“I am always inspired when I see young talented musicians, playing real instruments while at the same time embracing the rich history of this continuum called music. Exploding onto the scene from the horn of Africa with individual members as diverse as their incredible sound; LONE TREE hits you with a powerful blend of the revolutionary elements of rock and reggae. As an ensemble they move as one lion pride all led by a mighty lioness. Their energy both on stage and on record is a force to behold!” – Harrsion Stafford of Groundation
Lone Tree is the rock band you never expected. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, this group of 5 expat teens formed in 2016 to create a high energy, powerful sound that is both contemporary while firmly rooted in their influences from classic rock, funk, reggae, and the legacy of great, live music.
For the first 4 years, the band was named Refuge which represented what they were all about: an escape from shallow, inauthentic music. Originally meant as a joke, it ended up symbolizing their drive for social progress as well as their origins as “development kids”.
Then something changed during the pandemic. 4 years together developed their skill and creativity but being hit with the biggest challenge imaginable determined their identity and purpose as a band. They worked intensively on their sound, songwriting and the message, letting their musical influences serve as inspiration rather than dogma, and developed their own contemporary interpretation. This all happened in their home studio on Lone Tree road and the band knew it had to mark the moment… hence the new name, Lone Tree. To the band, roots are as sacred as the principles you believe in.
Lone Tree’s influences are broad and reflect their deep knowledge of music history, across many genres. Major influences include the Allman Brothers, Santana, Gary Clark Jr., The Wailers, Xavier Rudd, Brittany Howard, Funkadelic, Sublime, Jethro Tull, Groundation, Fleetwood Mac, RATM and Buddy Guy.
Although they are expats in Nairobi, Lone Tree considers itself a Kenyan band with roots around the world – U.S., Bolivia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, U.K. and Belgium. The band’s youth and diversity are unmissable – members have collectively lived in 10 countries and speak 6 languages. The vocalist and lead guitarist are also siblings.
Lone Tree started making waves in 2018 with the release of its first original song “Gone Astray”, which debuted at #1 in the East African rock charts and held it for months. Multiple local and international TV, radio and online appearances quickly followed, drawing a steady demand for live performances.
Before the pandemic, the band played an average of 2-3 live gigs per month at top venues in Nairobi and coastal Kenya, which includes opening multiple times for Ferocious Dog (U.K.) and popular African artists when they come through Nairobi. In August 2019, Lone Tree played to an audience of over 10,000 people during its first international gig at the Bautz Music Festival in Germany. Headliners included Nena, Dog Eat Dog, Kool Savas, Donots, MIA. and Any Given Day.
In 2019, the band recorded its first EP of 9 original songs that continue to receive frequent radio play throughout East and Southern Africa. The entire recording was made in 2 days when band members were only 12-14 years old.
Two years later, after a ton of performances (and a long introspective pandemic), the band has evolved dramatically. They wrote a ton of new music and recorded the first 3 of these songs in December 2020: “Wind Song”, “One Season”, and “Rude Bwoy” (which was released on June 11, 2021). They also have a music video for “Rude Bwoy” and live performances of “One Season” (original) and “Southern Man” (cover).
Band members: Teresa Sanders (lead singer), Patrick Sanders (lead guitar, vocals), Gabe Gebremedhin (drums, vocals), Silas Piper (rhythm/slide guitar, vocals), Ben Matsaert (bass, keys)