"Groundation" comes from the Rasta term "Grounation". Grounation Day (April 21) is an important Rastafarian holy day, and second after Coronation Day (November 2). It is celebrated in honor of Haile Selassie's 1966 visit to Jamaica.
Formed in the fall of 1998 by Harrison Stafford, Marcus Urani, and Ryan Newman, they began on the campus of Sonoma State University's Jazz Program. In 1999, Harrison Stafford teamed up with Kris Dilbeck to found Young Tree Records and release Groundation's debut album Young Tree.
In 2000 they added to the line up David Chachere, a San Francisco-based jazz trumpeter, and Kelsey Howard, a North Bay trombone player, saxophonist Jason, drummer Paul Spina (Les Claypool, Will Bernard's Mother Bug), Kim Pommell and Kerry Ann Morgan, vocalist Jhamiela Smith, daughter of legendary reggae guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith, and Kim Pommell.
The nine-piece band creates an altogether new reggae sound, and soulful harmony vocals. Their concerts utilize live improvisation, and are renowned for their high energy, communion-type atmosphere. Having gained international notoriety for their progressive fusion style, Groundation regularly plays at major international festivals like Summerjam.
The band use analog instruments and recording equipment rather than digital, with Stafford explaining, "No digital, we don't work with synthesisers. Just like in the 1970s we stick to that format."