Holding on to Jah is a collaboration of Roger Landon Hall, Harrison Stafford and countless others.
Roger Landon Hall, Director/Editor/Cinematographer. Holding on to Jah is Roger’s first full-length feature film. While enrolled in the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Roger worked as videographer at KPST San Francisco, one of the leading Chinese television stations in California. As a non-Asian, non-Mandarin speaker, Roger found a common language with the largely Chinese staff and audience in his striking visual images. After graduation he worked as a freelance producer/editor producing music videos and independent film shorts. His innovative editing style caught the attention of CNET where he was hired as a Producer/Editor to develop original video content for TV.COM. Roger co-produced Turbo Vision, Burning Questions and Back Story which received honorable mention at the 2008 Webbys.
Born in Reno, Nevada on November 10, 1977, Roger’s early childhood was spent on cattle ranches and dairy farms. These childhood experiences came to define Rogers’s deep sense of connection to the natural cycles of life and the importance of our individual roots.
A defining moment came at the age of thirteen, when he casually picked up his great aunt’s classic Gibson guitar. As his fingers found their way over the strings he discovered that the sound they made resonated deep within. The more he played the more he enjoyed music. He found that to him music could be an individual meditation, a collaborative expression and a celebration. Roger’s passion for music connected him into a group of fellow students at Amador High School in Pleasanton California. There he became good friends with Holding on to Jah co-producer Harrison Stafford.
Roger’s interest in film as a profession came while attending college in Santa Barbara, California. He later transferred to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where he graduated in 2005 with a degree in film production with a focus on editing.
The genesis of Holding on to Jah can be traced back to when Roger returned to the Bay Area, and reconnected with his Amador High friend Harrison Stafford in 1999. Harrison had by this time founded the Reggae band Groundation. Harrison and Roger realized that they shared a mutual interest in Reggae music. For the two friends, Reggae was not merely a style of music but a deeply felt expression of the human spirit.
Out of this shared passion was born the idea to merge their talents, and to bring the essence of Reggae to the world in a format that combines the sights, sounds and faces of Reggae. It is Roger’s belief that the there is no better time than now for the world to hear the messages of hope, heart and humanity that are the Roots of Reggae.
Harrison Todd Stafford was born in 1977 and grew up in the town of Pleasanton, an east bay suburb of San Francisco. He attended regular public schools and also spent time in Synagogue studying the Torah and learning Hebrew. His parents have a deep appreciation for the love of music and music played an important role in the daily life of the family.
For reasons even he can’t fully explain, Reggae music and its’ history touched him at a very young age and sparked a love of the rhythm and culture of the African Diaspora. Still in high school he began to wonder why Reggae music, coming from a relatively small group of poor black people, was such a powerful voice for equal rights and justice, and he longed to be a part of that worldwide struggle.
After graduating from high school, Harrison studied jazz at Sonoma State University where he met fellow jazz students Marcus Urani (keyboards) and Ryan Newman (bass). Together they formed the fusion Reggae group Groundation in 1998. Groundation has since become one of the leading conscious bands of the underground music scene having released seven albums of original music and participated in countless world tours. Harrison continues to be a driving force behind Groundation both in his role as lead vocalist and in his creative ability to develop exciting new music.
Drawing on his personal research and his travel experiences in Jamaica and Africa, Harrison created a college level course titled “the History of Reggae Music”, which he taught at Sonoma State University from 1999-2001. The course was unique in that it took students who maybe just recently heard of Reggae music or only knew it from the popularity of Bob Marley and helped them appreciate the music on a deeper level; helped them understand how the music and message really defines who we are and where we stand in this time.
Today Harrison continues to write music and tour with Groundation and to get involved in other projects that help spread the music and the message. He recently released a jazz influenced album call “Rockamovya” and currently, he is collaborating on a documentary film on the history of the Rastafarian movement and Reggae music; entitled “Holding on to Jah”.
For more information on Harrison Stafford and Groundation visit website: www.groundation.com.