|Young Katchafire fans at their show on Vail, Colorado, 11 June 2016.|
Photo: Katchafire FB page
Late last week Maori TV talked with Logan Bell of Kiwi reggae outfit Katchafire, following his comments on Facebook about his band's growing popularity in the USA was being ignored by local media - "If Dave Dobbyn was doing this he'd be all over the news (love ya Dave)..."
The band have been touring twice a year in the US since 2006, when they played a halftime show at an NFL (American Football) game in Hawaii to 50,000 people.
Bell says, “We had no idea we were big in Hawaii, or the mainland (United States), and we have been going back twice a year since,”
Bell has noted the resonance of the band’s music with ethnic minorities during the tour.
“A lot of our following are indigenous peoples, which we are all plugged into...Hawaiian, American Samoan, Tongan... a lot of Indonesians, Filipinos etc. We’re always proud to show off our culture and share the good vibes.”
....Bell is frustrated that the band’s US success has had little recognition from Aotearoa’s mainstream media outlets.
“I think mainstream media is somewhat aligned with our government and their agenda so it’s not on their priority list to show Māori people working hard and doing positive things, not only in their communities but abroad.”
Bell acknowledges racism plays a role in such attitudes but frames the issue as one of inequality and power.
“I believe racism exists in New Zealand and have had first-hand experience (of it) but I have never lowered myself to reacting to ignorance. It’s the higher stuff that gets me. It’s old guys sitting in their cigar rooms pulling strings... positive Māori role models never get heard or don’t make it to their full potential- that ticks me off the most.”
The band return to NZ soon for a run of shows in July, before heading off to tour Europe.
Katchafire singer claims US success ignored by NZ mainstream media