Seed of Zadok
In 2002, Andres 'Fikir' Estrada arrived in Santa Cruz, CA with the vision of forming a musical collective of conscious Rastafari bredren and sistren who would carry the message of Haile Selassie I the First and Ethiopia's redemption to the four corners of the world. Originally from Puerto Rico, Fikir has been inspired by the roots reggae traditions of the carribean such as the Zioniers, Cultura Profetica and Gomba Jahbari. Previously having sung and played guitar in a Los Angeles area band, The Ghetto Fabulosos, maturity and spiritual growth deemed necessary a new direction and focus. At first using the name Jah Musica, 'Fikir Amlak' was chosen as the name for the new band, which in Ethiopic means 'Jah Love'. The initial musicians involved in this project were Joe Coberly on drums, Mikey Butler on bass, John Moran on keys and Marcelo Vaz on sax. In 2003, Lion Home Studios was established in the Soquel mountains where the debut self-titled album was produced and released in 2004. At this time, Lucca McCaleb took over on bass and Fikir met local Santa Cruz guitarist Emmanuel, as well as Kris 'Tafari' who had recently moved from Arizona. Veteran keyboardist 'Joseph' Chino also joined the band at this time. In the summer of 2005, Santa Cruz saw the release of their 2nd album, 'Love Jah and Live'. By the end of 2005, Papa Shanti had come together with Tafari to form the Disciples (formerly Heavy Manners) which has become the current backing band. Additionally, coming from Brazil, Ras Popo of Red Meditation has joined forces with Fikir Amlak to play percussion and sing, backed by the Disciples. The current line-up is Tafari on drums, Papa Shanti on bass, Emmanuel on guitar, Fikir on vocals, Popo on percussion and vocals, Sajid on keys. Together, this band has played often in the Santa Cruz area with artists such as Batch & Ras Attitude, Yami Bolo, Dubwize and Pacific Vibrations. The end of 2005 saw the formation of a new recording studio at Black Lion Sounds in the Aptos Hills. Fikir Amlak has just finished their 3rd album entitled, 'Seed of Zadok', as well as having recorded and produced 'A New Dawn' from Sister Molly Rose and Red Meditation. After taking a three-year hiatus from the music scene, Fikir Amlak emerged in Los Angeles in 2011 for a series of concerts which were received with great excitement. Currently he is backed by the Monrovia-based reggae band, True Press, and also plays bass in a side-project with his brother, RnD. Fikir Amlak released his latest album, 'The Lion Lives', in December of 2012 under the Black Lion Sounds label.As of late 2012, Fikir Amlak has joined forces with Jah Youth Productions out of Hawaii for a string of singles to be released in 2013.