Jonah & The WhalewatchersReggae
The Monterey Bay’s premier reggae and world music group, Jonah and the Whalewatchers continue to bring positive musical conciousness and culture to dancehalls and festivals across California and the western US.
The Whalewatchers have been constantly active on the live music scene since 1990, and are still building on the foundation of a message of peace and love for humanity that is already understood and firmly rooted in the minds and hearts of reggae music fans worldwide.
It’s not surprising to see young and old people alike connecting with this heartbeat music that fuses Caribbean and African beats with American jazz, blues and soul to create a very unique sound that is most often identified as reggae. The band’s playlist also includes styles like calypso and soca and more modern dancehall reggae and ska and hip-hop tunes which are guaranteed to get people up and dancing!
The group was formed by soulful Jamaican bassist and singer Alex Shirley with some Carmel and Monterey locals in a series of friendly jam sessions, and finding common musical ground to build upon, other members soon joined the band, including guitarist Tracy Chesebrough, drummer John Tallon, steel pan and percussion player Cary Lowney, trumpet, keyboard and percussion player Bill Steacy and guitarist Tony Fusco .
|Keith Batlin`s vocals and harmonies cover a truly amazing range of styles and comlexities easily switching textures from honeysilk to smoke. In his voice you can hear traces of Al Green, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and Robert Plant. Keith was born in Carmel and raised in Seaside CA and Honolulu HI. Keith comes from a musical family and began playing guitar at 13 and tuba in the King Jr high and Monterey high school bands. He received a scholarship from The Monterey Blues Festival, recognizing young talent, and in 2000 he enrolled in The Musicians Institute of Hollywood CA. At that same time he and Adam Crowe founded their band Freesound which is based in HI but tours during Spring and Summer. Keith is from Seaside and attended 1 year of college at Musicians Institute in Hollywood with help of two Monterey Bay Blues Festival Scholarships (thanks in part to Lee Durley). He and two of his band mates have known each other since High School. He met their current drummer while attending Musicians Institute and they formed his first band FREESOUND . FREESOUND performed at the Monterey Blues Festival three consecutive years (2008-2010) and performed over 6 times at the Monterey Bay Reggae Fest. Over the years they have performed at the 50th Year Anniversary of the Monterey Pop Festival, the 25th Anniversary of Blues in the Park in Seaside (opening for Chris Cain), Baja Cantina, Turn 12, Fernwood, Monterey Brewing Co, Mucky Duck, Bullwackers (currently Coopers), Carbone`s and that is all just locally.|
Alex Shirley BandReggae
|My name is Alexander S. Shirley. I`m from Montego Bay, Jamaica, and I became a United States Citizen. I`ve played reggae and blues around California`s central coast, primarily in Carmel, Monterey, and Santa Cruz, for the past 25 years with different bands, including Jonah & The Whalewatchers I grew up in a musical family with thirteen siblings, and my mother and father. My father, Basil Shirley, was an accomplished drummer. He had a major influence on my decision to become a musician, and a Rastafarian. My father welcomed Haile Selassie I, the Emperor of Ethiopia, to Jamaica in 1966, by playing drums in the huge crowd of about 100,00 Rastafarians. Emperor Selassie I, is whom the Rastafarian Religion is based on. I learned to play many instruments including drums, and guitar, with bass guitar being my favorite. I joined my dad`s band, along with my brother, Prince Shirley. We played in Kingston, Montego Bay, Ochos Rios, and Negril in Jamaica, before playing for many years on several cruise ships. My first solo cd, "Turn It Up," is a reggae album, with a touch of blues, and rap. It includes fifteen songs which I wrote, sang, and played all the instruments for, except keyboards, and keyboard effects. The album includes songs with social relevance messages, as well as dance and love songs. "Turn It Up," is now available for sale in cd form, as well as downloading the entire cd, or just individual songs, on Amazon, cd baby, itunes, spotify, gracenote, CDDB, and several more online sites. CD BABY; http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/alexandersshirley|
Check out his video
|Voted “Best Musician” in Monterey 2008, by the Monterey Bay Coast Weeky. Local musican Tony Miles is, a righteous readers pick for the best local musician, which offers the uninitiated hint at just how much charisma and enthusiasm for entertaining the lanky one with the little guitar possesses. The reggae-rock-blues guy has more energy than Moss Landing and a contagious smile that fills any room. He is a must-see showman.|