Tag Archives: Sweden

Skillful harmonizing on the Nazarenes’ fourth album

Ethiopian brothers Noah and Medhane Tewolde are known as the vocal and multi-instrumentalist duo Nazarenes, a duo that has been based in Sweden for many years.

They established themselves in 2001 with their self-produced debut album Orit. Their breakthrough came three years later with the acclaimed set Songs of Life, a set followed by Rock Firm in 2008.

Now the Tewolde brothers are back. Back in full swing with an album produced by Tippy I of Virgin Islands-label I Grade, a label known for working closely with Vaughn Benjamin and Midnite.

The first collaboration between the Nazarenes and Tippy I was the single Everlasting which was included on the various artists’ compilation Joyful Noise put out in 2009.

On Meditation the Nazarenes have made an album that confirms just how great roots reggae can sound in 2012. Meditation is reggae in the same school as excellent vocal harmony groups like The Meditations or The Mighty Diamonds. And hearing these two brothers sing together is a soulful experience.

Meditation re-uses some of the riddims used for previous Tippy I productions, and if you’re familiar with Jahdan Blakkamoore’s Babylon Nightmare, Toussaint’s Black Gold or Perfect’s Back for the First Time you’ll most likely enjoy tunes such as Mamy Blues, Everlasting and Lonesome Lady.

But there are also a number of new riddims. The dreamy Alive is one such, Politrickcians, in a UK dub style, is another.

Several of the songs come close to pop and rock arrangements and Get Together will probably make Chris Martin of Coldplay proud with its catchy sing-a-long chorus. It sounds like it’s made for playing at large festivals or stadiums.

The Nazarenes might have a long way until they’ve achieved a following as big as Coldplay, but if Noah and Medhane Tewolde keep making music as good as Meditation it’s just a matter of time until they play at Glastonbury or Madison Square Garden.

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Preparing for Öland Roots festival

On Friday it’s time for a two day reggae festival on the beautiful island of Öland in the southern part of Sweden.

Öland Roots started in 2004 as a reaction to the few cultural activities taking place on the island. During the past seven years several Jamaican artists have performed on the festival. Fantan Mojah, Michael Rose and Konshens are only a few of the acclaimed singers and deejays that have performed in the woods next to the beach.

And 2011 is no exception. The promoters have managed to book more international artists than ever before. Etana, T’Nez, Junior Kelly, Mark Wonder and Queen Omega come from the Caribbean. Alongside them there are several Swedish artists that have managed to rock the international reggae scene. Among them Million Stylez, Joey Fever and Hanouneh.

I’m psyched. Extremely psyched actually. To keep me sane I’ve compiled a playlist in Spotify with some of my favorite tracks from a bunch of this year’s artists.

You’ll find some big tunes here. What about Tough Life from Junior Kelly, Move From On Yah by Million Stylez or Queen Omega’s Jah Dawta.

Check out the playlist by clicking this link, and hope to see you on Öland this weekend.

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