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Steel Pulse headlining reggae fest at Tico Time

Steel Pulse is headlining the Rise and Vibes Festival at Tico Time this weekend. (Courtesy of Steel Pulse)
Rise and Vibe to be held this weekend

“The people,” said David Elecciri Jr. with iconic reggae band Steel Pulse, when asked why the band is playing one of the smallest venues of their current tour at Tico Time River Resort, just south of Durango near Aztec. “It’s all about the people uniting.”

As the Rise and Vibes Festival at Tico Time begins, Durango and Aztec prepare for the Grammy Award winning reggae band Steel Pulse, led by co-founder and lead singer David “Dread” Hinds, longtime keyboardist Selwyn Brown, guitarist Elecciri Jr., and a host of other musicians, will perform in front of a crowd on the resort’s beach on the Animas River.

Steel Pulse began their current tour last week, marking the start with a performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. After shows in California and Texas, the group began their Colorado run Thursday at the Boulder Theater in Boulder and in Aspen on Friday before settling into Tico Time for this weekend’s performance.

If you go

WHAT: Rise and Vibes: Roots & Reggae, Rocking on the River.

WHEN: Friday to Sunday.

WHERE: Tico Time River Resort, 20 Road 2050, Aztec.

TICKETS: Various passes available. Visit https://tinyurl.com/4pd7kfpx.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit ticotimeresort.com.

Since the 1970s, Steel Pulse has been considered one of the most influential reggae bands in the genre. Founded in the Handsworth district of Birmingham, England, Hinds and other band members were born to Jamaican parents, heavily influencing the musical roots of the band.

After several popular but not commercially successful albums including their debut, “Handsworth Revolution,” the band hit it big with their 1985 album, “Babylon by Bandit,” which took home the Grammy for best reggae album that year.

For any band that’s been around for 50 years, one of the biggest challenges is staying relevant. Steel Pulse has tackled the challenge head on, not only continuing to produce studio albums, but also receiving four more Grammy nominations since 1985. The most recent album, “Mass Manipulation,” was released in 2019 and received a nomination for best reggae album. Hinds and the rest of Steel Pulse remain one of the most influential and streamed reggae bands, averaging 1.2 million monthly Spotify listeners, according to the streaming service.

Elecciri, one of the youngest – and newest – band members, said the secret to Steel Pulse’s continuity is the fact that the band is always moving ahead and looking forward.

“Next year, it’ll be the 50th year anniversary for the band,” he said. “The band is still at the forefront and it’s because of, I think, the mentality of David (Hinds) and so and wanting to keep going, keep progressing, never stopping this message ... And they don’t have any plans of slowing down.”

Unlike most of the band, Elecciri was born and raised in the United States. From San Clemente, California, he first began playing with the band in 2013, jamming and producing with them before going on a winter tour in 2014 with them. Despite being one of the newer Pulse members, Elecciri couldn’t be more aligned with the culture and message of the band.

Steel Pulse guitarist David Elecciri Jr. said the band isn’t slowing down anytime soon. (Courtesy)

“I think that’s really what we want to keep doing as a group is to keep everybody conscious and aware in the time that we’re living in and to come together to work together for peace, love and unity; peace through music and love,” he said. “So that’s what really the message is, it’s all about love, man, and peace, and being aware and staying conscious.”

Reggae music has always been about love and equality, and it makes it that much more important that Steel Pulse brings the genre and culture to smaller venues like Tico Time in New Mexico.

“To be able to bring these people in this demographic area together, that’s what it's all about,” he said.

The music isn’t done yet, either: Elecciri said fans can expect new material from Steel Pulse in the future.

“We have one album that’s ready to go. It’s actually a full eight dub album of our ‘Mass Manipulation’ album … It will be the first full-length album by the band, which is pretty exciting,” he said. “The artwork is really, really good and it’s gonna be on vinyl.”

This will be the band’s second new project since 2004, and the first full-length album they’ve ever done.

Finley Jeansonne is an intern at The Durango Herald. He is a junior at Animas High School.