Whanganui based reggae band "Cool Meditation" opening act for Raggamuffin 2016

By Kimiora Kaire-Melbourne

Whanganui based reggae band “Cool Meditation” were one of the winners at the Raggamuffin Talent Search Final held on December 11, securing their spot as an opening act at Raggamuffin 2016.

Band member and back-up singer, Te Oranga Whanarere says, “We come from Whanganui. We have band members from Ohakune all the way down to Wanganui, there are 9 of us.”

A total of 20 New Zealand reggae and urban bands battled it out for the opportunity to perform at the largest reggae and urban festival southern hemisphere, Raggamuffin IX.

It was a heated competition but in the end, only one reggae and one urban act won the opportunity to be the opening acts, as well as receiving a $2500 cash prize.

Reggae bands around Aotearoa dream of taking the Raggamuffin stage, and Cool Meditation are no different.

“It was an opportunity to perform on a Raggamuffin stage, that being one of Cool Meditations ultimate goals. It was a 5 year plan that everyone had put together that we wanted to achieve,” says Whanarere.

And after only being together for around 2 years, the band has already reached their goal due to their recent success.

However, before making it to the finals, Cool Meditation had to get their foot in the door by proving they had what it takes at one of five heats held around the country.

Whanarere says, “There were auditions in different cities, and we went to the one in Hastings. You just auditioned, you had 15 minutes to show what you had. We had a judge there who was the organiser of Raggamuffin, and he made final call.”

There was no shortage of talent in the competition.

“We went on the show My Reggae Song as well so we knew some of the bands who were at auditions who were massive and we auditioned at Hastings together so that was pretty nerve racking! But we just had to focus on what we had to do.”

When Cool Meditation made it to the Talent Search Finals, they had no shortage of whānau support.

“We had about 30 people, 3 van loads went down to Porirua, it was mean!” says Whanarere.

The band can now look in to the New Year with the opportunity of a lifetime ahead of them.

“Maxi Priest, Ali Campbell, Diana King, UB40. It’s unbelievable we get to open for them! It’s so cool!”