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Kumandon for the soul

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