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"Katchafire Press Review"

Katchafire is a New Zealand reggae band from Hamilton in the Waikato region.

Katchafire formed in 1997 as a Bob Marley tribute band and later began writing and performing their own songs. They have released three albums: Revival (2003) which featured the highest-selling NZ single of 2003, "Giddy Up"; Slow Burning (2005) and Say What You're Thinking (2007).

The band's original lineup consisted of Haani Totorewa (keyboards, vocals) Tere Ngarua (bass guitar), Thompson Hohepa (guitar, vocals) Logan Bell (guitar, lead vocals) and Jordan Bell (drums).

Katchafire has been though many changes over the years with Tere Ngarua replaced by Ara Adams-Tamatea on bass and the addition of Jamey Fergusson (keyboards, sax, lead vocals) and Leon Davey (vocals, percussions).

For the second album Slow Burning the band was augmented by horn section Le Sexion with Feal (saxophone), Mols (trumpet) and Thomas (trombone) from reggae band Mr Gang of France.

There were further lineup changes in 2006: Adams-Tamatea left the band to become the group's booking agent and was replaced by original bass player Tere Ngarua, Thompson Hohepa also left the group.

The band began recording their third album, Say What You're Thinking, as a seven-piece at Auckland's York Studios toward the end of 2006.

The band has toured Australia, the UK, Europe, the US and New Caledonia and has played at festivals with international acts such as The Wailers, Mr Gang, Horace Andy, Moonraisers and Gentleman.

Their name was inspired by the Bob Marley and The Wailers album Catch A Fire. - New Zealand Times


1st Album: Revival
2nd Album: Slow Burning
SINGLES LIST: Giddy up, Who you with
3rd Album: Say What You're Thinking



Reggae is one of the bloodlines of New Zealand music, and the all-Maori band Katchafire has become its foremost advocate today. A family affair from day one in 1997, founder and lead guitarist Grenville Bell and sons Logan (lead vocals) and Jordan (drums) remain the core of the band. Transcending their origins in a Hamilton garage as a cover band, Katchafire took their Marley-inspired original music to the bars and clubs, building up a fan base of thousands. Their exceptional debut album, the prophetically named Revival, sold in excess of 45,000 copies ( more than double platinum in New Zealand) and they scored massive hits with songs like Giddy Up, the nation's biggest selling single of 2002-3.

After building on that success at home with the platinum follow-up "Slow Burning", Katchafire took a major step forward when New Zealand foreign exchange students Introduced their Kiwi reggae vibes to the fertile soil of the Hawaiian Islands. Underground popularity soon exploded onto the airwaves, and by the summer of 2006 Katchafire was topping the sales charts in the Aloha State and headlining at the 10,000 capacity Waikiki Shell. The past 2 years have found the boys giving their passports a considerable workout, from festival appearances all over Europe to increasingly successful mainland U.S. excursions. They now draw huge crowds all over the Pacific, from Australia to Guam and Saipan.

On record, Katchafire reached a new level of musical depth and maturity on 2007's "Say What You're Thinking". With jazz, pop, rock and even hip-hop influences enhancing a solid roots foundation, they scored their greatest American chart success to date with a #6 showing on the Billboard Reggae chart. Katchafire is well-known for trading instruments among themselves during their marathon live shows. That versatility is demonstrated as never before on this album, with no less than five band contributing songs and sharing lead vocal duties. Front man Logan Bell contributes four tunes including the instant classic love song "Meant to Be". Jamey Ferguson contributes his unmistakable raspy leads on four more, including the thoughtful title track and gospel-tinged "Doesn't Anybody". Percussionist Leon Davey shows off his vocal skills on "Now Girl" and "Love Letter", as does drummer Jordan Bell on "J. Dubb" and keybooardist Haani Totorewa with "This World".

2008 is shaping up as a momentous year in the history of Katchafire. At home, in January they shared the stage with acts like Rage Against the Machine and Bjork at the Big Day Out Festival. In February they open for UB40 and Maxi Priest on the Raggamuffin tour of Australia. And March finds them launching another U.S. tour with showcase appearances at Austin's South By Southwest Music and Festival, including one at City Hall. With the musical evolution evident on their latest release, combined with their relentless tour schedule and phenomenal live shows, It looks like only a matter of time before the whole world is Katchafire country.

"It’s a tribute to the global spread of reggae that a group like Katchafire can deliver such a great album in “Say What You're Thinking", with a depth of songs and cool musicality. Katchafire represents the best of reggae today, and it's out of New Zealand."
Dermot Hussey
Program Director XM 101
Over 30 years experience as a multi-media man, Dermot Hussey is co-author of Bob Marley: Reggae King of the World and producer of the Bob Marley interview released on Marley's album Talkin' Blues. Awarded a Musgrave Medal, a prestigious Jamaican award for services to media and music, Hussey has also contributed to Encyclopedia Britannica.

"Their live shows have already received legendary status. Contemporary international roots music at its best."
Chuck Foster.. The Beat Magazine, KPFK radio Los Angeles, noted author and reggae authority.

"Best New WorldBeat Artist 2007"-
Jammie Award, WYCE Radio