Wednesday, July 11, 2012

GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance 2012


That time of the year is almost here...The Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance is set to go down next weekend beginning Thursday July 19th.  This year's lineup features Khaira Arby, SMOD, John Brown's Body, Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited, Locos Por Juana, and a long list of other acts from several corners of the globe.  If you've never attended GrassRoots before, this is a great year to start.  You'll be eager to make it a yearly tradition I'm sure.

Dig the interview I conducted with John Brown's Body Drummer Tommy Benedetti in advance of the 2010 GrassRoots Fest:



MGA: I've seen many labels attached to your music, Future Roots Music, the most commonly used. How would you describe your sound in your own words?

TB: I think the term "Future Roots" does describe our music pretty well. We all love and respect Jamaican reggae/dub from the 70s and 80s. So our songs are generally built from a heavy dub influence. But we have many other influences that go into our sound as well. And I think its our job to keep our sound progressing and keep things as fresh as possible. JBB is a thick sound. A big, loud machine.

MGA: How were you first introduced to reggae and who were the artists that made the biggest impact on your musical development?

TB: I was introduced to reggae as I was finishing up at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I took the gig with The Tribulations and went on a crash course of reggae and dub. Kevin Kinsella and Elliot Martin dropped some heavy stuff on me to check out. The Gladiators, Burning Spear, Black Uhuru, Alpha Blondy. It was a whole new world for me to dive into. Sly and Robbie had a huge influence on my approach to playing dub, and still do to this day.

MGA: The personnel in JBB has changed a lot over the years. How would you describe what the most recent changes have brought to the band?

TB: We've been lucky, that everytime we've lost someone, we've brought in a musician thats really helped JBB progress and get to where we are today. We are very much like a family. There's a lot more involved in being a member of JBB than just being a killer player. This current lineup has been traveling the planet together for over 4 years, which is pretty good for our business.

MGA: How would you describe the evolution of Reggae music over the last twenty years and where it fits in the global music scene?

TB: Reggae is a very far reaching genre. I see a lot of kids all over the country that are being inspired by reggae; a lot of times on tour we will have a local act open the show ,so it's cool to see everyone's unique approach to playing the music. Some of my favorite reggae these days comes from all over the globe. Black Seeds from New Zealand and, Dubmatix from Toronto, Midnite from St Croix...there are a lot of hard working bands doing some real good things these days.

MGA: You guys have played all over the world. How does the reception vary in different places and cultures?

TB: Generally, people come to our shows and are very appreciative I think. We bring something different to the table so not everyone gets it. But we've had some great shows in France, Hawaii, New Zealand, there's always gonna be some places that are better than others, just like in the states, but when we come to town we're gonna throw down, no matter where we are.

MGA: JBB has been playing grassroots for several years. Could you describe the vibe and energy of the festival for those who haven't been there before?

TB: I think I can speak for most of the guys and say that Grassroots is one of, if not our favorite summer fest to play. I always have a great time and the caliber of music is really off the charts. This is probably around our 10th one, so we play to a real big crowd and its an incredible feeling. I recommend it to all of my friends.

MGA: One band I'm especially looking forward to seeing is The Black Seeds, a band with a similar sound to JBB who you guys have toured with extensively. Could you describe their sound and how you feel about it?

TB: They have more of a soul/funk vibe than JBB does maybe, but we share many common influences. I am a huge fan. We had them open a US tour for us last year and they returned the favor by bringing us to New Zealand for 3 weeks of shows. It was a real life changer. To me,they have it all..they're amazing musicians, great songs, and a sound that's all their own..and you know I have to say their drummer Jarney is one of my favorites!

MGA: Who are some of the other acts to which you're especially looking forward to seeing this year at G-Roots?

TB: Unfortunately this year we have to leave Saturday to play a big outdoor show in Boston, so I won't be able to catch as much music as I usually do, but I would be psyched to see Oliver Mutukudzi and Railroad Earth..we did the jam cruise with them back in January..they are a great band..and I think The Black Seeds are playing the same night we are, so I can not wait to see them and party with them

MGA: JBB has evolved and changed quite a bit over the years. Where would you like to see JBB go from here on out musically and otherwise?

TB: I want us to be happy continuing doing what we do..further crafting our sound and bringing it to the people.

3 comments:

charlie carol said...

There are many people all over the world who love to listen to hip hop music. While there are some who makes certain hip hop music, those people usually look for hip hop loops.

Luis Mary said...

After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don't believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called EZE MALAKA and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: extremewhitelovespell@yahoo. com

Luis Mary said...

After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don't believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called EZE MALAKA and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: extremewhitelovespell@yahoo. com