Some music cannot be found on a map or within iTunes categories. Some music is so original it seems snatched from the great, invisible substrata that runs below all human activity, a sound aching to be born without a flag or fixed allegiance - free, questing, overflowing with immediate, tangible life. This is the music of Toubab Krewe, the vibrant Asheville, NC-based instrumental powerhouse that creates a sonic Pangaea that lustily swirls together rock, African traditions, jam sensibilities, international folk strains and more. While nearly impossible to put into any box, it takes only a few moments to realize in a very palpable way that one is face-to-face with a true original who recognizes no borders in a march towards a muscular, original, globally switched-on sound.
Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew
After packing the national stadium for performances in their home country of Sierra Leone and contributing music to the Academy Award–nominated film Blood Diamond, African superstars Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew are poised to conquer the global airwaves with their international debut album (due out in fall 2009) and their unique sound, which blends the swagger and funk of hip-hop, the passion and energy of dancehall, and the socially conscious vibe of reggae. The group has generated so much buzz in the hip-hop world that major stars including ?uestlove and Black Thought of The Roots, Talib Kweli, K'Naan, Res, and El-P have contributed their vocal and/or production talents to the upcoming release, helmed by the production team Fyre Department (whose credits include 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, GZA, Talib Kweli, Justin Timberlake). With this great collection of creatives, Bajah's own star is rising as the Sean Paul of West Africa with the social conscience of Bob Marley and Fela Kuti.
So much more than just another hip-hop outfit, Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew have been likened to another band renowned internationally for speaking out against political and social injustices: U2. In Sierra Leone, now emerging from the throes of a brutal 10-year civil war, Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew are hailed as "the voice of the voiceless," speaking truths on behalf of those people who have no political power, spreading messages of peace and reconciliation, outing corrupt politicians, and inspiring the disenfranchised youth to pursue their dreams. "We always speak about real stuff, like the suffering, what is going on," says the group's frontman, Bajah. "So most of the youth, the fans, are going crazy over it, because they think it's the reality— that's how it is. So they show mad love at times."
Love is another theme of their music, and the joy and love their legions of fans have shown them comes through in their energetic, powerful live performances. The Crew—which consists of Bajah, A-Klazz, and Dovy Dovy in the U.S. and the Jungle Leaders (Funky Fred, Dell, and Sly) back in Sierra Leone—started writing, recording, and performing together in 2000, and quickly rose to the heights of fame in their home country, where everyone from young schoolchildren to village elders have come out to support Dry Eye's music and message—often going to extremes to show these national heroes love and respect. "When we have a show in the national stadium, you see these guys making a long line, taking off their T-shirts and putting them on the floor so we can walk on it as a mat to go on the stage," says A-Klazz. "Yeah. Red carpet," Bajah adds with amazement. "A lot of love, man. For real."
In Sierra Leone, the term dry eye is an expression of boldness. "The kids that always try to ask questions and want to know things are the dry eye. If you always coming up to talk to the elder people, trying to ask them certain questions, they say, 'Oh, you, you're dry eye,' like, 'You're bold. You're too bold!'" Bajah explains. "But we just use dry eye because we decide to talk about the bad things going on. Cause the leaders, we take them as our fathers—but we still gonna say some things, the reality. We just gonna stand, no matter what. No more tears in the eye. We're just gonna stay dry eye and say something. You understand? That's strong.
"We talk about different things," Bajah continues. "We talk about love. We talk about life, social problems. Music is about life." And now, Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew are sharing their unique perspective on life and spreading their message of hope, love, and inspiration across the globe through their vibrant, infectious music and their electrifying live shows. And the world is listening...
The Voodoo Fix
Originally from Whittier, California, The Voodoo Fix are on their fourth national tour. With raw, blues-drenched vocals and an air-tight rhythm section, the band has grown from coast to coast with their electrifying live shows. Currently, The Voodoo Fix are touring the East Coast and are back in the studio working on a new EP with producer Gary Valletri. Now with dates across the country and new releases soon to be announced, the Voodoo crew is busier than ever, delivering an undeniable fix everywhere they go.
Abe Rivers - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Mr. P - Guitar, Vocals
Jeremy Deitz - Drums, Vocals
Captain Willy - Bass, Vocals
Andrew "Doc" Russell - Guitar, Keyboard, Bottleneck, Percussion Toys, Vocals