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Respect | Chala

Irie™ Magazine | Respect - Chala


Based on the island of Maui, the band CHALA is a collective of extremely talented musicians from around the world. Their sound is melting pot of Reggae, Rock, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Latin grooves. The band has released three music videos for the songs ‘Can’t Stop Smiling’, ‘New Beginnings’ and ‘Let It Rain’.


Chala’s beginnings start with writer, musician and producer Benjamin Cerda. Benjamin was born in South America Chile but raised in Northern California. Influenced by his musician parents, he couldn’t help but to pick up the guitar at an early age. Like all kids, Ben went through different phases of musical genres. Night after night listening to his parents different records, artist’s like The Bee Gee’s, The Beatles, Earth Wind and Fire, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, B.B King and of course his Mom’s favorite ‘Salsa’.

After learning and studying all these styles for so many years, he finally came a cross an artist by the name of Bob Marley. A whole new door opened up for him, ‘Reggae’. As any reggae fan would, Ben discovered other bands like Steel Pulse and UB40. Mixing reggae with his rock, blues, and latin grooves was the beginning of a new style, that he likes to call ‘CHALA’.

At the age of eighteen, Ben moved to Maui Hawaii to build with his father. He immediately fell in love with the island, its love for reggae music and of course ‘Da Surf’. After the house was built, he decided to work and live on his own. Working as a waiter in a fine dining restaurant and playing music on the side, which lasted about two years.

At this time, his South American roots had been calling him. It was time for a change, the thought of learning spanish, playing latin music and meeting the other half of his family was extremely inviting. So, he packed his bags, jumped on a plane and in 24 hours he landed in a foreign country that immediately felt like home. What he thought would be a three month trip, turned into seven years.

Describing Chile in his own words “Chile is full of life, music and culture, surrounded by passion and love”. He thought he would never leave.

After building several houses with his father, snowboarding year round and playing live music on a frequent bases, his life got flipped around after one phone call. Ben’s mother was fighting cancer. There was only one thing to do, drop everything he was doing and move back to America to take care of her. Ben and his brother Sebastian wanted to give their mother the best. So, with know hesitation they brought her to Maui Hawaii. The whole move was a blessing in disguise. Bibi brought Ben back to Maui!

Since then Benjamin Cerda has been living on Maui and living the dream. For four years Benjamin played bass for The Alliez which played countless shows through out Hawaii, and two West Coast tours which included Reggae on the River twice. After playing and touring with several bands from both Maui and California, Ben decided to start his own project ‘CHALA’.

Trying to find the right players was not easy, but in the beginning of 2013 Ben put together a five piece band that has clicked ever since. On lead vocals and guitars Ben Cerda, on bass guitar Kana Pikini, on keyboards and vocals Andrew Hubbard aka Dooby, on drums Jimmy Cui, on back up and lead vocals Yaya Evelyn. All of these musicians are very well known on the islands of Hawaii.

At the same time, Chala has collaborated on and off stage, and in the studio with artists like Irie Dole, Jordan T, Lawaia, Lion Fiyah, Jeff Hornbeck, Becki D, Paul Bunaun, Hector Serrano, and Calvin Canha of Inna Vision. On and off stage Chala has an energy so positive and contagious, you can’t help but want to be apart of it.
In the winter of 2013, Chala recorded there first Single ‘Dawn Patrol’, which immediately attracted attention through out radio in Hawaii. Soon after that they released the single hit ‘New Beginnings’ which stayed on radio rotation all of 2013. Soon after that, Chala released ‘Can’t Stop Smiling’ which went straight to #1
requested song on Q103 Maui Radio. In March 2014, Chala released their first full length album ‘Walk This World’, produced by Ben Cerda and Jimmy Cui of Rumble Rock Recordz. The album is a mix of reggae, R&B, rock and folk. Since then, ‘Walk This World’ has gotten world wide attention and continues to get play on radios in Hawaii, California and South America.

In December of 2014, Chala’s lead man Ben Cerda went on a solo acoustic tour that started in Austin Texas and ended in San Diego California. In April of 2015, Chala released the new hit EP ‘Peaceful Farmer’, which included Hawaii’s #1- 420 song ‘Smokin Trees’ featuring Irie Dole and Yaya Lioness.

Since then, the EP has attracted worldwide distribution, and Chala promoted the new EP in May of 2015 with a four month tour through South America Chile and Argentina.

In January of 2016, Chala released the hit single ‘No more Friction’ featuring Lion Fiyah, which received play through out Hawaiian radio’s. In the mean time, Chala is in the middle of recording their next full length album at Bassyard Studios on Maui. Chala is currently playing shows locally on Maui. Stay tuned for further dates and locations.

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