Meta and The Cornerstones
Born in Senegal, West Africa, lead singer of Meta and The Cornerstones, Meta Dia, discovered his love for music and desire to be a musician at a very young age. Listening to Reggae greats Bob Marley and Gregory Isaacs helped nurture his admiration and true appreciation for all types of music. As a self-taught musician, by age 14 he was performing on the street and stages of his hometown Dakar, Senegal. In 2000, Meta formed his first band YALLA SUUREN (God Bless), which was nominated for Best Hip-Hop/Reggae Group by the French Cultural Center the same year. Within two years, Meta had become one of the premier pioneering voices of the Hip-Hop culture in West Africa. After relocating to the United States, Meta immediately began collaborating with artists such as Sean Blackman, and Hip-Hop Ambassador Toni Blackman. Shortly after settling in New York City, he formed his visionary band, Meta and The Cornerstones.
With varying ethnicity, religion, and musical influences, Meta & The Cornerstones’ sound is a melting pot rooted in diversity, strength, and unity. Lead singer Meta Dia hails from Senegal; Israeli lead guitarist Shahar Mintz combines solid rock sounds and reggae with Algerian born Hocine Benameur on riddim guitar; classical schooled keyboard player Aya Kato has her roots in Japan; drummer Biguy grew up in Ivory Coast and bass player Rupert McKenzie represents Jamaica as they combine their creative differences from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean bringing togetherness, peace and understanding.
Meta and The Cornerstones channels Roots Reggae while simultaneously breathing new life into the genre, thus creating what critics have called a “soul-pounding spiritual experience” during their live performances. Inspired by Alpha Blondy and Lucky Dubee, they have shared the stage with Reggae stars Luciano, Steel Pulse, Clinton Fearon, Israel Vibration, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Gentleman and Tanya Stephens amongst others. In 2007, the band was personally invited by Senegalese-born international superstar Youssou N’Dour to perform at his annual African Ball concert at the Nokia Theater in New York. The following year Meta and The Cornerstones proudly released its first album entitled “Forward Music”. Of this work Clive Chin; Jamaican producer for The Wailers, Dennis Brown, and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, notes, “Meta and The Cornerstones have taken us back to the foundation of reggae music”.
As he continues to establish new grounds, Meta is now the first African artist to be signed to the iconic record label VP Records, the #1 source for Reggae Music. Through VP, Meta and The Cornerstones released their second album ‘Ancient Power’ on April 30th 2013. Recorded at the infamous Tuff Gong Studio in Kingston Jamaica, ‘Ancient Power’ links Africa to Jamaica by paying tribute to the ageless sounds of reggae preserved by the history of its legends. The 15-track work features Reggae legend U-Roy, as well as today’s leading artists Capleton and Damian Marley. The album was given many top 10 ratings by worldwide reggae websites like Reggaeville (#4 best reggae album 2013) , United Reggae, Worldareggae, Last FM and radio stations like Rythm Vault International in California and RFI in France. After the release of ‘Ancient Power’ Meta and The Cornerstones have been touring to promote the album in Europe, Africa and the USA playing on legendary reggae and world music festivals such as Reggae on The River in California, Summerjam in Germany, Mundial in The Netherlands, Gnaoua in Morocco, Musa in Portugal and Afro Pfingsten in Switzerland.
Latin Grammy nominee Luisa Bastidas gives the violin a unique sound. She was born and raised in Cali Colombia and migrated to New York City in 2000. She has mixed both of these worlds in her playing and adding the elements of singing and dancing to her repertoire. Turning her performances into a full show. Luisa Bastidas plays with the all girl Mariachi Flor de Toloache which latest album was nominated for Latin Grammy. She has shared the stage with Red Bull World Champion Dancer Bboy Neguin as the resident violinist for the Kinetic Junglist Movement founded by dancer Amy Secada. She has worked for both Emilio Estefan and Tommy Mottola’s artist throughout the years. StringsNskins is her personal project and her E.P ” Amazonian” will be released in 2016.