House of David Gang
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House of David Gang

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Rock Reggae

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If you have a bad case of the winter blues and need to escape (if only mentally) to warmer climes, the Manhattan will be the place to be tonight in downtown Moncton. With previous appearances at prestigious festivals such as Evolve and Fredericton’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival under their belts, Toronto band The House Of David Gang is bringing their third annual Bob Marley tribute to the club. The show gets underway at 10 p.m.

Since forming more than a decade and a half ago, The House of David Gang is one of Canada’s top roots-reggae collectives, bringing the timeless Jamaican reggae sound of the 1970s and ’80s into the 21st century. Though the show is being billed as a tribute to Bob Marley, the group also plays select tracks from other reggae heavyweights including Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

“Bob Marley really was a light of the route for all races. He was such a unique person,” House of David Gang leader and native Jamaican King Selah starts from his Toronto home. “His message was always universal love for people and equality for all.

Asked what brought the various members of the House of David Gang together all those years ago, King Selah notes that it wasn’t as much musical compatibility as much as it was like-mindedness.

“The talent is definitely there amongst all band members but if you don’t really share the same focus, I don’t think you could really work together to get things done.”

King Selah encourages anyone considering attending the show tonight to bring a non-perishable food item, all of which will be collected for donation to one of Metro Moncton’s food banks. And in the spirit of giving, the band will in turn reduce your ticket price by $5 in exchange for the food item.

“By bringing a food item to the show, you are not only getting to help pay tribute to a musical legend but it is just a big part of the event to be able to give something back to the community.”

He elaborates on his last thought, stating, “Music itself is a positive thing and it’s the people who come out to support you that help make what we do worth it.”

While Marley fans attending the show can expect to hear some of the legend’s best-known and best-loved songs, King Selah says that the group will also be pulling out a few lesser-known nuggets from Marley’s catalogue to keep everyone on their toes.

Asked if anyone from Bob Marley’s estate has ever contacted them to give the group their blessing, King Selah confirms that it has not yet happened yet but he is confident that their tribute would be seen as a positive.

“I think that Bob Marley’s family would be proud to know that we are honouring his legend and music by playing it. If I were to write a song and someone else decides they like it enough to sing it, that is one of the biggest honours that I can think of.” - Times Transcript via MusicNerd.ca


The House of David Gang were in town on the 7th stop of their 8 show tour (spanning from Toronto to Charlottetown Town), to bring us their own magnificent renditions of tunes by the great Bob Marley.
It was like stepping back in time and experiencing the days of free love, free minds and uninhibited dance. - Noisography.com


“Reggae is something that’s positive, it touches your soul if you connect with the music.”

Josh Doyle

On May 11, 1981, at what’s now the University of Miami hospital, the world lost a musical icon. After an unsuccessful battle with cancer Bob Marley completed his last tour, performed his last live show and died at age 36 before he could make it home to Jamaica. Thirty years later his music is still celebrated, through playlists on iPods the world over and reggae bands that play covers to respect the legacy he left behind. One such band is Toronto’s House of David Gang. On a cold night last Thursday, Feb. 3, the reggae collective turned the first floor of Van Gogh’s into a welcoming getaway, offering the warmth of the island culture their music originated from.

“[I love] the truth about the music, the rawness. It’s real. Reggae is something that’s positive, it touches your soul if you connect with the music. Look at Bob Marley, look what he’s done,” said Michael Garrick, a Canadian reggae icon and special guest invited by the Gang.

The House of David Gang has been performing reggae anthems with frontman King Selah for Toronto crowds since the mid 90s. For a bass player who calls himself Snappy, the story doesn’t go so far back. Snappy started performing with the band after being introduced to their sound through the production side of business. At a time of uncertainty he was an obvious solution to a problem the group had been facing for a number of years.

“I started recording them, just doing demos and it was going really well, but they had constant bass issues. The bass player quit and I was there. It was a pretty easy thing to figure out,” said Snappy.

Snappy jumped on board the band’s project, seeing great potential in the way they breathed life into the reggae music they performed. After completing his first real tour with the band last year, an east coast trip that Snappy recognized as “sort of [his] trial,” he was solidified as part of the Gang.

Snappy has performed in Guelph before with past projects, including rock groups and live dub step performances, but this was his first time performing in the Royal City with a reggae accompaniment. He commented on the differences between reggae and other forms of music he’s experimented with.

“I always feel like it’s a different part of my brain. I think there’s a large amount of discipline that comes with playing reggae bass,” said Snappy. Not that he would suggest playing bass for other musical genres doesn’t require a similar level of dedication, but anyone who knows reggae knows how important a solid bass line is to making your hips move.

“If you can play the same bass line for over two minutes something starts to happen, I think it’s sort of a trance, something hypnotic,” said Snappy.

Snappy also made note of lead singer King Selah’s ability not only to capture the essence of reggae singing through performing the classics of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, but to write his own material as well.

“He’s been in the game for a long time, and I kinda feel in a way he hasn’t taken his creativity too seriously and I’m a huge supportive of it. I’m always encouraging him to write new stuff,” said Snappy.

Snappy is ambitious about putting Selah’s creative catalogue to work and focusing on making new material, but he still sees the unforgettable value in playing and celebrating work by one of music’s most valuable players.

“I’ve done a lot of traveling and no matter where I go there’s something consistent about the music: Bob Marley is playing everywhere.” - The Ontarion


Discography

King Selah - House of David 2003
Whatta Gwan Live 2008
Toronto, Ontario EP 2009
Come With Me EP 2010
Reggae Party EP 2011
Reggae Party Split 7 inch Vinyl 45rpm

Photos

Bio

House of David Gang is a Toronto-based reggae outfit that delivers late 70s and early 80s style Jamaican reggae originals mixed with folk, soul, calypso, afrobeat, hip hop as well as classic reggae material of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Formed in Toronto over 15 years ago, the band is fronted by seasoned reggae veteran King Selah – a fixture of the Canadian Jamaican Reggae scene - and members have included members of Resinators, Irie Band, Explorer Band, Revelation, Selassie I Power, Imagine Rainbow Warriors and many others.

Now featuring a new generation of talented artists alongside founding members King Selah and Collin "Jahlin" Edwards, House of David Gang is Canada's busiest touring reggae band. Rooted in the timeless tradition of Jamaican roots reggae from the 70s and early 80s as embodied by the immortal Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer; House of David Gang adds a potent mix of jazz, funk and afrobeat to create a true global reggae orchestra.

The House of David Gang takes its name from the legendary House of David afterhours on Queen Street West in Toronto, where King Selah, Jahlin and other artists from the city's burgeoning reggae scene would meet to jam until sunrise. Over the years, members have included players from essential Toronto reggae bands such as the Resinators, Explorer Band, Revelation, Selassie I Power and many more. Today, some of the Canada's finest reggae musicians & vocalists, such as 2-time Juno nominee Jason Wilson, 2011 Juno nominee Tonya P and Michael Garrick, often take the stage as special guests along side Selah (vocals), Jahlin (drums), Jay Cleary (guitar), Snappy Homefry (bass) and Todd Britton (keys).

In the last several years, "The Gang" has been one of Canada's busiest touring reggae bands. Their annual Bob Marley Birthday Tribute and Food Drive tour has become a staple of the winter music calendar across Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. In Toronto, hundreds of reggae lovers come out for their springtime Original Wailers Showcase and Peter Tosh Tribute. House of David Gang has performed in front of thousands at the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, Atlantic Jazz Festival, Evolve Festival, Nufunk Festival, The Word On The Street, Ottawa Reggaefest, Toronto Freedom Festival, and more.

Now, House of David Gang proudly releases its new single "Reggae Party". This King Selah original pays homage to the great reggae vinyl tradition, capturing the band's warmth, energy and passion for roots reggae as it was meant to be heard. On the flip side is "Right Now" by fellow Toronto roots rockers Friendlyness & The Human Rights.

King Selah - lead vocals & back up vocals

At the young age 17, Desmond Anderson moved to Canada from his home in Portland, Jamaica. He was immediately taken in by the gospel community and sang for many years in church and festival choirs. Upon staring his own group which he called “Selah”, Desmond Anderson become the voice of a resurgence of a roots rock style in Toronto playing frequently at the Bambu, Lee’s Palace, and El Mocambo.

In 1988, two local bands, (Selah and Imagine Rainbow Warriors) merged together. Desmond became King Selah, the powerful lead vocalist with a heart of gold and the band was now called: “House of David Gang” - named after a Queen Street West house those very members shared and used to the host after-hour reggae parties 1988 -1995. Over several years many musicians have been a part of The House of David and the group played a key role in developing some of Toronto's top session and reggae players.

For the past 15 years King Selah and the House of David Gang have hosted the Toronto Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer Tributes which have helped bring spotlight Toronto's burgeoning roots rock reggae scene. Now with a new line-up the House of David Gang faithfully recreates the soulful and classic roots rock reggae sound (Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh). The band is a certifiable reggae orchestra;