Driven by tireless passion and their mission to reach as many people as possible, Native Elements on average clocks-in 50-80 shows a year crossing continents, borders and city limits from Oregon to San Diego to Baja California, Mexico, France, Belgium, and Hawaii. They have toured with Steel Pulse, Midnite and Bunny Wailer while also sharing bills with reggae royalty, Third World, Black Uhuru, Don Carlos, and Alpha Blondy among dozens of others. As a backup band, Native Elements has supported Hawaii’s own Humble Soul, Marty Dread, J Boog and Jamaica’s own Luciano.
Formed in the bedroom of drummer Chris Cortez in Daly City, CA the band grew from a seed planted by lead singer Jose Pangan after his first trip to Jamaica in 1994. He soon traded his Bad Brains records for early Black Uhuru and Mighty Diamond mix tapes which provided a perfect soundtrack to their favorite past time, skateboarding. Cortez, who was also transitioning out of his punk rock days, had just disbanded his high school thrash band, “Demented” taking along with him Jaime Duran (bass) and Peter Hadden (keys) to soon form the early incarnation of Native Elements.
They later enlisted the keyboard/trumpet and trombone talents of Benjamin Thompson and Mike Heuser who both came from playing funk, soul and jazz with the funky Motivators. Saxophonist, Mike Baz entered the picture in the year 2000 opening a new level of excitement and improvisation to their live shows. Together, the band has developed their own innovative style of soulful, energetic, roots reggae incorporating smooth lovers rock and hard hitting original rockers rhythms all fostered by the fearless San Francisco Bay Area community. They have 3 self-produced commercial recordings that have earned them California Music Award nominations, honorable mentions and invaluable respect and adoration from their Jamaican brethren the Twinkle Brothers, Abassinians and The Mighty Diamonds. Without a doubt the band has stood the test of time garnering a devout following and reputation as one the best reggae bands born in the SF Bay Area holding down an authentic and well-seasoned champion sound.