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Friday, Apr 29 2016 | 02:26
Image: 1603757 Strut team up for the first time with respected French label Heavenly Sweetness for the brand new album by the inspired poet, novelist and musician, Anthony Joseph.


Strut team up for the first time with respected French label Heavenly Sweetness for
the brand new album by the inspired poet, novelist and musician, Anthony Joseph.
The Caribbean is an influence that runs through Joseph’s discography, obliquely or headon,
suggested or on full display. It resonates on each of his albums, from the furious trance
of ‘Bird Head Son’ to the more polished ‘Time’. On ‘Caribbean Roots’, he has now decided
to turn a guiding thread and a reference point into a communications cable – a powerful
bond that makes light of distance and braves the seas to link his island to that of his
friends in the Caribbean arc, dancing to the strains of tumbélé and mendé only a few miles
from Port of Spain where people live it up to rapso and soca beats.
‘Caribbean Roots’ represents a return to his roots for Anthony Joseph, who has always
remained true to a powerful, deep-seated sense of his Caribbean identity. Having started
out as a joint project with the outstanding percussionist Roger Raspail (Cesaria Evora,
Papa Wemba, Kassav), ‘Caribbean Roots’ swiftly grew into a creative force incorporating
the rhythms, sounds and vibes that rock the Caribbean from San Fernando, Scarborough,
Kingston and Les Abymes to Port-au-Prince and Havana. Backed by a band made up
of a blend of local musicians, the album attempts to unite the different islands into a
single entity whilst ensuring that the identity of each is in no way diluted by the mix,
instead creating a richer and stronger alloy. The saxophones of Shabaka Hutchings (The
Heliocentrics) and Jason Yarde, the trumpet of Yvon Guillard (Magma), the bass of Mike
Clinton (Salif Keita) and the trombone of Pierre Chabrèle (Creole Jazz Orchestra) all
combine to form a group of Caribbean All Stars to which Andy Narrell, the master of the
steel pans, brings ringing drum beats.
The album features bursts of catchy rhythms and slow percussive riff progressions, as on a
film soundtrack, incandescent voodoo funk and rhythmic high-speed frenzies shot through
with free-jazz sax. This reunion of the Caribbean diaspora was never meant to come up
with a formula divisible into eleven separate tracks – its goal was to explore and discover
new sounds. And all of this under Anthony Joseph’s guidance, as he spins his lyrical blend
of afro-futurism and surrealism, commemorating the Caribbean people’s sometimes violent
resistance to colonialism. Anthony Joseph, one moment a chronicler reciting his text
against a background of simple percussion, the next a storyteller possessed by the power
of a hypnotic bassline, then an adventurer chanting among mangroves where the rhythm
section and the brass have created an impenetrable thicket. At turns, an MC too, strutting
to a fat, throbbing groove in vocal tandem with Sly Johnson or David Rudder to pay tribute
to Mighty Sparrow, the undisputed and indisputable king of calypso.

Scattered and separated from each other by dozens,
sometimes hundreds of nautical miles, the isles of the
archipelago communicated with each other hitherto through
seaborne vibrations. With ‘Caribbean Roots’, Anthony Joseph
has ventured beneath the waves to tie their roots together.

- One of Anthony Joseph’s finest and hardest hitting studio albums, exploring deep
Caribbean musical heritage from across the islands
- featured guests include Roger Raspail, Shabaka Hutchings and Yvon Guillard
- first collaboration between Strut and Heavenly Sweetness
- touring around album across Europe during 2016-7
Gil Scott Heron, Langston Hughes, Lancelot Layne, Mighty Sparrow, Amiri Baraka,
Marius Cultier, Maya Angelou, Benjamin Zephaniah, The Last Poets, Shadow, David
Rudder, Mighty Duke Available from 24.06.2016
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