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TRIBAL THEORY – A REGGAE BAND WITH A GUAM BEAT!

San Diego-based reggae band Tribal Theory just released its first full-length album "Hell of a Night" on iTunes. The band has members with Guam roots, including manager Frank Aguon.

San Diego-based reggae band Tribal Theory just released its first full-length album “Hell of a Night” on iTunes. The band has members with Guam roots, including manager Frank Aguon. / Photo courtesy Tribal Theory——-
By Lacee A.C. Martinez——–

Tribal Theory, a reggae band based out of San Diego and with Guam ties, recently released its first full-length album, "Hell of a Night."

Tribal Theory, a reggae band based out of San Diego and with Guam ties, recently released its first full-length album, “Hell of a Night.” / Photo courtesy of Tribal Theory

TRIBAL THEORY

•Aberay “Ajay” Blount, lead vocals

•Dominic Blas, ukulele/vocals

•Edrick Clark, bass

•Henry “Kiki” Curiel, keyboards

•Nico Tuilesu, drums/vocals

•Paul Bowen, keyboards

•Peter Paul Guerrero-Cruz, guitar

•Seuko Hawkins, lead vocals

With its smooth reggae styling, Tribal Theory has been entertaining southern California audiences for several years now. Last week, the band released its first full-length album on iTunes, hinting at its strong Guam connection.

The band is ready break beyond its hometown San Diego limits and is battling for a spot in a TV music contest. Your Facebook votes could help the San Diego band grab the NBC SoundDiego LIVE contest, “Garage to Glory.” Tribal Theory has been going neck-and-neck in votes with another band for a chance to perform at the next SoundDiego LIVE concert on Aug. 30, and to appear on news and TV spots on the southern California station.

A year ago, the reggae band performed at the Vans Warped Tour when it hit San Diego, winning the battle of the band contest.

“We’re stoked and we’re excited,” says lead singer Aberay “Ajay” Blount, whose mother originally is from Guam. “Whether it’s something like the Warped Tour, which was pretty big for us, or a competition we’re doing now based out of San Diego, we’re glad for anything we can do to let people know we’re out there.”

Chamorro heritage

Blount is one of a handful of Tribal Theory members, including manager Frank Aguon, with Chamorro heritage.

“My mom was born there — a Paulino from Inarajan. And back in the ’60s, my grandmother was Liberation queen,” Aguon says. “I have a lot of family in Malojloj and Talofofo.”

The Guam connection led to the formation of the band back in 2005, he says. The original members, including Blount and ukulele player Dominic Blas, were part of Imahen Taotaotano, a dance group formed by Frank Rabon, the master of Chamorro dance.

“We started incorporating the ukulele into our cultural dancing,” he says. “That kind of dancing — and barbecuing — kind of led to us forming Tribal Theory. If we didn’t start dancing, we would have never started Tribal Theory.”

Blas also still has family from Guam, including Sen. Frank Blas Jr. who’s running for delegate.

Other members with Guam relations include lead singer Seuko Sablan Hawkins, keyboardist Henry “Kiki” Curiel and guitarist Peter Paul Guerrero-Cruz.

Guerrero-Cruz was part of the reggae roots band Table for 5 back here before moving to San Diego for school in 2010.

The band tries to represent its Guam and Pacific Island heritage, often sporting Guam clothing brands. On its new album, “Hell of a Night,” featuring all original songs, the track “If it’s Real” also is dubbed “Chelu Song.”

On its first day of release, “Hell of a Night” came in at No. 12 on the iTunes reggae charts, a big accomplishment for the group, Aguon says.

The band has developed a large following in San Diego and has become a hit with many Guam and Pacific Island groups on the West Coast through the last seven years, although it hasn’t had a chance to perform on Guam, he says, adding that it’s a goal once they can secure the support and sponsorship to get to the island, Aguon says.

“We want the island of Guam to know that we’re proud Chamorros and we’re really trying to promote that, giving Guamanians something to be proud of in the music industry,” he says. “Our goal is to be out in Southern California, through the mainland, the world — especially Guam and Hawaii.”

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