JAMAICA WORDS: THE CONGOS, SUN ARAW, & M GEDDES GENGRAS


[photo by Alex Welsh for The Fader]

If I start writing (again) about my time in Jamaica it could take up the better part of this morning. So let’s keep it simple: in late December I journeyed to Jamaica to report on the collaboration between iconic roots reggae group The Congos, and L.A. experimentalists Sun Araw and M Geddes Gengras for The Fader. It was an intense time down there in the lion’s den, adjusting my internal clock from NYC-breathless to Rasta time-management systems, entirely immersed in perhaps the strongest musical culture I’ve ever experienced, plus Ashanti Roy’s crazed grandchildren as sunrise alarm clocks, fish tea, George Michael with lasers, a minor yet disturbing horse-trampling, lots of Symbolic Murals, the melodious span and flexibility of patois, and so much more.

[photo by Alex Welsh for The Fader]

The article is now online, accompanied by several photos from Alex Welsh. Writing for The Fader spoils you — it makes me want to travel everywhere with top-notch photographers ready to dig deep and go after the spirit of the thing.

[photo by Alex Welsh for The Fader]

5 thoughts on “JAMAICA WORDS: THE CONGOS, SUN ARAW, & M GEDDES GENGRAS

  1. Hey Jace this is such a great article! Excellent writing man! (and that is some gorgeous photography too) I’m really looking forward to hearing the music that came out of this. I also really want to go back and dig into the congos classic stuff, I just listened to fisherman which is amazing so I’m gonna try to pick up heart of the congos sometime soon. It has a legendary reputation as one of the classic reggae records but seeing that there’s a song called “Sodom and Gommorrow” on it has me worried given the issue of homophobia in Jamaica, not sure if I’ll enjoy it as much, I love Fisherman but can be OCD when it comes to the politics behind the music. I couldn’t even make it through all of boom boom bye knowing what it was about even if musically I liked it…. I always kinda found it confusing that music that focuses so much on love also has this weird hateful underside, im sure it has a lot to do with religion which would of course be tied to poverty which is directly cause by capitalism, “oppression” caused by western privilege and consumerism… And I dunno im just thinking as I write, the world in interesting… don’t think most other have this problem so my loss I guess haha, again beautiful article!! Keep it up, I always enjoy reading/hearing/viewing/whatevering it whatever it is

  2. Max — thanks! glad you enjoyed the piece. Fisherman is a very special tune, to be sure. re: Sodom and Gommorow, check out this lyric fragment from their liner notes. it indicates the vibe they were on, not (as I recall) about homophobia but dealing poetically with issues of change & redemption.

  3. Glad to hear it! much more optimistic about enjoying it now. Also very much looking forward to tonights show! Hope I can tune in live

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