The weather outside lately has been up and down. One day it seemed as though spring had finally sprung, only to be slapped back to reality the next day by cold winds and overcast skies.
It is a teaser of nicer times, relaxing in the warm sunshine on a beach somewhere. There is not much time until every morning starts with a bright sunrise and clear skies, but if you’re like this writer and cannot wait for that time to come, you should check out Irie Minds at Mr. Roberts Saturday, March 10.
Irie Minds is a four-man reggae and pop group that came together a year ago at the University of Minnesota-Mankato music program. The group consists of David Ostrom (guitar/vocals), Carson Raethke (guitar/vocals), Sam Licari (bass/vocals) and Cayle Wendorf (drums/vocals).
While at school, the four met through various groups and realized they all had a passion for playing reggae. They also shared a dream of spreading reggae love to all who listen. To them, reggae is a music of happiness and easy-listening, filled with love and positivity, making it their goal to spread the love around.
“It allows me to get away from home, I love it there but the music lets me get away and enjoy the little things,” Ostrom said.
Irie Minds want to take their listeners out of their normal, everyday monotonous routines and transport them to somewhere warm and tropical, where they can relax and sip on a drink. Coming out of Minnesota, these goals make perfect sense. Many in the Midwest dream of warmer days, not having to work and fight against the elements.
Ostrom explained that is how reggae is structured — to show people who might not know they’re listening to reggae that they actually are. This plays into the writing process for the group when they’re hanging in the studio jamming, trying to pick out the dopest grooves.
“People may not realize that reggae is groove-based music,” Ostrom said.
Reggae is not exactly synonymous with Minnesota, but Irie Minds have found that the audience within the state is very receptive to the music.
This may have to do with the implicit, easy-listening nature of reggae. Just about anyone can appreciate a song that makes them feel happy inside.
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“Reggae isn’t simply specific to one group of people or one population,” Ostrom said.
The groupmates still live in Minnesota, some members finishing up their degrees at UM-Mankato, the others taking up residence in Minneapolis. This environment allows them to write from a perspective that reflects Midwestern culture and translate it into a reggae and pop sound that draws on inspiration from local acts like Lunar Funk Theory.
The music still connects to global audiences, creating a unique sound of their own.
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”It takes me to a happy place emotionally and spiritually,” Ostrom said.
That may be a large part of the music, Ostrom said. Irie Minds wants the listener to feel something emotionally or spiritually — perhaps less spirit than emotion, taking them out of the moment.
The group is on an upward-path — they have big goals of nation-wide tours that don’t seem far out of reach, even for a band barely out of their rookie season.
If you’re in the mood to hear some filthy grooves, head on over to Mr. Roberts Bar and Grill Saturday, March 10, at 10 p.m. and step into a world of easy-listening and relaxation.