Authentic reggae is in his blood

  • Simon White Contributed Photo/Carly Rae Photography

  • Simon White Contributed Photo

  • Rhythm Incorporated poses after recording at Northfire Recording Studio in Amherst, with Denroy Morgan, producer, and Garrett Sawyer, who helped with engineering duties. Contributed Photo

Recorder Staff
Thursday, January 25, 2018

WENDELL — Simon White, 27, crosses his arms and leans back. A dark hoodie shrouds his face from morning sunlight coming through the windows of Wendell Country Store. Around him, dishes clink as a few regular customers finish breakfast.

“Reggae. Hiphop. I write my own stuff. It’s all original. I’ve been playing music my whole life. My father was a touring musician. I grew up into the life,” says White, frontman for Rhythm Incorporated, a local reggae band.

Other band members are singer Giles Stebbins; Jamemurrell Stanley on drums; Andrew Atkins, bass guitar; Brian DiMartino, who plays rhythm and lead guitar; and keyboardist Jason Metcalf. White sings and plays guitar.

Wendell’s sparsely populated backwoods aren’t the first place someone would look when seeking reggae music, but White, who is clean cut with a gotee, fits in well.

He’s a local.

White was born and raised in the area, having attended Amherst Regional High School, and now lives in Wendell. His mother, Lorraine Chaisson, is from Orange but has lived in Wendell for most of her life.

Thus, performing next door at Deja Brew Cafe and Pub, where Rhythm Incorporated sometimes plays, is natural — as natural as White sounds when he’s spitting out smooth lyrics to a pulsating guitar rhythm and funky bass, a skill passed down from his father, Patrick White.

As a young man in the late 1970s, Patrick White “hitchhiked’ his way to Jamaica,” Simon White says, leaning forward to slide a salt shaker across the table. A musician himself, Patrick White, known by his stage name ‘Binghi Mon,’ traveled deep into the jungle and joined the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church, an offshoot of the Rastafari movement (which is intrinsically tied to reggae music).

After more than a decade in Jamaica, where he learned to make reggae music and native cuisine, Patrick White returned to the United States and toured as a professional musician. Eventually, in 2004, Patrick White founded a Jamaican restaurant in Iowa called Binghimon’s Caribbean Kitchen, which is still in operation today.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Simon White founded Rhythm Incorporated in 2011. Since then, the group has bolstered Franklin County’s underground reggae scene, performing shows throughout New England and at local venues like Bishop’s Lounge, Deja Brew, The Root Cellar and Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center. Rhythm Incorporated is also behind last year’s first ever Wendell Reggae Fest.

“I always wanted to be a professional musician,” White says. Rhythm Incorporated usually performs three times a month. White works part time in between.

When it comes to writing, White aims to create positive and uplifting lyrics. Music, at an emotional level, has the power the change someone’s actions, he says.

“I grew up struggling. And music was always a way out — a way to get above stress,” White says. “I’ve always tried to promote the message of love. It doesn’t matter what your skin color or religion is.”

Looking ahead, Simon White and Rhythm Incorporated have an EP scheduled to come out Feb. 16. And the second annual Wendell Reggae Fest “is in the works” for later this year, White says.

White’s group is scheduled to play at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center with the Alchemystics on Jan. 26, and at Bishops Lounge a few months later on March 24.

For more information, visit rhythmincorporated.com.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo