Acclaimed artist Manu Chao has a new single and music video titled “A la par del amor.” The Jamaican-flavored song is collaboration between Chao, dub act Chalart 58 and Sr. Wilson.
Double Tiger – Sharp & Ready (Easy Star Records, 2017)
New York artist Double Tiger (Jay Spaker) makes appealing modern dub reggae loaded with electronic effects, reverb and pop hooks. On Sharp & Ready he incorporates a mix of Jamaican styles: ska, roots reggae, dub, dancehall and lover’s rock.
Despite the current political situation, Jay Spaker believes that it’s important to make positive and heartening music, bringing joy and inspiration to listeners.
Buy Sharp & Ready
Sicilian-born reggae vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist Alborosie has a new album titled Freedom and Fyah. Alborosie has spent over a decade living in Jamaica. He presents revolutionary songs with deep, heavy roots rhythms that have become his trademark.
Alborosie has produced a series of bestselling albums since his 2008 debut Soul Pirate.
Freedom and Fyah has a very intense dub influence, with signs of dub-step and electronic music in some of the tracks. Lyrically, he covers topics such as love, revenge, politics and other social commentary.
Buy Freedom and Fyah
I‘ve long asserted that Latin music was the first “world” music to make its way into the mainstream. Arguable though that may be, there’s no doubting the variety of what can rightly be labeled Latin nowadays. Part of the reason for such variety is how the music has evolved; another is recognizing how much variety there was to begin with.
Vintage Latino (Putumayo, 2015) is a various-artists collection that steers clear of overly familiar names (no Tito, Tito or Machito to be found) and earns extra points for featuring some that were around in the early days as well as contemporary musicians keeping the classic sound alive.
So it is that the love songs of old time Cubans like Trio Melodicos and the rural roots of Venezuela’s Simon Diaz fit comfortably alongside contemporary revivers like the utterly charming Las Rubias del Norte from the U.S. and France’s excellent Republique Democratique Du Mambo. And if the best of both worlds is your thing, check the seamlessly splendid combination of Uruguay’s late great Lagrima Rios and acclaimed Argentinian composer Gustavo Santaolalla on the candombe-flavored “Un Cielo Para Los Dos.” Each of the 12 tracks is a gem, so count this one a must.
Should you be craving the sounds of a Brooklyn-based Mexican brass band, that craving will be more than satisfied by Banda de Los Muertos on their self-titled release (Barbes Records, 2015). Founded and led by Oscar Noriega and Jacob Garchik, veterans of jazz and classical music, Banda de Los Muertos’ brass and reeds attack is not just rousingly good fun. It’s also an impressive display of great musicians doing their thing.
The intertwined trumpets, trombones, alto horn, sousaphone and clarinets (plus a solid backbone of drums) are loaded with traditional Mexican flavors and sport nuances ample enough to appeal to fans of jazz, klezmer and big band music. And no hard feelings if you don’t dig the band’s instrumental cover of Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” or the sexy, husky guest vocals by Mireya Ramos, though some serious self-examination might be in order.
Thoroughly modern but with a clear understanding of age-old grooves, Empresarios out of Washington D.C. give us The Vibes (Empresarios Musica, 2015) a hot mash of cumbia, reggae, dub, house, jazzy experimentation and hip hop. They combine real and programmed rhythms as deftly as they shift from sung to rapped vocals, and their subject matter likewise ranges from self-referencing celebration to social consciousness.
A thinking man’s party band, these guys likely won’t appeal to staunch Latin music purists. For everyone else, they definitely bring it. And the last two tracks (instrumentals “Rootsy Jam” and “Alegria”) are killer.
Bosse Skoglund and Zilverzurf – Mantra Sessions (Diesel Music C-52, 2016)
This cross-cultural recording couldn’t get more interesting. Two Swedish musicians, a drummer and a bassist, performing meditational Indian music fused with jazz, blues, African and Jamaican influences. A fascinating world music jam.
The album includes two discs. The original version features distant mantra chants and trance-like rhythms intertwined with jazz-rock fusion stylings. This is the organic part of the Mantra Sessions featuring electro-acoustic performances by Bosse Skoglund and Zilverzurf and their guests.
Disc 2 is the Dub Version. Here, electronic effects transform the original versions into seductive Jamaican-influenced dance club pieces.
Bosse Skoglund recorded drums, bass, mantras and overdubs at his home studio in Ekerö, Sweden. Additional sessions were recorded by Zilverzurf at Casa Carma in Portugal. The mantras performed by Yatra Children were recorded at Yatra Arts Foundation in Kuilapalayam, India, by Johan Zachrisson.
Mantra Sessions delivers a set of hypnotic performances rooted in various traditions of the globe.
Buy the Mantra Sessions digital version in North America
Buy the Mantra Sessions digital version in Europe
Augustus Pablo’s classic reggae album Original Rockers, originally released in 1979, is now available as a reissue on digital, CD and vinyl. Augustus Pablo (1954-1999) was the master of melodica and one of the most appreciated talents in reggae music. The Original Rockers reissue from Greensleeves Records features remastered sound and a 16-page extended booklet.
Original Rockers showcases Pablo’s haunting melodica and includes flashes of his dub inspiration on standouts like “Rocker’s Dub” and “Tubby’s “Dub Song.” The album was recorded in the legendary studio of the great reggae producer King Tubby.
Augustus Pablo was born in St. Andrew, Jamaica as Horace Swab on June 21, 1954. Augustus Pablo was a roots reggae and dub record producer, melodica player and keyboardist, who got his start in the early 1970s. He popularized the use of the melodica in reggae music and released many hits with a variety of producers, including his close friend Clive Chin (which created his breakthrough hit “Java”), Gussie Clark, Bunny Lee, Lee Scratch Perry and more.
In the mid to late 1970s, Pablo produced a steady series of hits (“Black Star Liner” by Fred Locks) and LPs (1974’s This Is…Augustus Pablo, 1974’s Ital Dub, 1976’s King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown & 1979’s Original Rockers).
As a producer, he also worked with artists such as Dillinger, I-Roy, Jacob Miller, The Immortals, The Heptones, Bob Marley, Ricky Grant, Delroy Wilson, Junior Delgado, Horace Andy and more.
Augustus Pablo passed away on May 18, 1999.
Buy Original Rockers
In The Light, a classic 1977 reggae album by Horace Andy is now available through 17 North Parade.
Originally released in 1977, In The Light is one of Horace Andy’s most significant recordings. In 1977, Horace Andy recorded this legendary album for Everton Dasilva. The two established a musical partnership, but it came to an abrupt end two years later when Dasilva was murdered in New York City. In 1995, the Blood & Fire label reissued this classic for the first time.
Most of ‘In The Light’ was recorded in Kingston and included a combination of new songs and updates of two old favorites, ‘Fever’ and ‘Problems’.
Also available is the dub version mixed by King “Lloyd James” Jammy titled companion In The Light Dub.
The new editions include newly commissioned liner notes.
The 7th annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival announced the third and final round of artists completing the festival’s complete lineup. California Roots Music and Arts Festival will take place at the historic Monterey County Fair and Event Center from May 27-29, 2016,
Thre new artists announced include Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Pepper, Barrington Levy, J Boog, Mike Love, The Wheeland Brothers, Katastro, Jamaican rising stars Raging Fyah, the U.K.’s Will and The People, Maui’s Jordan T., the San Francisco Bay Area’s South Bay Dub All Stars, and Santa Barbara up and comers The Ole’s. 2016 will also see the addition of DJs who will perform between sets, including Amp Live, Expanders Sound System, Dub Architect, and Westafa.
In addition to the third round announcement, the festival will present: Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, Atmosphere, Stephen “Ragga” Marley, Tribal Seeds, The Expendables, The Green, Stick Figure, Protoje, Katchafire, Tarrus Riley, Gondwana, Fortunate Youth, The Skints, Nattali Rize, Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Ooklah The Moc, Josh Heinrichs, Hirie, Sticky Fingers, The Expanders, Peni Dean, Thrive, Eli-Mac, Seedless, and Tunnel Vision.
Festival Co-Producer Dan Sheehan indicated that 2016 is the festival’s strongest lineup to date.
The 7th Annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival
Dates: Friday, May 27, 2016 – Sunday May 29, 2016
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. PDT
Venue: Monterey County Fair and Event Center
Address: 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey, CA 93940
Admission: Varies. Purchase Link: californiaroots16.eventbrite.com
Age restrictions: All ages
Early advance ticket prices go up: Thursday, January 21, 2016
Vivir sin miedo (DRO/Warner Music Spain/Warner Music Latina, 2015)
Afro-Spanish Spanish singer-songwriter and composer Buika developed Vivir sin miedo (To Live without Fear) in Miami, which is her current home. Buika is a do it yourself artist so she composed and played all the instruments in her original demos for the new album while she was in Miami, New York and Madrid.
Buika is known for venturing into different musical directions. In the past, she has recorded Afropop, flamenco, boleros, Cuban music, jazz and others genres. Vivir sin miedo presents another eclectic mix with a Caribbean flavor and smooth pop flavor, including reggae, dub, ragga, flamenco, R&B, afrobeat, pop and gospel, although the dub feel seems to permeate most of the album. Buika is also trying to appeal to a wider audience so she sings in a mix of Spanish and English.
With the support of Warner Music, Buika invited two well-known international artists Meshell Ndegeocello (bass) and Jason Mraz (vocals), as well as masterful flamenco singer Potito. The album was recorded in London, co-produced by Martin Terefe (Coldplay, James Blunt, KT Tunstall, Zaz), who played bass and guitars on Vivir sin miedo.
Vivir sin miedo is clearly an effort to expand Buika’s reach to English-language and bilingual pop fans as well as the reggae market.
Buy Vivir sin miedo