Performing a fusion of roots reggae, world and dub music, Andru Branch recorded his Juno-nominated album with The Wailers, his critically acclaimed second album with Ziggy Marley’s rhythm section, and his award-winning recent album Step Into The Light with Bob Marley’s legendary Studio One bass player. Awarded “Inspirational Recording of the Year” at the 2012 Music Nova Scotia Awards, and nominated for “World Recording of the Year” at the 2013 East Coast Music Awards, Andru Branch continues to inspire fans around the globe, promoting equal rights and social justice. His music is gloriously hypnotic and his message is positively uplifting.
Internationally celebrated Canadian reggae troubadour Andru Branch recorded his Juno-nominated album with The Wailers, his second album with Ziggy Marley’s rhythm section and his award-winning new album Step Into The Light with the Halfway Tree reggae band, featuring Bob Marley’s legendary Studio One bass player Brian “Bassie” Atkinson.
Born in the sleepy university town of Sackville, New Brunswick on Canada’s east coast, Andru Branch migrated to Toronto as a youth, where he studied saxophone before taking up piano. Growing up in Canada amidst a diverse range of musical influences, Andru became immersed in a vibrant Rastafarian community, where he learned the nuances and rich cultural tradition of roots reggae music.
Andru assembled and ever-evolving line up of players, until he found himself working with Canada’s top Jamaican reggae musicians, performing throughout the 90s at Toronto’s legendary Bamboo Club. Andru’s growing fan base was fueled by a uniquely Canadian sound, incorporating influences of African, Indian, Latin, psychedelic rock and dub music.
Andru signed his first record deal with independent Jamaican label Kingston Muzik in 1996, where he recorded his debut album with “Family Man” Barrett and “Seeco” Patterson of The Wailers. In 1998 Andru performed “one of the most outstanding performances at Reggae Sunsplash” (The Sunday Herald, Kingston), while the album went on to be nominated for “Best Reggae Recording” at Canada’s Juno Awards in 2000. Distributed by Paris based boutique label Tabou 1, What If I Told You received international airplay.
Branch returned to Jamaica to record his second album with Ziggy Marley’s rhythm section, where he performed at Sting 2001 – “the greatest one night show on earth” on percussion, backing the likes of Sean Paul and Vybz Kartel.
Released in 2007, the first single “Bring Back Real Reggae Music” received international acclaim, while the second single “Ease Off The Pressure” sat at number one for four months on Galaxie radio. Canada’s music authority Exclaim! Magazine called it “nothing less than stunning”.
Named after the bustling music district in Kingston, Andru Branch and his group “Halfway Tree” had their first underground hit single in 2009 entitled “My Jamaican Weed”. Andru returned to Jamaica that same year to record his next single “Rocksteady” with veteran reggae pioneers Earl “Chinna” Smith and Studio One drummer Joe Isaacs, to critical acclaim.
In 2012 Andru played percussion with the Warrior Love Band at Jamaica’s premier reggae festival Rebel Salute, backing many reggae superstars including Tony Rebel and Queen Ifrica.
Andru Branch & Halfway Tree were awarded “Inspirational Album of the Year” at the 2012 Music Nova Scotia Awards for Branch’s third album Step Into The Light, for which they were also nominated for “World Recording of the Year” at Canada’s East Coast Music Awards in 2013.
Andru Branch has been working with legendary Jamaican Studio One bass player Brian Atkinson since 2002. The group showcased at the 2013 International Folk Alliance Conference in Toronto, followed by a showcase at East Coast Music Week, and a performance with The Wailers at the 2013 Halifax Jazz Festival. Branch joined The Wailers on percussion at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in September.
Branch toured Jamaica with the Warrior Love Band in the summer of 2014, including performances at Sumfest 2014 and Rebel Salute 2015, backing such notable artists as Sizzla, Junior Reid, Cocoa Tea, Richie Spice, Freddie McGregor, The Mighty Diamonds and Israel Vibration.
Andru Branch & Halfway Tree continue to inspire fans around the globe, promoting equal rights and social justice. There are few groups that consistently deliver such an authentic, bass-heavy, richly textured, roots reggae sound. Their music is gloriously hypnotic and their message is positively uplifting.