Christchurch has been moved by a lot of things lately and that includes local 7-piece reggae band Merchants of Flow. This band has risen from the rubble of a city that is desperate for something positive. Amongst the constant aftershocks, stress and anxiety is a group of musicians who are out there helping people dance and making people smile. For months now Merchants of Flow have been doing their part for this shaken community.
When the earthquake hit on February 22 the boys of Merchants of Flow had a dilemma. Five of the band members were from other parts of the country and they had to consider the option of returning to their home towns and abandoning the young band. But the boys knew that there was so much potential with Merchants of Flow.
The drummer needed to return to his family in Taranaki but the rest of the band made a decision to stay. Bass player Christian Gallen remembers the struggle, “Before February 22 we were booked out for months at bars, festivals, weddings and were even supporting Salmonela Dub on their Christchurch tour but in a moment all of that was gone. We had no practice space and all our band gears were stuck behind cordons. And we needed a new drummer”. The story even appeared on I AM TV in June. It was unanimous that the band was keen to keep jamming and share their music with the people. So they found an incredible new drummer who has been involved in the Christchurch reggae scene for years and began the struggle to booking in some new gigs.
As soon as they could the Merchants offered their music to audiences who had seriously been affected by the earthquake in a number of post-quake benefit gigs. It has been months of hard work and now the band is in heavy demand across the South Island. They have been playing to crowds from Christchurch to Dunedin and are a regular floor-filler at Fox and Ferret Riccarton.
Merchants of Flow – Kerepeti Paraone, Marcus Aotea Abraham , Tihirangi Brightwell , H Kaa , Christian Gallen , Tahu Brown , and James Ferry – love making music and their enthusiasm is evident in their upbeat live performances which are enjoyed by all audiences.