Special to The Record
The New Groovement, a Victoria-based funk, soul and hip-hop band with roots in Port Alberni, are ready to have audiences dancing with their 11-piece ensemble at a Cumberland music festival happening this weekend.
The Atmosphere Gathering is a three-day festival, taking place in the Village of Cumberland from Friday, Aug. 19 to Sunday, Aug. 21 that features a variety of live performances, DJ’s and workshops. The New Groovement will be kicking off the festival on Friday at 7 p.m. on the Atmosphere Stage.
Two of the 11 band members are originally from Port Alberni—trumpet player Dave Chase and trombone player Jason Dolynny—but the majority of the band resides in Victoria.
The New Groovement was formed close to four years ago when Reuvan Sussman, drummer, band manager and organizer, moved back to the Island from Ontario and wanted to style a band featuring his favourite musicians.
“When I came back I had this community of musicians and I assembled my favourite people from all these different bands that I was playing with,” Sussman said.
The New Groovement includes four horns, congas, timbales, bass, drums, guitar and vocals—led by Steph Wisla and her partner-in-rhyme the Danimal House—that Sussman says is a musical merger sure to keep the crowd dancing.
“We try to get people to sing along and we try to do crazy dance moves,” Sussman said. “We will co-ordinate outfits and it’s just a good time.”
The group plays a blend of original tunes and brings a variety of influences to the stage from the band’s 11 members.
“Everybody has their own influences to contribute. I like to say we’re kind of a cross between the instrumentation of The Roots, danciness of Jamiroquai, and the soul and funk of Aretha Franklin,” Sussman said.
Making their mark in B.C.’s music scene, The New Groovement won the 2016 Album of the Year at the Vancouver Island Music Awards for their first full-length studio album, The Orange Album, that was produced with the help of well-known Vancouver Island producer, Joby Baker.
The group has been nominated for Urban Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards that will be announced in October, and last summer they were named band of the year by Victoria radio station, The Zone.
They’ve played at plenty of festivals and well-known venues around B.C. since their inception, including Tall Tree Music Festival, JazzFest in Victoria and Nanaimo’s Longwoodstock.
Sussman said the band is thrilled to be playing at this year’s Atmosphere Gathering.
“I would say it’s going to be one of our biggest highlights this summer and the band is really excited about it.”
Dave Chase, New Groovement trumpet player, grew up in Port Alberni and said the band has also played several shows in the Valley, including the Alberni Canal Downwind Challenge at Canal Beach in June, and will be onstage at this year’s Salmon Festival on Sunday, Sept. 4.
“We are a dance band and we like to kind of put on a bit of a show so we have audience participation,” Chase said.
Chase said the band will be active on Twitter and Instagram during their time at the Atmosphere Gathering using the hashtag #NGMatmosphere. Folks can tune in to check out the band’s behind-the-scenes shenanigans.
For more information on this weekend’s Atmosphere Gathering, visit www.atmospheregathering.com.