Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Top 5 NZ reggae bands

List by Tosca

"My music will go on forever. Maybe it's a fool say that, but when me know facts me can say facts. My music will go on forever."
- Bob Marley

My parents have very eclectic music tastes. I say that in a slightly accusatory way but I'm wholly serious. You were just as likely to hear Peter, Paul and Mary as you were Anita Ward, Kid Creole & the Coconuts or Yvonne Elliman. Bob Marley's music was a constant in our home while growing up. I was fortunate in that my parents ensured I heard not just his music but also his beliefs, his philosophies and his politics. I was 14 when I realised that I much preferred his very early recordings, the sort of stuff he produced before he went mainstream. If you've only ever listened to his later stuff I encourage you to make the effort to try some of his early music - it has a really distinct sound. When Bob Marley died in 1981 I was only 5 years old, but thanks to my parents I understood the huge impact he had on New Zealand's own music scene. His music wasn't just a bunch of notes put together - I learnt that it could be political and it could tell histories. Perhaps it was no wonder, then, that indigenous people identified so strongly with his songs of exodus, of redemption, of Jah and of dispossession.

New Zealand has some great reggae bands and this list serves as nothing more than my pick of groups who have gone some way toward reaffirming or recapturing my love of reggae on a wider scale, and my love of Bob Marley in particular. Feel free to disagree with my selection! In fact, we'd enjoy it if you did - simply leave your own Top 5 version as a comment and we'll happily add it to the blog.

Lights of the Pacific: the very best of Herbs / Herbs
Karanga ra -- Long ago -- French letter -- Homegrown -- Sensitive to a smile -- Dragons & demons -- Slice of Heaven -- Azania (soon come) -- Parihaka -- Good for life -- Jah's Son -- Nuclear waste -- Rust in dust -- Listen -- Light of the Pacific -- No nukes (the second letter to France) -- See what love can do -- Sensitive to a smile performed by Hollie Smith -- E Papa.

Tosca's note: If I cut my eye teeth on Bob Marley then, without a doubt, Herbs were a continuation of that feeling. They were real people we knew or were related to and in their songs a lot of us recognised ourselves. Their music epitomised the NZ reggae scene.

Waiata of Bob Marley /Ruia and Ranea
Reggae music mostly written or co-written by Bob Marley, translated into Maori and edited by Ruia and Ranea Aperahama and Harlem Potangaroa.

Arohaina ra koe = Could you be loved? (3:43) -- Nei te aroha = Is this love? (4:03) -- Umere = Jammin' (3:33) -- Kaati e hine to tangi = No woman, no cry / Vincent Ford (3:15) -- Naku i puhi te apiha = I shot the sheriff (3:46) -- Kororitia = Stir it up (3:23) -- Matika, maranga = Get up, stand up / B. Marley, P. Tosh (3:55) -- Toru manu iti = Three little birds (2:38) -- Maakona tamaroto = Satisfy my soul (4:46) -- Kotahi aroha = One love/People get ready / B. Marley, C. Mayfield (2:42).

Tosca's note: A friend's brother introduced me to Ruia & Ranea's first cd a few years back and I thought it was total genius. Not to mention that these guys can sing!

Jah rydem / 1814
Reggae roots dub, with R'n'B, soul and hiphop influences, composed by group members Patu Colbert and Darren Katene.

Morning star -- Jah Rydem -- Jah Rastafari -- Let my people go -- My dear friend -- Shackled -- Get up -- Insomnia -- 4ununini -- Let Jah fire burn -- Whakahonohono mai.

Tosca's note: If you haven't heard these guys yet you've simply got to. I would definitely rank this as one of my best NZ CD purchases this year.

Revival / Katchafire
Reggae music written by members of the group except track 12 by Bob Marley.

Reggae revival -- Get away -- Who with you -- Colour me fire -- Lose your power -- Collie herb man -- Sensimillia -- Done did it -- Seriously -- Giddy up -- Bounce -- Redemption song. CD2-Remixed: Colour me dub -- Collie herb man (Reactor dub) -- Dub me all jelly.

Tosca's note: I've seen these guys live so many times and with darn good reason - they're exceptional live, very mellow, draw an easy going crowd and are always great value for money.

Localize it / Sweet & Irie
Compact disc. Lyrics included on pamphlet. Group member: Ed Ru, lead vocals ; Tua'T Kaisala, keyboards/Bv's ; Michael "Saa" Kaisala, keyboards ; Ross nansen, drums ; Junior Nansen, bass ; Damian Huawai, guitar ; Taku Ru, Harmonica/BV's ; Tina Fuemana, BV's ; Monica Chung-Fuk, BV's. Mixed and mastered by Vitaly Zeletarev for Votaly Music.

Jah love -- Jenny -- Gimme me your love -- Uncle Bob -- Reggae music -- Crazy -- I will never -- Beautiful day -- mama don't cry -- Everyday (I feel like Irie) -- set me free -- My girl -- Bonus tracks: Feels like magic (feat. Horseman Family) -- Take it out south (feat. Brotha D).

Tosca's note: I'm new to the sounds of Sweet & Irie and, if not for my siblings, wouldn't even have heard of them in spite of the fact that they're locals but what I've heard so far I have really liked.

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