Some gems are harder to find than others. Or maybe I’m just not always doing my homework properly. Because U.S. singer Sahra Indio’s third album The Tru I has been reviewed on United Reggae and she has also shared disc with well-known artists such as Lutan Fyah, The Itals and I Octane on the compilation Dread & Alive: The Lost Tapes Volume 1. But for some reason I missed out on this wonderful singer.
Sahra “Bush Mama” Indio has a deep, soothing and breezy voice and sings – sometimes with a flow reminiscent of rapping or singjaying – with a strong American accent. She moved from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii about 30 years ago and today she lives an off-grid lifestyle on the countryside. She has been in the music business for almost 20 years and her debut album was put out in 2003. Four years later it was time for its follow-up Change, a set partly produced by Tuff Lion, master guitarist and former member of Bambú Station.
On The Tru I she has teamed up with producers from the U.S., Jamaica and Europe, including Italy, Austria, the UK and France. This has given the album something of a split impression, since there are some rootsy efforts, some tracks with a clear pop crossover feeling and some cuts with a heavyweight and atmospheric dub edge.
But in the end it all makes sense, partly thanks to the strong riddims, partly thanks to Sahra Indio’s relevant lyrics about conscious living and uplifting, confident singing, which is a joy from start to finish.
Jalani Horton is lead singer and front man in Bambú Station.
Bambú Station are part of the thriving reggae scene on the U.S. Virgin Islands. Earlier this year they put out their fourth full-length album Children of Exodus, a set packed with bubbling rhythms and conscious lyrics.
I had the opportunity to talk to Bambú Station’s Jalani Horton. He’s a praised and gifted lyricist as well as front man and lead singer in the band.
We talked about the new album, its references to Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Exodus and why he is determined to make a change in the world. Check the full story over at United Reggae.
Eleven years ago renowned singer Dezarie dropped her highly acclaimed debut album FYA. Her album and enchanting voice broke the male dominance on the booming U.S. Virgin Islands reggae scene.
Now another strong female singer has stepped out of the shadows. Reemah was born on the island of St. Croix and was first heard on Chance to Grow, a duet with Bambú Station on their album Break the Soil released in 2006. It was followed by her self-financed promotional EP No Questions, and in July 2012 by her rootsy debut album Check Your Words.
The similarities with Dezarie are apparent. Both have conscious, spiritual and uplifting messages and sing with strong confidence and nerve.
Check Your Words based on live backing with a jazzy horn section and is mainly produced by Kedroy “Catalyst” Mitchell, a former keys player in Bambú Station. Three cuts were also produced by Tippy I from I Grade Records and two by Jalani Horton from Bambú Station. This trio of producers have meant a great deal to this mature and promising debut album.
The U.S. Virgin Islands’ thriving roots rocking reggae scene have produced several great talents in the past ten years with trail blazers Midnite and their front man, singer and lyricist Vaughn Benjamin leading the way.
Bambú Station is another powerful band from the same group of islands. The band’s founder, lead singer and lyricist Jalani Horton hails from St. Thomas, and was in 1999 joined by bass player Andy Llanos and guitarist Tuff Lion. Their debut recording was Amadou Diallo, a heartfelt tribute to the Guinean immigrant who died in a hail of police bullets in New York City 13 years ago.
Children of Exodus is Bambú Station’s fourth full-length studio album, and follows their six years old Breaking the Soil. The album has the same laid-back atmosphere and is full of bubbly and natural riddims mesmerizing the listener.
Jalani Horton’s singing is accompanied by beautiful and well-arranged harmonies that uplift his mostly tough themed and insightful lyrics.
The album contains 16 cuts, of which two are short interludes and one a two minute tale of Bambú Station’s vision and mission set only to bass and percussion.
The partly acoustic All We Have is the most alluring moment of the album and sets a perfect tone to a bonfire at the beach.
The Virgin Islands offer way more than the relentless roots from Midnite, and Bambú Station is a great example of the many mighty talented musicians coming from this musically blessed group of islands.
Children of Exodus is currently available as digital download and CD.