Suzie Harrison, Coastline Pilot
Using the feel of Laguna Beach as inspiration, Laguna-based band
Kumandon recently released its self-titled album.
“Kumandon really is a home-grown Laguna Beach project,” said Shane
Bruce of the band he formed with his friend Jim Orr, three years ago.
“It is born out of and captures much of the beauty, simplicity and
quality of Laguna life,” said Orr.
The band fuses talent of both artists.
“There’s a harmony, our voices blend well. It’s acoustic melodic based
music,” said Orr.
Adult contemporary and new world music best describes the genre and
sound of Kumandon’s soothing and soulful lyrics and music.
“The CD has many textures and layers. For example track four, ‘The
Night to Day’ is intimate and incorporates simple sounds of drums, bass
guitar, piano and organ. Whereas ‘Take You Down’ has 25 different
sounds,” said Orr.
Their music offers a backdrop sort of tone and isn’t intrusive.
Besides playing local coffee shops and venues, they’ve been asked by Mike
Tauber on the Arts Commission to play at the CAP fund-raiser for two
consecutive years. And they have played for various participants during
First Thursday’s ArtWalk.
The band adopted the name Kumandon because of its feel.
“Thousands of years ago people searched the world for the hidden city
Kumandon, for it was known as a sanctuary for the soul. A place where
differences were celebrated and beauty was found in each individual’s
uniqueness,” Bruce said.
Orr met Bruce about five years ago, while Bruce was playing local
coffee houses and venues. They became great friends and from there they
forged thoughts, philosophies and musical talents to become Kumandon.
Both had recently endured the death of their mother and wanted to come
to Laguna Beach because of its reputation as being in a way like the
“I had a desire to escape New York City and to recover from my mom’s
death. At that time I was being courted by Arista Records in NYC, well
known in the club circuit and was working on an album with Duke Rashkow
with Broken East Records,” explained Bruce.
When he came here he let go of the record deal.
Orr had been in Los Angeles for 13 years, and after his mother’s
death, he said he needed a new scene.
“I was the keyboardist in a L.A. rock band. Our band got signed to a
subsidiary of Arista, and afterward I was pushed aside,” Orr said.
Though they usually play as a duo, two other artists joined the band
for the release. Garrett Wolfe-Simon played bass and Jim Moreland was on
Kumandon did a limited four-song release to test the market and have
10 additional songs ready. A full-length release will be available within
the month. The first 100 will be sold in Laguna Beach at The Koffee
Klatch, Laguna Yoga, Washburn’s and in the Bubble Store inside Hotel
* SUZIE HARRISON is a writer for the Coastline Pilot. She can be
reached at 494-4321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.