Womad Summer Session Artist Profiles
Summer Session Artist Profiles
Jimmy Cliff (Jamaica)
The last surviving icon from the reggae revolution of the 1960’s, Jimmy Cliff is a musical innovator, singer/songwriter, actor and true ambassador for reggae who has maintained an illustrious career from the 20th Century and into the 21st.
Born in St. James, Jamaica, the young man who wanted to simply express himself through music and acting has gone on to influence an eclectic mix of artists from Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon to the Clash.
Known for his easy, pop-friendly reggae style as well as harder-edged tunes with social and political lyrics and earnest voice, Jimmy Cliff has put his signature sound on some familiar hits. His constant messages of brotherhood and peace for the world are both heartfelt and genuine but without pontification.
Jimmy's album 'Humanitarian' is about bringing out the better side of humanity which, “going into this new millennium, is really going to be a necessity," explains Cliff. "The album talks about family, empowering yourself as an individual and rising up to achieve your goals, whether spiritual or material."
From decade to decade and 22 albums later, Jimmy Cliff is still drawing capacity crowds of all ages. The 21st Century will find Cliff once again extensively touring the United States, South America, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Africa and Tahiti.
"I want to stimulate and motivate people to appreciate life - it's my calling." Cliff reflects. "My way of serving is through music, so that's what I have to do."
Chico Cesar (Brazil)
"I feel good about the fact that it was music that took me from Paraíba’s hinterland and threw me helplessly into other hinterlands. Music supports me. It takes me out of Brazil and always brings me back, each time more incestuously. Music has taken me to sing blindly, yet has let me see the world reinvent itself here, there and everywhere: Japan, Turkey, Finland, Cape Verde, Brazil and throughout Europe, North America. And also Macapá, Três Lagoas, Pelotas, Mossoró, distant places in Brazil. I want my music to be complete, and since I came to São Paulo in 1985, I have known that it is the world that I want to share my music with.“ Chico César, 2002
Chico César comes from Catolé do Rocha, Paraíba, a city of 12,000 inhabitants and the cradle of the traditional north-eastern family. It's an area where existence is hard and life expectancy is short. Hundreds of people go hungry. From every 100 boys that are born in Catolé do Rocha, maybe 20 will survive their first month. From these 20, maybe five will enter school, and one will attend university. The stark reality of this area has consistently given its musicians a rare vision that is manifested in their lyrics.
The seventh son of a poor, uneducated farm worker and a washerwoman, Chico César's harsh early life was made softer by the kindness of an unmarried aunt who helped him get a scholarship to a school run by German nuns.
At age three, Chico learned to read. By 12, without knowing a single musical note, he composed his first song ‘Quando Chega o Carnaval’ (When Carnival Comes). He just kept repeating the melody until it was memorised and only later composed the lyrics, a technique that to this day remains his singular method of composition.
Chico claims that his melodies bloom in every situation and that they have a lot to do with musically producing certain images. It's not his habit to have a deluge of ideas, but rather one idea that takes him. That way, the music really becomes a part of him.
Words are extremely important in the north-east of Brazil. One's word, many times, is worth more than a document. In fact, the literature and folklore of the area still exists primarily as an oral tradition. Repentistas (troubadours) sing improvised stanzas as they tell stories or perform in desafios (improvised poetic duels).
As a boy Chico co-existed with this richness and its wisdom. It was originally through his neighbour’s blaring the music of Luiz Gonzaga, Trio Nordestino, and Jackson do Pandeiro that Chico received his initial contact with music.
When he was a teen he worked at a record store where everything from sertaneja to Tropicália was being played constantly. It was inevitable that Chico digested and assimilated the music of those who came before him like Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso.
Cornerstone Roots (NZ)
Cornerstone Roots is an eight-piece original reggae roots band from Raglan. The band is an integral part of an exciting roots movement that has been gaining momentum in New Zealand over the past few years... music that is message orientated, soul induced, & bass driven.
Cornerstone Roots focus at a flax roots level constantly taking their own unique brand of conscious original roots music to the people through touring and performing live. Their performances are strong and powerful and their message of peace is easily accessible to any audience.
The band epitomise the organic approach of some of their earlier predecessors but still whip up grooves that sit equally as well alongside more contemporary acts such as Fat Freddy’s Drop and Salmonella Dub.
Formed in 2001, the original three-piece outfit included singer/songwriter/guitarist Bri Ruawai, drummer Turongo Dixon and bassist Naomi Tuao.
Their music at the time was riddim-focused and a mix of contemporary styled ska/roots/soul and reggae. After the release of debut single 'One Fine Day' in 2002, the following year the Cornerstone Roots released the debut album Soul Revolution ... a gritty live rhythm track album described by some reviewers as “brilliant” and “impressive”.
2005 sees Conerstone Roots recording a new album. Cornerstone Roots has opened for Jamaican legends Burning Spear, Toots and the Maytals, Michael Rose with Sly n Robbie, Lee Scratch Perry & the Mad Professor.
With a deep respect for Jamaican music,
Cornerstone Roots successfully produce a nu roots sound that
reflects the bands local environment, and like so many other
New Zealand roots musicians, the Cornerstone Roots message
is building a new generation of listeners worldwide.
Lucid 3 (NZ)
Victoria Girling-Butcher – vocals/guitar/songwriter
Marcus Lawson – bass
Derek Metivier – drums
Lucid 3 is one of the most critically acclaimed bands to have being produced by these shores in recent years. It’s not simply that they have a stockpile of songs that effortlessly creep into your musical subconscious, but that the strands from which this band weave their musical tapestry is so undefinable yet compelling. They inhabit a genre all by themselves –roots, blues, folk, pop, rock, ‘trip-hop’ and whatever other pigeonhole you care to name…
In 2002, Lucid 3 released its debut album Running Down The Keys which featured the massive b-net & Juice TV hits ‘Smooth Machine’‚ ‘Fluid’‚ and ‘Paradigm’. Released independently but with strong word-of-mouth, the album raced on to 3000 sales in a very short space of time.
Sales were also helped by extensive national touring and by building a robust fanbase the old-fashioned way – through superbly delivered live shows. The concert stage is an area this band truly flies. Marcus and Derek’s rock solid rhythms and frenetic energy provide the foundation to which Victoria’s captivating voice and guitar can soar.
In June this year Lucid 3 released its follow-up album All Moments Leading To This, prefaced by the superlative new single ‘AM Radio’. The new 11-track album builds naturally on the template provided by Running Down The Keys – a sonic palette that sounds organic yet modern, sensual rhythms that loop and twist, and an expertly judged lyrical and melodic awareness that emphasises Victoria’s skills as one of New Zealand’s most gifted young songwriters.
All Moments Leading To This peaked at the Number 2 position on the national Independent Music Chart, and Number 4 on the national Heatseekers chart in the first week of July – the highest new entry that week.
Amongst the glowing reviews, the band also graced the cover of the June/July issue of NZ Musician magazine, featured in NZ Listener and Metro, played one of the most memorable performances on TV2’s National Anthem, TV3’s A Queen’s Tour and Maori TV’s Coast music show, and surprisingly for such an eclectic band, played live on Top Of The Pops. Proof of just how popular the band have become came when the video for AM Radio won Best Indie Video at the 4th Annual Juice TV Video Awards. The award, decided by public voting, garnered over 13,000 votes, leaving the competition in their wake. Rip It Up readers also voted AM Radio their favourite single, giving it 1st placing on the cover CD of the magazine’s Christmas issue.
The All Moments Tour (June/July ’04) saw sell-out shows in Wellington & Christchurch, and in October the band supported multi-platinum artist Brooke Fraser on an extensive national tour that played to the more mainstream audiences in 15 cities in just 17 days! Last summer Lucid 3 played the famous Grey Lynn Park Festival and supported Brooke Fraser and Dave Dobbyn on a 12-date tour of the North Island, before playing at WOMAD New Zealand 2005.
“… songs with choruses that could melt your resistance, ballads that break your heart …organic, semi-acoustic rootsy quality (folk, blues and funk) blends perfectly with nonchalant 'trip-hop' beats and contemporary radio sensibilities.” – Gary Steel, Metro, August 2004
“Victoria Girling-Butcher has established herself as one of New Zealand’s leading female vocalists on a level with Bic Runga, Goldenhorse’s Kirsten Morelle and Anika Moa.” – Marty Duda, Real Groove, July 2004-12-23
… a very impressive, assured second album, signalling that Lucid 3 may well just be New Zealand’s next big thing.” – Rip It Up, August/September 2004