Members of Brotha’ Groove will perform in MoPOP’s upcoming Sound Off! competition. Not pictured: Igor Rudenko. Courtesy of Brotha’ Groove

Members of Brotha’ Groove will perform in MoPOP’s upcoming Sound Off! competition. Not pictured: Igor Rudenko. Courtesy of Brotha’ Groove

Finding its Groove: Local band to get funky at Firehouse tonight

Playing an instrument in school for many students typically does not go beyond just that.

But for a number of students, those years playing in the jazz band or marching band has led to more opportunities.

And in the next month or so, opportunities are exactly what the members of Brotha’ Groove will have to promote and gain exposure for their funk band.

The first opportunity will be at 7 p.m. tonight at the Old Firehouse (OFH) Teen Center in Redmond as the band will celebrate its “funkiversary.” The show will also mark the release of Brotha’ Groove’s new single, “1-800-FUNKIFY.”

“It’s pretty exciting,” said trumpet player Igor Rudenko.

OFH was where the band recorded its first funk tune and vocalist Elijah Reagan said going back to the venue is “going back to some of (their) best moments as a band.” He also expressed their appreciation for the staff and mentors they have worked with at OFH since they started.

The rest of the band includes vocalists Olivia Heale and Ryan Singh; Daniel Oliver, Nick Nerguizian, Wyatt Gardner and Chris Ron in the rhythm section and Sean Hakala, Ben Formantes, Adam Chmaj and Drew Butler in the horn section.

Band members are primarily from Redmond or other parts of the Eastside including Kirkland, Sammamish and Woodinville and either in high school or recently graduated.

Oliver, who plays keyboards for the group, credits school and district music programs, which is how most of them got their starts and met. He personally noted the influences of Andy Robertson and Eric Peterson at Redmond High School and Evergreen Middle School, respectively. Oliver added that this is why it is important to keep arts programs in schools going.

While most of the band members’ background is in jazz, they soon turned to funk shortly after forming. The band’s first show was in December 2015 at SoulFood CoffeeHouse in Redmond.

Reagan said following that show, they had an “explosion of writing.” Their first album is called “Unforced Mechanical Vibrations” and is available on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon.

Next month, Brotha’ Groove will be going up against 11 other young up-and-coming musical acts from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia, Canada in Sound Off!, the Musuem of Pop Culture’s (MoPOP) — formerly the Experience Music Project — 21-and-under battle of the bands competition. The band will be part of the third round of semifinalists and its performance is scheduled for Feb. 24.

All members will be participating in the competition except for Rudenko, who is 24.

Bassist Nerguizian also noted the significance of their being selected for the competition out of more than 100 entries into the competition.

“A funk band was selected,” he said as he and his bandmates acknowledged that funk musicians tend to be older.

As a result of the exposure from Sound Off!, artists have gone on to book performances at high-profile venues such as Bumbershoot, Sasquatch! Music Festival and the Capitol Hill Block Party.

Following Sound Off! Brotha Groove plans to record another album.

Since its formation, Brotha’ Groove has performed at events such as Redmond Derby Days and the Rockin’ by the River Outdoor Concerts, Hempfest and Taste of Edmonds.

Oliver said some of the band’s influences include George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic as well as Bootsy Collins and Earth Wind &Fire.

He said the members of Brotha’ Groove all have the same idea for their sound and wanting to discuss social issues in their songs like their musical influences.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

King County Courthouse adjacent to City Hall Park (courtesy of City of Seattle)
County council votes to take dangerous park out of Seattle’s hands

City Hall Park, next to the courthouse in downtown Seattle, has had multiple reports of crime.

stock image
Health care workers call on state’s hospitals to help mitigate staffing crisis

Health care workers unions claim hospitals have the resources to fix the issue.

file photo
Eastside Fire & Rescue says their response times will not be effected by absense of unvaccinated employees

Spokesperson says about 13 employees have left the department at the moment.

File photo
Do you need to pay for your COVID hospital stay?

Washington state law requires hospitals to provide free care for certain income brackets.

Stock photo
State AG Ferguson leads effort supporting local journalism

Federal legislation offers tax credits to subscribers, businesses and news organizations

C-17 at Joint Base Lewis McChord airstrip (courtesy of United States Military)
King County councilmember proposes program to aid transition of Afghan interpreters who served the U.S. overseas

Program would provide job training and learning opportunities for Afghan interpreters and advisors.

Vaccinations taking place. File photo
Inslee: No ‘massive disruptions’ as worker vax rates hit 90%

A surge in vaccinations has eased concern about service slowdowns ahead of a Monday deadline.

King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert (file photo)
Lambert removed from King County Council leadership roles

Lambert received backlash after her campaign used flyers that depicted her opponent as a puppet.

King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert (file photo)
After doubling down on “racist” flyer, Lambert publicly apologizes

Apology encouraged by King County Council colleagues.

Most Read