By Cecelia Campbell-Livingston—
This is the fifth in an eight-part series on international reggae bands.THE Katchafire Band has come a long way f rom play ing club dates in their native Hamilton, New Zealand.

Katchafire Band of New Zealand.

Katchafire is a family affair. It was started in 2000 by lead guitarist Grenville Bell, father of lead singer Logan Bell and drummer/singer/songwriter Jordan Bell. He moved into an apartment building in Hamilton with his then teenaged sons and practiced non-stop.

The trio evolved into an eightpiece unit but now has seven members. They have established a huge following in the Pacific region and California.

In addition to the Bells, Katchafire includes Leon Davey (percussion and vocals), Jamey Ferguson (lead vocals, saxophone and keyboards, Tere Ngarua (bass guitar) and Hani Totorewa (keyboards).


According to Logan Bell, Katchafire is part of the thriving Pacific reggae scene. Jamaican music has been popular in New Zealand since Bob Marley performed at Auckland’s Western Springs Stadium in April 1979.

“Bob Marley visiting had a great impact on our people,” he told the Sunday Observer via e-mail.

They are working on a new album which they hope to release next year. Their last album, Best So Far, was released in June by VP Records/Greensleeves. To promote the set, Katchafire has toured the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, Brazil and the United States.

The band’s greatest ambition is to perform in Jamaica, birthplace of their musical heroes. They hope to one day play Rebel Salute or the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.