The Roots Explorers – Balyankas & Into The Vibes
CD 1 – Balyankas
02. Tango For Roots feat. Sista Clara
05. Balkienda feat. Sista Clara
06. Makam Dub feat. Kino Doscun
07. Brasov Dance
08. Inna Hijaz
CD 2 – Into the Vibes
01. Arizona Skankin’
03. Dub In Abbesses feat. Sista Clara
04. Irie Sunside
05. Celtik Mode
06. Jazzy Spy
07. Bad Monster
08. Rusty Vibes feat. Kino Doscun
Youthie & Macca Dread
With summer just around the corner and (hopefully) less lockdowns, the good news is that Youthie (a.k.a. Juliette Boudeix and trumpeter extraordinaire) and Macca Dread (a.k.a. Lorenzo Bougard) have given us some sweet sounds to dance the nights away. This is a real high-quality instrumental product, that combines the roots of reggae with an array of international influences and instruments. It should command the sound systems for the foreseeable future. So, if it’s slack dancehall rhythms you’re looking for, this release is not for you! Think more in terms of wonderful world music set to reggaes’ rhythms. And it’s all arranged and proofed under the careful eye of Kino Doscun.
The opener on this 16-track double CD Atumbao sets the scene, dominated by the sumptuous sound of spiralling horns set to a rootsy rhythm, with a variety of influences and instruments lending the track an all-round party vibe. This is followed by Tango for Roots, another accomplished roots rhythm with – as the name suggests – a seductive South American swing, with an array of instruments lending the track some accomplished flourishes. Thereafter, the tempo rises to Cajabossa with the delightful flute solo accompanied by a rocking rhythm.
Pancas then maintains the lively pace and sweet sounds, before Balkienda kicks in, providing an instrumental feast with some all too rare vocal inputs and vivacious violin. The pace then eases considerably – to a haunting sub-Saharan effect – on Makam Dub. This track is interspersed with trumpet and other inputs, reminding one of Marcus Gad’s recent Moroccan-influenced compositions. Brasov Dance thereafter allows the accordion – an all too rare instrument in reggae – to show just what it can do when tastefully tuned and accompanied by brilliant brass set to riveting rhythms. The first CD ends as it began, with an array of instruments giving reggae a new lease of life, in a way that will appeal to the masses for its capacity to cross international boundaries.
Into The Vibes
The second CD offers much the same in terms of lively uplifting reggae rhythms set to an array of international influences. For example, it opens with Arizona Skankin, conjuring up images of a Wild West movie, with Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef galloping into the sunset! The pace then eases on Sulijawa with (again, all too rare) vocals relaxing the mood. This easy pace is maintained on Dub in Abbesses, for a track the likes of which one might hear whilst strolling by the Seine in Paris. Next up, Irie Sunside maintains the restful mood in the classical mode, and would be ideally suited for a canapés and fine wine party interval.
This interval would be badly needed, for it’s promptly followed by Celtik Mode, as the Irish-influenced track invokes Riverdance images of carefully choreographed dancing, amidst an array of swirling skirts and high kicks. Bring it on! There’s no room for rest then, as Jazzy Spy follows, reminding listeners of the captivating Henry Mancini orchestra’s signature tune to the immortal ‘Pink Panther’ movie series.
The compilation’s penultimate track Bad Monster is anything but what the title suggests. With its deceptively fast-moving rhythm, it’s guaranteed to keep the dancers on the floor. The double-CD ends with the rootsy Rusty Vibes, doing what all accomplished artists do – leaving their audience baying for more!
So, if you’re planning a party and want the babies, the grandparents, and all in-between age groups to rock to the rhythms, this is the perfect accompaniment. For reggae aficionados attempting to categorise the release, think in terms of the wonderful Ital Horns with (the late) Rico Rodriguez on board, letting rip on Mas Que Nada. Yes, it’s that good.
Makam Dub feat. Kino Doscun