The Roots Bongo Band is an African Reggae Band that combines traditional Roots Reggae with a European influence brought to the band by their female lead singer, Nina Beste. Nina who started singing in a church choir in Germany, later moved to New York where she had professional voice training, and in 2009 she started studying at the University of Westminster. She has a BA (HONS) degree in Commercial Music and has been recording music since 2008.
The band has three official base members: JoeHero (guitarist/male lead singer), Nina (female lead singer), Afang Maakangbaa (singer, bongo, saxophone) and they mostly play together with Omar (bass), Charlie (guitar/keys) and Tony (drums). Based in London, UK, and Banjul, The Gambia, The Roots Bongo Band performs live mainly in Africa at the moment. Their music can be described as combining Roots Reggae with the occasional Pop Reggae track and plenty of African features and vibes.
The aim of their innovative debut album ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ is to present the unity of cultures as a future aim not only in music, but in general. ‘By bringing Africa and Europe closer together, to live in ‘Peace & Love’ we can be the ‘Leaders of Tomorrow,’ the band say.
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‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ presents an excellent array of songs. Beautifully recorded renditions of their songs which I wasn’t familiar with before, but are now lodged in the reggae recesses of my brain. I would say this is classic old-school Reggae with a luscious world-music touch. They sing lyrics you can actually make out and sing-a-long to, which really makes this even more enjoyable. Obviously, when the band communicate in their native tongue, you can just chill out and groove along to the uplifting vibes of the music.
My personal favorites are “Blood Arun,” “Never Give it Up,” “Leaders Of Tomorrow,” “Good Ways,” “Nina,” “If You Love Me,” and “Peace And Love.” However most of the music on this twelve-track album is real feel-good stuff, which send powerful, uplifting vibrations throughout. Even if you’re not a reggae aficionado, you’ll still find some joy on this album.
The Roots Bongo Band dish-up music that is hypnotic, fun, serious, playful, and deeply rooted in the spirit of Africa. Therefore the friendship, love, respect, and musical joining that this album ignites within each listener, is something special, worthwhile, and precious.
In my opinion, the ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ is medicine. Emotional, psychological and musical medicine for the masses. Wonderfully produced, fun, lively, and entertaining, this a very good album indeed, that will appeal to a wide range of reggae and world-music fans.
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