cal genres?
Christa: My mother is Jamaican so the Caribbean influence in my music comes from her and want- ing to connect with that part of my culture. Where I grew up in New Jersey was predominantly Hispanic so I grew to appreciate that culture as well. I also loved
2627 Thomaston Ave, WTBY
203-753-2233 Think You Can
llistening to all kinds of dif- ferent music since I was kid from ’80s pop to classic rock to dance to heavy metal to jazz to indie rock and world music and every- thing in between. I have a voracious appetite when it comes to music. When it
comes time to write music it’s all of these styles that come together in my head.
O: Why does this mix appeal to you?
C: From years ago when I started a band Licks and Kicks with my sister in N.J., we had the idea of put- ting all these different styles together to make a style that was truly unique. It’s just grown over time from that point.
O: You cite in your bio that your write intensely personal or political music. Why that and why not, say, to paraphrase an old song, “silly love songs?”
C: I transformed from just a guitar player and poet in college to a singer/songwriter in 2001- 2002. At that point, I lived in New York’s Greenwich Village and literally wit- nessed 9/11, took part in the antiwar protests, saw a documentary called “Life and Debt” about Jamaica and was working as a social worker (which I continue today) as my day job. It became hard to not want to write, to not want to sing and have voice in all that was happening around me.
O: At what point do you say to yourself that something that happens to you or you feel needs to be put down in a song?
C: On our upcoming EP “For the People”, the first song “Mentirosa” was writ- ten as a way of me gaining some power within myself over a negative situation with my ex. Also “The Struggle,” which is also on the release, was written ini- tially because my friend, a single mother, lost her job and was struggling to get by. Since I was a kid, I have written as a tool to express emotions I can’t always deal with in any other way.
O: But despite the seri- ousness of your message, you also liven it up with a dance beat. Why do you think it’s important to keep that dichotomy in your sound?
C: I love to dance. It’s such a freeing, joyful thing. The subject matter of my songs are usually somewhat serious but I want my music to be enjoyed. I want people to come to shows or to listen to the CD and have a good time. If they con- template the meaning somewhere along the way and connect on two levels I feel I’ve done my job.
O: What artists do you admire, not necessarily to imitate, but to emulate their strength of artistry and creativity?
C: Bob Marley. He’s the national hero to Jamaica and is so loved worldwide. He talks about every day people and his message is really positive. Despite heavy subject matter in my music, I try to incorporate some kind of positivity. Nina Simone, she has such power in her voice and artistry. I was able to see her play in Newark, N.J. before she died and she was such an amazing woman and performer. Also, I really like the Clash. I loved that they incorporat- ed different styles into their music including reggae, ska and dub. They also were very much about the every man and politics. We are by no means a punk band but we definitely have a punk heart.
O: Do you play strictly originals or do you have a select group of covers you like to explore?
C: We do play some covers, ranging from the ’60s to today. Some songs already fit with our origi- nals like a Bob Marley or Sublime tune. Other songs, we give the CRB treatment like a Nancy Sinatra song or Kings of Leon.
O: When your band steps up onto stage, what can fans expect from the evening? C: Good songs people
can relate to. Great musi- cianship. I have been really fortunate to find a dedicat- ed group of guys including local Michael Ryan from the infamous Highland Rovers, Jeff Costello, Pete Gustafson and Josiah Erikson, who together bring my songs to another level.We aren’t necessarily a jam band but we do go off on dub-inspired jams and their solos kill. I heard Smokin with Chris isn’t really a dancing kind of venue so I expect there will be a lot of seat dancing going on.
The Christa Renee Band plays at 8 p.m. at Smokin with Chris, 59 West Center St., Southington. For more information and a sampling of music from the band, go to www.reverbna- - The Bristol Observer

"Girl with guitar"

In a time when record producers and venue promoters hedge their bets on artists with more style than substance, it can be tough being a girl with a guitar. It can be difficult to break into a heavy rock-and-metal scene like Manchester’s, said Christa Renee Mansmann, an up-and-coming singer-songwriter who specializes in what she calls “Caribbean groove” accentuated by politics- and emotion-driven lyrics. But with more and more shows under her belt, she’s winning over local audiences with greater ease.
“I’m not tooting my own horn, but I think it’s enjoyable, it’s diverse,” she said. “Having played different places, people seem to be into it. If you’re into hard, heavy music, I don’t know if you’re necessarily going to dig that. But there have people that I know who have listened to my stuff and have been like, ‘Yeah, I can feel that.’”
A veteran of Licks and Kicks, a group she founded with sister Tara in New Jersey, Mansmann grew up in a house with a musical mother from Jamaica and in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood with diverse influences. Madonna and Michael Jackson in her youth and the grunge phenomenon in her late teens all helped the fledgling guitarist define her sound.
“I had these crazy influences all around me,” she said, “and it soaked in and now it’s spewing out of me.”
Helping her to deliver her melting pot sound are bassist Pete Gustafson, drummer Jeff Costello and percussionist Les Lumley. Gustafson currently plays in Scalawag, for whom the Christa Renee Band will open at Penuche’s in Manchester on July 17. For him, performing with a singer-songwriter like Mansmann is a way of branching out musically.
“I wanted to do something completely different from the bands I’ve been in, and I wanted to play a different kind of music than the kind I typically play,” Gustafson said. “I think that her style of writing is very personal to her, but the way it’s presented is very accessible to the listener.”
In her newest musical incarnation, Mansmann is continuing to write the type of politically charged songs that defined Licks and Kicks. In the wake of 9/11 and George W. Bush’s first term in office, the band was a way for the sisters Mansmann to voice their frustration with the world at the time. Eight years later, Christa Renee said she still likes to shed light on controversial topics in her songwriting.
“Not that I have anything against happy songs, but I think the music itself can be kind of uplifting,” she said. “If you have a chance to say something to people, I’d rather say something powerful or moving than waste that.”
Mansmann hopes to get her music across to more people when she steps into the recording studio this month under the aegis of Kenny Lewis, a producer based in Middleton, Mass.
“Because of the stuff that I do, it’s hard to find the right person that really gets it,” she said. “With [Lewis], I feel like we’ll get the quality song that we can get on the radio.”
She’s also careful to give equal credit to her bandmates. Currently a member of Crashgirl, Costello has drummed in a variety of bands across the Granite State but said that Mansmann won him over with her sense of melody, rhythm and overall musical feel.
“She’s got a nice, refreshing style,” he said. “She’s difficult to pigeonhole … I’ve been in other bands where producers listen to the demo and say, ‘How would we market you?’ Her stuff doesn’t all sound the same, but you can easily go from one song to the next on an album and it would make sense.”
In her own estimation, Mansmann’s sound has helped her carve a niche for herself: “I think I have a pretty unique style. There’s not a lot of what I do out there that I hear.”
The Christa Renee Band will play on Thursday, July 9, at The Blue Mermaid, 409 The Hill in Portsmouth and at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 17, at Penuche’s Ale House, 96 Hanover St. in Manchester. Learn more about Christa Renee at

- Hippo Press


"Mentirosa" is the first single off the EP "For the People" recorded at Indiefair Studios. It was recorded in late 2010 and will be released in 2011. Currently you can purchase cd's at shows or on

"Iron Lion" is a single produced by Kenny Lewis and recorded in the fall of 2009. Currently it is being played on independent and college radio stations in NH and MA.



Christa Renee Band plays a unique mix of reggae, soul, rock and dance rhythms set to memorable melodies and lyrics that range from political and social to intimately personal.
Christa Renee, the child of a Jamaican mother and American father, along with her top notch band gets the crowds on their feet dancing. The lyrics are strong, the beats are infectious.
Christa hails from NJ and put together this outfit out of a need to accentuate the strong world and dance rhythms at the heart of her songs. This group of seasoned professional musicians based throughout New England have committed to this project out of love and respect for the music.
Though mainly an original act, the Christa Renee Band has reworked and interpreted the songs from such artists as The Police, Bob Marley, Nancy Sinatra, Sublime, The Specials and Amy Winehouse.