Uplifting music lovers in recent years with memorable live performances and great recordings, Soothsayers unify vital and disparate sonic elements into an organic and deeply grooving sound.
Hornsmen and singers Robin Hopcraft (trumpet) and Idris Rahman’s (saxophone) dynamic presence and great musicianship lead their audience on a sonar organic journey with big vocal choruses and compelling horns. Bringing in her vital and beautiful harmony and lead vocals, Julia Biel and Togolese bassist and singer Kush are as well an integral part of this, seven piece, band’s multi dimensional force.
Infused with the musical culture of the band’s base in Brixton, London and fostering a deep respect and love for pan African sounds that have profoundly influenced and been a basis and inspiration for so many contemporary musical genres.
Debut album Lost City drew on jazz tradition while the acclaimed follow-up disc ,Tangled Roots , channeled funk and hip-hop alongside afro-beat and reggae, and the two most recent albums One More Reason (2009) and Red Earth Dub (2011) showcased their love of dub, harnessing deep grooves and mesmerizing sonic manipulation to perfectly compliment their pulsating Afro-beat rhythms and mighty horn arrangements. Drawing on a range of influences from Fela Kuti , The Wailers, Miles Davis , King Tubby and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry to The Specials, Hugh Masekela, Roots Manuva and Massive Attack,.
Over recent years the band have also performed and recorded with an impressive array of guest vocalists such as Jamaican reggae great Johnny Clarke, Maxi Jazz (Faithless) and Nigerian afro soul star Keziah Jones.
An international touring schedule recently took them to the first ever Dhaka World Music Festival (Bangladesh Feb 2011). As well as this Idris Rahman and Robin Hopcraft have both been key players in the on stage band in FELA! at London’s National Theatre (Jan 2011) with several other band members also appearing in the show.
Idris Rahman - tenor sax / vocals
Robin Hopcraft -trumpet /vocals
Julia Biel – Vocals
Kodjovi Kush – bass / vocals
Phil Dawson – guitar
Kishon Khan – Keyboards
Westley Joseph – Drums
Songlines: “One More Reason might finally win them the mainstream attention they deserve….Rootsy and slick , global and local, this is a party album with it’s head in the bass bin.”
Froots Magazine: “ warm buzzing horns and the skitter of Phil Dawson’s guitar…Soothsayers’ most satisfying set yet…..
Uncut Magazine: **** " One of the finest slices of a Anglo Carribean fusion since The Specials in their prime......artfully mixing in funk and Afrobeat to their deep dub"
Clash Magazine: "a truly intoxicating dub experience... featuring a galaxy of reggae and dub stars....like the best jambalaya it’s hot and spicy and will leave you grinning from ear to ear"
Metro (London): "Afro-dub at its most infectious, an energetic burst of musical virtuosity that is both conscious and peppily propulsive"
Mojo **** ‘A heady sonic brew, crafted in the best jazz tradition by drawing respectfully from disparate elements…the album is full of irresistibly funky grooves, intricate percussion, virtuoso vocals, elaborate guitar lines and swinging horns, with meaningful lyrics and uncommon vocal arrangements raising the overall musical standard one level higher.’
The Guardian: ‘Thrilling harmonies…seriously infectious dance floor grooves…goose bump inducing vocals.’
Echoes: ‘An impressive mosaic of Afrobeat, dub and funky fusion…dynamic volleys of call and response…cascading horn riffs and melodies.’
Jazzwise: **** 'Tangled Roots shows how exciting and diverse things get when you hold a mirror up to London’s musical melting pot.'
BBC Radio 3: ‘The eclectic blend works perfectly with the sound being organic and unique. It reflects the diverse cultural influences in modern urban Britain …….”
XLR8R: ‘African rhythms filtered through the prism of dub…accomplished musicianship…highly compelling.’
Straight No Chaser: ‘The whole disc constitutes a major step forward for one of the hardest working and most creative groups on the scene.’
Last.fm: “Soothsayers played this at Paradise Gardens in Victoria Park, June 2009. To say their live performances are 'blistering' is an understatement. This is absolutely one of the best live performances I've seen, comparable only to bands like De La Soul or AWB in their ability to whip up a crowd and get them feeling awesome. …go and see them.
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