Tag: reggae

Led by Jon Panic, the Sydney, Australia-based roots reggae and dub act Black Bird Hum have spent the past four years touring across the continent, becoming a rising name in the Aussie reggae and festival scene. And although “My Side” is their first single released through Denver-based funk and soul label Color Red, the Aussie band’s connection to the label runs very deep: Jeff Reis (drums) had spent 15 years playing in Denver‘s scene, performing with labelmates ATOMGA during that band’s formative years before relocating to Sydney.

Centered around fluttering flute, a sinuous and two-step inducing groove, twinkling keys and laid-back riddims, Little Green’s sultry vocals and an infectious horn line composed by Greg Chilcott (trumpet), “My Side” is the band’s homage to some of their favorite artists — Roots Radics, Gregory Isaacs, and Hollie Cook but with a modern take. Developed and honed over months of touring. “My Side” is a road tested song that feels both modern and timeless as it tells an age-old tale of good love gone horribly and confusingly wrong. Most of us have been there and have reflected on what was, what could have been and what happened with a vivid preciseness. The B side is a classic and very trippy dub mix that further emphasizes that deep and sinuous two-step groove with reverb-drenched everything. Listening to the dub mix is an enveloping trip into groove, if you dig what I’m saying?

“The groove got it all started, the horn line kept it going, and then Little Green (Amy) singing over the top was all we needed to know it was our next release.,” Black Bird Hum’s Jon Panic says of their latest single. “All our songs are fun live, but this pocket is probably the best to drop into. It’s a nod to all of our favorite reggae artists and the mad grooves they’ve given us.”

New Video: Ibis Lawrence Releases a Timely and Hopeful New Single

Ibis Lawrence is a Dominica-born, US Virgin Island-raised, French-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger, who can trace the origins of his music career to his childhood — and by the time, he turned 15 he was playing guitar and percussion in a band called Axis. As he moved up in high school. he started his own band Dread Ones. And since then, he learned how to play several different instruments including keyboard before deciding to go solo.

Over the past two decades or so, Lawrence has toured across Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire,  making stops at some of the world’s biggest festivals including Reggae Sunsplash andMontreux Music Festival, sharing stages with the likes of Exile One, Grammacks’ Jeff Joseph, Bankie Banx, Jimmy Cliff and a lengthy list of others. And throughout that same period of time, Lawrence has developed a reputation for crafting material that’s centered around socially and spiritually conscious lyrics that address justice, equality and love. And he’s done this while developing a reputation as a highly sought-after producer, arranger and remixer working with a number of acts including Alpha Blondy, Secteur-A and others. 

Lawrence’s latest single “Earth Will Take A Rest” is a breezy reggae track full of irie vibes, infectious riddims, shimmering and arpeggiated keys and an enormous hook. But just underneath its irie vibes, the song is centered around an earnest message: that COVID-19 has forced all of us to pause and reconsider our lives, what’s truly important — and at the same time, the past few months of quarantine has allowed Mother Nature to recover a bit from our corruption, greed and stupidity. But the song also hints at a much larger hope:  that there’s a massive paradigm shift coming — one that will finally bring equality and peace for all people.

Born Mark Anthony Myrie, the Kingston, Jamaica-born and-raised dancehall legend Buju Banton is widely considered one of the most significant,  well-regarded and commercially successful recording artists in Jamaican music. Starting his career back in 1987 with a string of singles, Myrie came to national and international prominence with his first two albums, 1992s Stamina Daddy and Mr. Mention — with Mr. Mention at the time, becoming the the best-selling album in Jamaican history.  Adding to a breakthrough year, he broke Bob Marley‘s record for #1 singles in Jamaica.

1993 saw the Kingston-born and-based dancehall artist sign with Mercury Records, who released that year’s Voice of Jamaica. Interestingly, by the mid-1990s his work became more influenced by his Rastafari faith — especially on albums like ‘Til Shiloh and Inna Heights. As a result of his critical and commercial success, Banton has collaborated with a number of internationally renowned artists in a variety of genres and styles including hip-hop, Latin and punk rock, as well as Bob Marley’s sons.

The dancehall legend recently released an appropriately titled 4/20 anthem “Ganja Man.” Fittingly, the track is all irie vibes and strutting riddims paired with Banton’s imitable vocals.  Puff, puff pass y’all. And happy 4/20 to those who celebrate!

 

 

 

 

New Video: Montreal’s Jonathan Emilie Releases an Infectious Dancehall Banger

Jonathan Emile is rising Montreal-born and based, Jamaican-Canadian singer/songwriter.  Emile’s latest album, the Paul Cargnello and Christopher Cargnello-co-produced Spaces In Between finds the Jamaican-Canadian singer/songwriter delving deep into his roots with the album’s material borrowing from several styles of Jamaican music, including acoustic and traditional roots, reggae pop, Dancehall, dub and hip-hop. Released through Montreal-based record label, MindPeaceLove Records, the album is the first album by a Quebec-based artist to be distributed through Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong International. 

So far two singles off the album have been released to praise by the media internationally — the energetic “Savanna” and the gospel-folk influenced, acoustic ballad “Moses.”  The album’s third and latest single is the hook-driven and breezy dancehall anthem “Just A Likkle More.” Centered around bursts of shimmering guitar, thumping beats. an upbeat riddim, and Emilie’s easy-going and mellifluous vocals, the song is a blast of summer warmth — and perhaps more important, an old-school, feel good love song. It’s the sort of song that will make you find that special someone and do that old-school two-step with them. 

Directed by Pete Beng, the recently released video for “Just A Likkle More” was cinematically shot in Westmoreland Jamaica. Throughout the video, the viewer gets a taste of daily life in Westmoreland, as we follow its protagonists — a beautiful and madly in love Black couple. And much like the accompanying song, the video is upbeat and playful. 

New Video: L’ENTOURLOOP Pays Homage to Classic French Cinema in Visual for Swaggering and Thumping “Bangarang”

L’ENTOURLOOP is a fairly mysterious Saint Etienne, France-based soundystem crew led by founding members Sir James and King Johnny. Inspired by old school soundystem crews, vinyl culture and classic cinema, the duo’s sound is a fusion of reggae and hip hop featuring scratches and samples with a vintage feel. 

Building upon a growing profile in their native France, the act collaborated with Jamaican dancehall artist Skarra Mucci on the recently released 6 song EP Golden Nuggets. “Bangarang” Golden Nuggets latest single is centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, chopped up vocal samples, stuttering percussion and Skarra Mucci’s swaggering, rapid-fire patois. The track manages to be a club banger with a mischievously anachronistic air — as the song finds the duo walking a line between the sounds of the mid 90s and right now. 

Directed by L’ENTOURLOOP, the recently released video for “Bangarang” is a vividly colored and slickly edited homage to classic, French cinema centered, edited to the thumping beats of the song. 

Live Footage: Burna Boy Performs “Anybody” for Vevo CTRL

  With the release of 2013’s Leriq-produced full-length debut L.I.F.E., which featured attention-grabbing singles like  “Like to Party,” “Tonight”, “Always Love You”, “Run My Race” and “Yawa Dey,” Burna Boy, a Nigerian Afro-fusion singer/songwriter, born Damini […]

New Video: Thievery Corporation Side Project The Archives Set to Release a Reggae Tribute to Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron was a singer/songwriter, poet and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his influential work between the late 1960s and early 80s, which meshed jazz, blues, soul and funk with spoken word and poetry. Lyrically, his work focused on the sociopolitical issues of the Black community, delivered in a style that sort of resembled rapping; in fact, much ink has been spilled on how Scott-Heron’s breakthrough works Pieces of a Man (particularly, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” ) and Winter in America, have had a momentous influence on contemporary music, particularly on hip-hop and neo soul. 

Sadly, during the last decade of his life, Scott-Heron battled drug addiction and as a result  had several stints in and out of prison; however, he managed to remain to be a remarkably prolific artist, writing and recording when he was able. Just before he died, the legendary and influential poet and musician released the critically praised album I’m New Here and finished work on a memoir, which was published posthumously. Interestingly, before he died, he went into the studio and recorded extremely stripped down versions of some of his best known and beloved material, accompanied on piano with no overdubbing or extra studio production that was largely unreleased and unheard until XL Recordings released the material as Nothing New on what would have been the legendary artist’s 65th birthday.  

Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton along with Darryl “Trane” Burke started The Archives as a quest to explore the roots of reggae music. The project’s 2012 self-titled debut was released to critical acclaim. Seven years have passed since their debut, but Burke and Hilton have teamed up to co-produce reggae tribute album celebrating the work of Gil Scott-Heron and his longtime collaborator Brian Jackson that will be released through Hilton’s new label Montserrat House. So what’s the connection between reggae and Gil Scott-Heron, you may be asking? Well, Scott-Heron’s father Gilbert was a famous Jamaican soccer player, who wound up being the first Black player in Scotland’s Celtic League, so the album in some way celebrates the influential poet’s Jamaican heritage, while highlighting his still relevant reflections and thoughts on social justice and chance. “Like Gil’s compositions, reggae contains elements of jazz and soul,“ says Hilton. “It’s the perfect backdrop to Gil’s revolutionary pan-Africanist lyrics.” The album also will feature contributions from Jamaican dub poet Mutabaruka; R&B soul singer Raheem DeVaughn; percussionist Larry McDonald, who was once a member of Scott-Heron’s backing band Amnesia Express; Addis Pablo, the son of reggae legend Augustus Pablo; Kenyatta Hill, the son of Culture’s Joseph Hill; and Brian Jackson, Scott-Heron’s longtime collaborator. 

Released on 1971’s Pieces of a Man, “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” may arguably be one of the most heartbreaking and chilling depictions of the hopelessness of life in the Black ghetto and the toll it takes on the song’s narrator and his neighbors. Centered around a brooding and strutting 70s singer/songwriter soul arrangement, the song fits in perfectly with its time, recalling What’s Going On-era Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Bill Withers — but with a restless bitterness and disillusionment that should feel unsettling to those who are sensitive to the plight of their fellow humans. Seeing its release on what would have been Scott-Heron’s 70th birthday, The Archives first Gil Scott-Heron tribute album single “Home Is Where The Hatred Is,” is a shuffling and brooding reggae version of Scott-Heron’s famous track, featuring Thievery Corporation’s St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands-born vocalist Puma Ptah. And while putting a subtle spin on a familiar and well-known song, The Archives manage to retain the song’s still-relevant emotional weight — it’s bitter, disillusionment and frustration. While many Americans — particularly, Whites — may think reggae is all good times and smiles by the beach, reggae has always been protest music, describing the deplorable conditions, frustrations, hopes and dreams of some of the world’s proudest yet poorest people. Let both versions remind you of the dashed hopes, expectations and dreams of those in the South Bronx; Jamaica, Queens; Baltimore; Chicago’s South Side; Gary, IN; Newark, NJ; Camden, NJ; Ferguson, MO; and countless similar places across the country. Isla

The recently released video is split between footage of Puma Ptah walking through the abandoned apartments and dirty alleyways of the hood, and Ptah with the members of The Archives recording the song in the studio and performing it. 

New Video: Visuals for Rocky Dawuni’s “Let’s Go” Offer a Small Slice of Daily Ghanian Life

Rocky Dawuni is an acclaimed Grammy Award-nominated, Ghanian singer/songwriter and guitarist, humanitarian and activist, who was once  named one of Africa’s Top 10 Global Stars by CNN and a UN Ambassador. As a singer/songwriter and guitarist, Dawuni’s specializes in a crowd pleasing sound and songwriting approach that features elements of roots reggae, soul, pop, Afropop and Afrobeat in a warmly familiar yet unique fashion. And naturally, Dawuni’s sound has proven to be immensely popular; in fact, he’s performed with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder, Bono, Janelle Monae, Jason Mraz, John Legend, and a lengthy list of others.

Although, it’s been several years since I’ve personally written about him, Dawuni has been rather busy. His forthcoming and highly-anticipated seventh full-length album Beats of Zion is slated for a March 8, 2019 release through Six Degrees Distribution, and the album reportedly finds Dawuni expanding upon his self-dubbed Afro Roots sound to include the diversity of the contemporary Ghanian music scene, as well as a deeper global perspective inspired by his travels around the world. “Beats of Zion was born out of my desire to use my diverse global musical influences and exposure to various traditions to paint a multi-cultural musical vision of the world that I perceive,” Dawuni says in press notes. “The beginning of the year saw me visit Ethiopia and India. In Ethiopia, I visited Lalibela, witnessing ancient Christian rites and my journeys in India also exposed me to its diverse spiritual culture and the shared similarities I saw to Africa.” He adds, “The title Beats of Zion is inspired by a vision of the drumbeat of awareness and elevation of consciousness; a musical call to arms for my audience to be proactive in this day and age as to each person’s responsibility to be an active instrument for positive change.”

Written and recorded over a two year span in various studios in Accra, Ghana, Nairobi, Kenya and Los Angeles. Several songs being recorded at Village Studios, where Bob Dylan, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, John Lennon and Fleetwood Mac recorded albums — with Dawuni recording in the same room that Fleetwood Mac once used. As he was working on the album, Dawuni found out that Fleetwood Mac was among a group of American rock bands that visited Ghana in the 70s, making the experience much more special to him. 

Beats of Zion’s latest single is the breezy and uplifting “Let’s Go.” And while clearly sounding as though it were inspired by Bob Marley  (“Three Little Birds” and “One Love”  immediately come to mind), it focuses on a small yet wonderful pleasure — riding a bike with a friend and having the wind blow through your hair. The recently released 360º video finds Dawuni teaming up with Cadbury Bicycle Factory to celebrate a decade of turning long walks to school into shorter bike riders — and unsurprisingly, the video which is set in Ghanian countryside follows local students riding from home to school. From watching the video, it should serve as a reminder that kids everywhere are essentially the same; in fact the video reminds me of seeing kids riding bikes to school in Dordrecht and Amsterdam, as well as kids in my own neighborhood.