Band promises ‘something a little different’ at first live gig
Jaishelbi Johnston and Peter Roser met on Instagram during an island-wide Covid-19 lockdown.
Inspired by each other’s music, the two guitar players decided to form a band. Bass player Zaren Bennett and drummer Rollin “Nate” Nathan joined them; Tylar Jones signed up as “bassist in training”. The Resonance Band was born last year.
Their first performance is this weekend, backing singer Chinyere as part of Soulful Sundays, Buna Gallery and Coffee House’s live entertainment series.
“I think people should come out if they're looking for something a little different – if they're looking for a fresh take on songs they may be familiar with or if they want to be introduced to new songs, different genres – and to have a good time with music,” Jaishelbi said.
“[Resonance is] influenced by an eclectic mix of genres including neo-soul, R & B, reggae, rock, funk and more … Each musician brings their own flair and, together, the energy culminates into an experience that you do not want to miss.”
She started off playing a classical guitar in high school, 13 years ago. In 2019 she switched to an electric guitar and began taking lessons with the Bermuda Music Centre.
“I switched to electric, thinking it was a step up from classical/acoustic, but I have come to realise that they are all different styles, and that if you want to play a specific type of guitar you should just go for it,” Jaishelbi said.
Peter got his start in church where he would “listen to the band and sing along”.
He was 14 when his grandmother bought him a guitar and paid for music lessons.
“He has experience playing in multiple churches and group settings,” Jaishelbi said. “Through this experience he is able to be the musical director for Resonance, altering the styles of songs as he sees fit. He specialises in funk, R & B, neo-soul, rock, classical guitar and jazz.”
The couple met after an acquaintance sent Peter a video Jaishelbi posted of herself playing guitar.
“He reached out about potentially collaborating and we had a video chat the next day,” said Jaishelbi.
“Peter’s goal was to start a group where younger musicians could play together and improve their skills, so we organised a jam session and it evolved into the band you see today.”
He called his friend Tylar, who had been playing bass for less than a year but was excited to have the opportunity to practise with more experienced musicians.
Jaishelbi invited Zaren, a work colleague who took piano lessons from the age of five for about seven years before picking up the steel pan band while a student at the Bermuda Institute.
He started performing weekly at the St George’s Seventh-day Adventist Church and in his free time picked “up other instruments on the side”.
Today he plays bass, piano, steel pan, drums, trombone and saxophone.
Excited about the band, he invited “his longtime friend Nate” who “has been playing drums for so long that it’s hard for him to put a time frame on his experience” and also plays piano.
Having never performed before a crowd together, the band is excited about this weekend’s show although Jaishelbi admitted to also being a bit nervous.
“But also I’m just happy performing with the band because we get along really well. It’s a lot easier to do this with them than by myself,” she said.
Their hope is to encourage people 30 years old and younger to “pick up an instrument”. Mindful of the pandemic, they are appreciative that they are able to perform live.
“You never know when the next Covid wave will be so we take it day by day and enjoy every moment we get to play together,” Jaishelbi said.
“We hope to inspire other people our age and younger to pick up an instrument if they have any inclinations towards music.
“Music is a great vehicle for expression, and can help you to deal with negative emotions in a constructive manner as well as help you to connect with other people too.
“Being in a band really is the epitome of the saying ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’, and it’s an experience that we’re all grateful to have. We also hope to help revive the live music scene in Bermuda, and to put on a good show.”
The Resonance Band will back the singer the Chinyere at Souful Sundays this weekend. Also performing are Sinead and Da’Khari Love with special guest, Heather Nova. Showtime is 7pm at 30 Main Road, Sandys. Tickets are available at www.hook.com; email@example.com; 261-2862. Follow Resonance (@renosancebda) and Buna Gallery and Coffee (@bunagalleryandcoffee) on Instagram and Facebook