Scientist & Violinist Alicia Previn: Taking Dub to Another Level
Immediately upon hearing Previn play and assessing her skills, Scientist contacted her on Facebook to ask if Previn would collaborate with him on a new version of the song “Broken Heart” by Israeli songstress Shusha Onyema (and produced by Dana Peralta). Scientist has been working with Onyema, a unique artist with prodigious talent—who has conquered a lot of adversity, including stage 4 cancer—and he was convinced Previn’s passionate, poignant violin-playing would be a great complement to Onyema’s smoky-smooth, classically cool voice. Also, as Scientist confided in me, and later to Previn, too, in all his decades in music working with the biggest reggae stars, as well as stars from other genres, he had never before recorded a violinist!
Previn, the daughter of pianist, composer, and conductor André Previn and jazz singer Betty Bennett, is a classically trained violinist (at the Royal Academy of Music in London); she has recorded and toured with a number of bands—including her own band “Lovely Previn.” Previn, also, it turns out, has always been a giant Scientist fan and a lover of reggae music, so she was overjoyed at Scientist’s overture and immediately acquiesced. Later, Previn told me: “My dream in life is to play in a reggae band.” (She also told me how, when living in London she once worked for Island Records where she crossed paths with reggae luminaries like Bunny Wailer, Aswad, and “riddim twins” Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare; in California, Previn additionally was friends for years and played with Jamaican bassist Phil Chen.)