Tag Archives: Tu Shung Peng

Tu Shung Peng pay tribute to Kingston on new album

TuShungPeng-WiseStories-coverOn Tu Sheng Peng’s – one of France’s premier roots reggae bands – fourth studio album they have teamed up with a number singers to pay tribute to Vineyard Town, an area in the heart of Kingston.

Their work on this album started six years and has come to completion with help from the group’s musical mentor Winston “Sparrow” Martin, multi-instrumentalist, teacher at the acclaimed Alpha Boys School and previously musical director at the legendary Studio One.

The formula on this album is the same as on Tu Shung Peng’s previous sets – original compositions, talented and passionate singers, sweet harmonies and live instrumentation along with analogue gear and recording techniques. This is harmonious reggae firmly rooted in the 70s.

Wise Stories from Vineyard Town brings together several artists – both rising stars and successful veterans. Ken Boothe has recorded since the 60s, while Bongo, 60 years old and farmer by trade, has never recorded before. Nazzleman is also an unknown talent that lends his voice to the excellent Dem Want Love and Children Love Each Other.

The set comes with 15 tracks – 19 on the digital version which includes four dub versions – and best of the bunch is Jah Children No Lie, which starts like a smooth Barry White ballad, but quickly changes into a red, gold and green anthem when the gritty-voiced Ken Boothe gets down to business on this beautiful cut influenced by Ras Michael’s None a Jah Jah Children.

Another highlight is Bunny & Skully’s – a pivotal duo in the course of Jamaican music – brilliant and sincere Take Us There with its pounding bass and drums along with spoken verses and rough harmonies.

A solid release that once again cements France as one of the leading lights in roots reggae.

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A traditional roots reggae album from Ras Daniel Ray

Jamaican singer Ras Daniel Ray – since a decade expatriate in France – met up with French reggae band Tu Shung Peng in the late 90’s and a close creative collaboration started and resulted in him voicing a bunch of tunes on their albums Around Tu Shung Peng and Trouble Time.

But this wasn’t Ras Daniel Ray’s first recordings. As a teenager he performed for  three Jamaican sound systems. Starting with Echo Tone Night Rider and then moving on to work with Killamanjaro and Jahlovemusik. In 1993 his debut singles Bubbling Pot and Jamaica Nice was put out produced by veteran Harry J. These recordings were followed by singles for Mafia & Fluxy and Reggae On Top.

His debut album Ray of Light is however recorded together with Tu Shung Peng and contains 13 fresh tunes in the traditional roots reggae vein. Jazz and soul inspired live instrumentation, organic mixing and tasty horns arrangements are some of the main ingredients.

You can trace a hint of reggae legends Dennis Brown and Garnett Silk in Ras Daniel Ray’s tone. But his voice isn’t as powerful and sounds a bit thin at times. Lyrically he also lies close to conscious reggae singers – spirituality, equality, love and repatriation are themes Ras Daniel Ray sounds comfortable with.

Highlights include the pleasantly skanking Deliver Us, the soulful Same Dream and Lesson the Ants, especially the dub breakdown towards the end of the song. Also don’t miss out on the hidden dub version of Trust in Jah with its echo laid melodica floating in and out the mix.

Ray of Light is a well-crafted roots album that probably appeals to fans of classic reggae music.

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