You could say that music is in Edgar Montas’ blood. Most of his mother’s family plays an instrument, several professionally. His Uncle Billo Frómeta’s band Billo’s Caracas Boys was one of the largest and best known bands in Venezuela.
Growing up in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Edgar began guitar lessons when he was five years old. Before he was ten he started a band with his cousins playing Latin Pop and songs by Carlos Santana and the Rolling Stones. His cousins later went on to work with Mark Anthony and Juan Luis Guerra, earning Grammy Awards for their efforts.
Edgar left the Dominican Republic when he was 18 to study industrial engineering at Penn State. His new neighbor also played guitar and they started the band Rebel Souls, playing Two Tone, Pop, Reggae and what is now called Reggaeton music.
Reggaeton music, a blend of West-Indian music influences of reggae and dancehall with latin pop and other Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Latin America styles such as bachata, merengue, samba, and salsa, as well as hip hop and contemporary R&B is well known to Edgar. Reggaetón music is thought by many to have originated in Panama and Puerto Rico in the 1980s as reggae en español or reggae music in spanish, but where ever it came from Edgar was playing this style of music even before it had a name.
In 1986 Edgar Montas and the Rebel Souls moved to New York and added Kevin Batchelor and Sidney Mills to their line-up. (Both Sidney and Kevin later went on to become members of Steel Pulse.) At the band’s first public performance in New York they were signed by legendary Jamaican producer Sir Coxsone Dodd to his Studio One Records label, making Edgar one of the first Dominican reggae artists at Studio One Records.
While at Studio One Records, he worked with Sir Coxsone laying down guitar tracks for the classic Studio One Records catalogue that was being recycled in the late 80’s-early 90’s. Edgar Montas also released a Studio One record single entitled ’Conscious Radio’ which received extensive airplay in NYC and sold over 40,000 units.
After opening shows and performing with reggae greats such as Burning Spear, Black Uhuru, Aswad, Third World, Dennis Brown, and Frankie Paul throughout the East Coast, Edgar decided it was time for a change and moved to Los Angeles in 1991. Soon after he arrived in LA, Edgar recorded with Roughsounds Records which led to a performance at the Bob Marley Day Festival, the largest Reggae show on the West Coast. In 1994 Edgar joined Urban Dread adding Spanish lyrics and his unique mix of authentic Caribbean and Latin styles to the bands ubiquitous sound.