BROOKLYN BUZZ: Local musicians make music with a message

Members of the Brooklyn band Solmenta give new meaning to the concept of music with a message.

Comprised of five young men whose passion for music is paired with a strong desire to create awareness of different issues that are going on in the world, the group – whose name means bright minds in Latin – focuses each month on different causes that are in the public eye.

They take their cues from the proclaimed awareness months, with lead guitarist, Robert Johnston painting his guitar in such a way as to pay tribute to the cause.

In October, the guitar was painted with the symbolic pink ribbon in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness month. In December, Johnston decorated his guitar with the words HIV and AIDS in recognition of World AIDS Day.

Robert Lawless, who plays rhythm guitar, said he believes, It is our obligation to inspire others through music, while Matt Ramirez who plays the keyboard, says, It’s not just about the music, it’s about the people.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, brothers Anthony Finkel, the group’s bass player, and drummer Henry Finkel started Solmenta in their basement in2010. According to Anthony, inspiration for their music comes from where they grew up, their experiences, and most of all, city life.

A few of the members are able to take their musical talents and bring learning and joy to others. Anthony Finkel and Lawless both work in a nursing home where they encourage musical talent shows amongst the seniors. Johnston on the other hand is a guitar teacher, who not only educates his students on how to rock out, but also teaches them to pay it forward, because he thinks that it is important to give back to others.

According to Johnston, the band believes, When there’s a positive message behind the music, people will keep coming back to it again and again for inspiration.

Since January is National Blood Donor Month, all members of the band plan to donate blood, and Johnston painted his guitar with the words give blood and the gift of life, along with an image of drops of blood, in observance of this cause. The band plans to display its newly decorated guitar at its upcoming show on January 21, 2011 at Spike Hill in Williamsburg.

Solmenta’s music encompasses different genres like heavy rock, experimental, folk, funk, hip hop and groove fusion. To find more information about the band, including music, video footage and pictures of the painted guitar, visit

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.