Indie / Polyrhythmic Ethereal Dub-Scape soaked in Psychedelic, West African Resonance.
Two years in the making, Remember is the full-length debut from New England's Indie/West-African psychedelic darlings, Barika. A mesmerizing blend of highly danceable polyrhythmic grooves mixed with ethereal dub-scape, Barika (pronounced body-kah) is the brain-child of Kamel N'goni player and Percussionist Craig Myers. The Kamel N'goni, a traditional West African harp from the Wassoulou region of Mali is the driving force on the album, peppered by deep horn, keyboard and bass grooves with uncompromising, sharp hitting drums.
From Burlington, Vermont, the seven-piece ensemble features Craig Myers (Kamel N'goni, Percussion; Rubblebucket, Mike Gordon), Caleb Bronz (Drums; Gordon Stone Band), Rob Morse (Bass; Vorzca Trio, Anais Mitchell, Hadestown), Andric Severence (Keyboards; Afinque), and a powerhouse of horns with Adam Dodson (Trombone; Rubblebucket), Dave Purcell (Trumpet; Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band), and Deva Racusin (Tenor Sax; Afinque).
From Hidden Track: "Over the course of Remember's ten tracks, Barika shows off their versatility. There's a shred-heavy guitar solo in Blues For Segu, synth-swirls a plenty on Grounded and the more groove-heavy Eh Baba. Yet, in most cases it all starts with a dynamic Kamel N'goni riff from Myers and builds outwards."
Think high-energy, according to Thread Magazine, in the likes of the powerfully rooted Afro-Beat music of such artists as Fela Kuti or King Sunny Ade, with the modern edge and pop of the more recent Rubblebucket and Toubab Krewe.
Performer Magazine called Barika "wholly rhythmic, captivating audiences with the beautiful, hypnotic way in which they interweave melody and groove to create something that is not only danceable, but incredibly interesting to listen to. Barika creates a soundscape of funk soaked in psychedelic, West African resonance. The outfit stands out because they are multidimensional"
Their live shows attract a wide range of fans from imporovisational music lovers, to world music aficionados, to indie and rock fans. Band leader Craig Myers has studied traditional West African music for the past 13 years, traveling through Mali, Senegal, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast and has toured extensively over the past several years with both Rubblebucket and Mike Gordon (of Phish).
We can enlist the help of a street team to get things moving and make for a really enjoyable night of music.
"Led by their grooves, Barika is wholly rhythmic, captivating audiences with the beautiful, hypnotic way in which they interweave melody and groove to create something that is not only danceable, but incredibly interesting to listen to. Barika creates a soundscape of funk soaked in psychedelic, West African resonance." - Performer Magazine
"Captivating polyrhythmic soundscapes that meld the sound of Mali with fine Western jazz-funk-Afrobeat compositions" - WRUV-FM, Burlington
"It's sparkling and adventuresomely close to a truly remarkable record." - Seven Days
"With the release of Barika's other-worldly Remember, Vermont's best-kept musical secret is about to get out." - Hidden Track
"Barika is a little like what Rubblebucket would be if the latter band were plucked out of Brooklyn and deposited in West Africa -- a three-man horn section tops the swaying rhythms laid down by the percussion of Myers and drummer Caleb Bronz, while Myers' signature work comes on the ngoni, a stringed instrument he plays with hypnotic precision. His rapid-fire ngoni playing on 'Blues For Segu' (matched by guest guitarist Bob Wagner of Burlington) flows like liquid, while his plucking on the tune "Grounded" sets off an unexpected R&B vibe. The percussion rules, however, on "Eh Baba," a number made for sweaty dancing." - The Burlington Free Press
Album Review from Seven Days (Burlington, VT):
On their long-awaited full-length debut, Remember, Barika finally capture their uniquely thrilling brand of Afro-funk-psych-indie-whatever-rock on record. The album is, in no uncertain terms, a dynamic tour de force. The brilliantly conceived and expertly executed brainchild of n'goni master Craig Myers is among the finest local albums you'll hear in this, or any other, year. Really.
Remember begins with a shimmering, n'goni line that imparts an ethereal calm. Beware: It's a setup. At the precise moment when Myers' nimble plucking renders the listener into a blissful lull, the title track explodes in a maelstrom of steamy funk. Exultant horns take flight over Caleb Bronz's insistent drums and JP Candelier's undulating bass. Andric Severance's twisting key swirls create an iridescent bed of shifting, opaque sound. Then, just at the height of tension, the band relents, leaving only Myers and his rippling, crystalline tones.
That sense of contrast, the ability to expand and contract, is central to Myers' compositional philosophy. Unpredictability is a running theme throughout Remember. "Baga" sets distinctly Americanized funk horn melodies in opposition to Myers' curious West African modal shifts before descending into a spacious, psychedelic bridge that ultimately unites the two. "Blues for Segu" roils along murkily until the band fractures its heady groove with an expansive, polyrhythmic break and a fearsome solo from guest guitarist Bob Wagner. "Good Morning" breaks like dawn with a yawning midrange progression from Myers. Eventually it yields to a phalanx of disorienting noise that jolts the listener to reluctant wakefulness.
As star studded an ensemble as Barika is, the guests on Remember are equally impressive. Keyboardist Tom Cleary makes a typically potent and sonically arresting appearance on "River Niger." Saxophonist Brian McCarthy is also a welcome addition on that track, the following number and album closer "Grace." That last cut is the only one on the record with vocals, courtesy of Rubblebucket's Annakalmia Clark Traver, who also wrote the lyrics. As she so often does with her own band, Traver's distinctive delivery lends a singular depth and character. It's sparkling and adventuresomely close to a truly remarkable record.
Featured at NakedMusicians.com
Live in Burlington, VT (with Horns)
Live In The Studio
Live At RhinoFest 2011 (with Horns)
Live in Burlington, VT at Nor'Easter Festival
(click for hi-res)
Craig Myers (Kamel N'goni)
Caleb Bronz (drums)
Andric Severence (keyboards)
Rob Morse (bass)
Dave Purcell (Trumpet)
Adam Dotson (Trombone)
Deva Racusin (Tenor Sax)