Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mahala Rai Banda - BalkanReggae

Since the early-1960s Jamaican music has rocked the world: Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, Dub, Dancehall having established internationally that beautiful, troubled island as a leader in musical innovation and good grooves. The fall of the Berlin Wall found Romania's Gypsy musicians making a similar impression on the West with their ancient string bands and furious brass bands creating a groove like no other.

The funkiest of all Romanian bands are Mahala Rai Banda. This Bucharest-based band have mixed Funk and Latin flavours into furious brass groove and torn up stages across the world. In 2009, on their acclaimed album "Ghetto Blasters", Mahala Rai Banda cut "Balkan Reggae", a lovely, swinging instrumental that showed how Eastern cymbaloms, violins, accordions and trumpets could embrace a very Caribbean flavour.

Reggae in Romania? Few imagined that the Jamaican sound could penetrate so far East or that a Gypsy band could play it with such feel. Yet everyone who heard Balkan Reggae loved it and Reggae DJs across Europe began dropping the tune in their sets. As 2012 signalled the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's independence Mahala Rai Banda reached out to their Jamaican brethren and requested Dub remixes on Balkan Reggae.

The response was strong. Leading the charge was Mad Professor - the legendary, London-based Jamaican producer who has gone toe-to-toe with Lee Perry and Massive Attack amongst many others - followed by Nick Manasseh (feat. dread DJ Gregory Fabulous), Jstar, G-Vibes (feat. acclaimed Brixton Blues man Errol Linton), Vibronics, Kanka and Asphalt Tango artists La Cherga and Koby Israelite.

"Balkan Reggae" - The Dub Mixes is the first ever album where Balkan Gypsy music meets the Dreads uptown! As they like to shout over a hot mix in Trenchtown: "Irie!"

Read the review at........

The Benevolence of Sister Mary Ignatius

Some 35 years ago sax player Lee Thompson helped introduced an entire generation to Ska music when as part of Madness they exploded on to the music scene on the crest of the 2-Tone wave. Now in the time between various Madness gigs and duties El Thommo has been filling that gap since 2011 by forming his own Ska Orchestra, with the aid of fellow Madness member and bassist Mark Bedford, to recreate and pay homage to those authentic Ska and Reggae rhythms that burst out of Jamaica in the mid to late 1960’s that influenced him and the band so much. 
Since then The Orchestra have been performing all over to rave reviews and the next logical step was to put that sound on record which has resulted in the release of debut album “The Benevolence of Sister Mary Ignatius”, with the title itself paying tribute to the lady who opened and ran the Alpha School for Boys. The album features their takes on many Ska classics like Baba Brookes’ ‘Gun Fever’, Jackie Mittoo’s ‘Napoleon Solo’, ‘EasternStandard Time’ by Don Drummond plus in amongst all these great instrumentals is the  single release, featuring Bitty Mclean on vocals, a take on Desmond  Dekker’s mighty, mystical 'Fu Man Chu'. The album has been co-produced by Mike Pelanconi aka Prince Fatty who has worked with the likes of reggae greats Dennis Alcapone, Little Roy and Winston Francis as well as helping introduce us to the delights of the talented Hollie Cook.

The Benevolence of Sister Mary Ignatius is available from all major and local outlets NOW!

Hylu & Jago - The Uplifting Riddim

Last year London based production duo Hylu & Jago broke onto the scene with the release of the very contemporary, assured roots reggae styled riddim 'Anansi'.
Now Unit 137 are to present their long awaited second release the ‘Uplifting Riddim’ which continues in a similar roots vein and has been written with the aid of onlyjoe member, guitarist and composer R. Kent.
There are four solid vocal cuts on the riddim from the likes of the Trinidadian Jah Defender, Jamaican singer Josie Mel plus more onlyjoe connections with vocalists Dandelion and Galak Spiritual.
Remix duties are performed by Sleepy Time Ghost and Reggae Roast's own Adam Prescott who both add their own inimitable style to proceedings.