Cornerstone Roots

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"Free Yourself" tour poster

Cornerstone Roots are one of New Zealand's premier roots-reggae outfits, based in Raglan. They have released albums called Soul Revolution (2002), Free Yourself (2007), and Future Is Now (2010), and two EPs, One Fine Day (2001) and Forward Movement (2004).

Formed in 2001 after a session at the local Raglan Musicians Club, the original Cornerstone Roots comprised singer/songwriter/guitarist Brian Ruawai (ex-Boil Up), drummer Turongo Dixon and bassist Naomi Tuao. The music at that time was raw and "riddim" focused with a mix of contemporary styled ska, roots, soul and reggae. The band quickly developed a strong local following with many of their early shows being filmed and recorded by fans. This prompted the band to record their first EP One Fine Day in 2001, and they then set about touring provincial New Zealand.

In 2002 Cornerstone released their debut album Soul Revolution. The album release was backed up with a 20 date tour of NZ ending at the Wellington Town Hall supporting Sly and Robbie. To date seven out of the eleven tracks off Soul Revolution have been playlisted on independent radio in NZ, with tracks also playlisted in Australia, Japan, Brazil and the USA.

"Free Yourself" cover art
2004 saw the band cross the Tasman eight times with the release of the Forward Movement EP. The band have had numerous members since its formation, including Jonathan Crayford (keyboards), Tafari Tavai (drums), Conor McCabe (backing vocals), Nicholas Stevens (keyboards) and Aaron Bush (percussion).

In 2010 the band travelled to Europe, touring for six weeks performing both club dates and festivals. The line up for this tour featured regulars Brian Ruawai and Naomi Tuao along with Te Whainoa Te Wiata (guitar), Lei Ahotaha (keyboards), Andre "Waka" Pere (drums) and 10 year old Reiki Ruawai, the son of bass player Naomi Tuao and singer Brian Ruawai. Reti Hedley (Knights of the Dub Table) has since joined the band.

Cornerstone Roots have supported some heavyweight reggae acts including Burning Spear, The Wailers, Spearhead, Toots and the Maytals, Sly and Robbie with Michael Rose, Jimmy Cliff, Lee "Scratch" Perry and Mad Professor. They have also recorded tracks with Ranking Joe and Big Youth.


One Fine Day cover art

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