Mosaic Foundation

Yao “Cha Cha” Foli (left) and Ken Luk during a Mosaic Foundation performance. 

Starting a band that writes original songs is such a difficult task because it really takes the perfect storm of different factors coming together at once. Everyone has to agree on things like the kind of music you would be making, the right message to convey, the purpose behind writing music, and how often and how far away concerts will be played.

That’s not even considering how the different personalities of the people within the group work together. All things considered, there are many hurdles to overcome. To be able to consistently face these different challenges as a group and keep moving forward for 10 years in almost unimaginable.

Mosaic Foundation proves it is not impossible however, as they will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary together as a band with a concert this Friday, October 12th, at The Range in downtown Ithaca starting at 9 p.m.

The six-piece reggae band’s long journey actually began when guitarist Michael Corey posted an ad on Craigslist in the summer of 2008. The ad mentioned he had written some music he would like to play and share, but that his main intention was to build a community and cultivate a group a people with like minded individuals, people who truly support love and unity. Drummer J.P. Nawn was the first person to reach out and was soon followed by guitarist Ken Luk. From there the band slowly added pieces until they became a nine-piece group which stayed consistent through the first few years. Corey noted that their original singer Laura Haykel and keyboard player Ekwem Bogmis played huge roles in the development of the band in their earliest days. Yao Foli (Cha Cha) joined the band in 2010 providing vocals and percussion and helped solidify their sound, message, and direction. Zach Dumrese has been engineering and dubbing since 2010, Aaron Sprague has been on bass since 2011, and keyboardist Lucius Snowden has been playing with the group since 2016. Corey also noted that Bryan Davis deserved a special shout out as well as he has provided percussion at various points along the way as well as guidance and advice to the band.

Mosaic Foundation credited a few things for being able to continue their journey for a decade above all else: a dedicated community of supporters, communication, love and respect. They said they owe most of the their longevity to their fans who have come out to their shows, bought CDs and merchandise, donated to causes they have supported, and spread the message of love and unity that their music represents and that the band wanted to center their 10 year celebration around those fans. They mentioned there are always going to be ups and downs and disagreements, but when there’s a family element, that can be set aside. This attitude opens the gates for communication in a way that is meaningful and constructive in staying on the same page.

Mosaic Foundation’s released their latest album, “Unity is Strength,” back in April of this year. The album speaks of how they have been able to make it over the past 10 years and how much the love and support of the community has kept them on track. The title of the album comes from the song “Catch a Fire” by Bob Marley and the Wailers which promotes ideas Mosaic Foundation can closely relate to. It highlights the idea of “the people of the world coming together over our differences rather than staying divided and separated.  We hope people can view the band as a mirror - people of varying cultures and backgrounds working together,” Corey said.

After looking back on the past 10 years and all the great music Mosaic Foundation has made over the years, it’s time to celebrate with the show this week at The Range. If their positive message and good vibes isn’t enough, for the historic value alone. It’s not a common thing to witness a group make it this long.

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