Kicking off April to the sweet sounds of the new Version Xcursion album “System Echo”. After a brief hiatus from deejaying and production, Sassa’le has put together a great downtempo release fusing the sounds of Bristol trip-hop, reggae, and dub. This was followed by some great new vibes from Polyphonic Dub Collective, The Dubb Style, Yabass Yaba Radics (dubs from the vault), Beat Inc., Black Job, Bryan Art, Banco de Gaia, McPullish (and friends), and our own Mutant Frogs. Celebrating Mayd Hubb’s recent “Mellowmoon” release with Joe Pilgrim, we played a 3 consecutive Mayd Hubb tracks from 3 different albums. And what a subsonic stew of cool music to fill out the show from the likes of Black Uhuru/Prince Jammy, All India Radio, Little Tempo, Toots & the Maytals, Dubor & the Duborians, Big Shiny, The Slits, Jean-Michel Jarre, Jackie Mittoo, BDLabs, Djosos Krost, and more…
An unbelievable eclectic mix on tonight’s program… But, first up was the incredible new release Re-Record Not Fade Away from Yesking. What a slinky, chilled musical trip with elements of trip-hop and hip-hop, and a solid dubwise foundation. On top of this we dropped the dub bomb that is Alpha Steppa + Alpha & Omega — with the excellent The Unrelenting Force of Dub Dynasty. And up 3rd on the bill, the brand new John Brown’s Body album Kings and Queens (on Easy Star). Wow…and then more great new sounds from Yabass Yaba Radics, The Dubb Style, Addis Pablo & Suns of Dub, DubRaJah, Version Xcursion, Fanfara meets Transglobal Underground, Hotdrop, Caro Emerald, Banco de Gaia, Mutant Frogs, and Toots & the Maytals (from the “Ska Never Grow Old” EP). Also, on the same night I had the pleasure of meeting (and interviewing) Mutabaruka, we played the powerful poem “Columbus Ghost”.
The dub overfloweth… Starting out with the great new Breath of Peace album from Dub Caravan meets Hornsman Coyote. Then came the cool and varied Lion In Dub release from the Dub Campaign, followed closely by Patra’s choice new single “Sweet Reggae Music”. And then another two-fer from Yesking’s superb “Re-Record Not Fade Away” release on BBE, followed by new tunes from Dub Rifles, Tricky, Dub Dynasty, Fred Locks (archival tracks on new box set), John Brown’s Body, Yabass Yaba Radics, Dub Gabriel, Version Xcurson, 2 Kings, and Reggaesta (remixing Amy Winehouse).
Tonight, to culminate National Poetry Month, the Echo Chamber presented the annual “Word Beat I Powa” dub poetry, beat poetry, hip-hop poetry, and spoken word special. Of course, it was dub poetry that set the foundation of the show. And at the base of that foundation tonight was the great poet Mutabaruka – who appeared On April 9th of this year at Macalester College, in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Caribbean Students Association of Macalester presented “Resisting Oppression program: JaMinn with Rastafarian Poet Mutabaruka”. An excerpt of his performance shows up in a very special “Word Sound I Powa” half-hour mix put together by artist & friend of the show Eggblood. Also, Dr. StrangeDub’s interview of Muta from the same night is also part of the program.
Among the other dub poets featured were Jazzmin Tutum, Yasus Afari, Oku Onoura, Haji Mike (with Dub Caravan), Spaceape (with Dub Gabriel), Ras Takura, Oliver Smith, Jean Binta Breeze, Malachi Smith, and of course, the incomparable Linton Kwesi Johnson. But there was much more than dub poetry… From the Beat camp we had Jack Kerouac, and Umar Bin Hassan (of The Last Poets) joined Qaballah Steppers with “Trust” in Eggblood’s mix. Other voices included Ken Nordine’s unique ‘word jazz’; the powerful words and music of Liberian born artist/poet (and KFAI DJ), e.g. bailey; and The Last Skeptik (ft. Jehst) with the fresh track “Lullaby” (on BBE Records). Ahh, but let us not forget the extraordinary Jamaican DJs. Before there was dub poetry as we know it today, there was already the great tradition of Jamaican “toasters”. DJ Baby Swiss highlighted the art of toasting with I-Roy, Nica Smart, Rhoda Dakar, Ranking Roger, Clint Eastwood & General Saint, Ranking Ann, and George Nooks & Trinity, and StrangeDub added U-Roy (with Horace Andy). Heck, we even had a few snippets from Ruby the Galactic Gumshoe, and Walter Cronkite. What an eclectic mix of words…and beats…and Powa!
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