Reggae Band Bambu Station In New York
The Roots and Dub on the River show will take place aboard the Half Moon Cruise Boat, which leaves at 1:30 p.m. sharp from the Skyport Marina at East 23rd St. and FDR Drive. The concert will run from 2:30 to 5:30.
This Sunday, Reggae band, Bambu Station, will be one of the headline acts at the Roots and Dub on the River concert cruise. Proceeds from the concert will fund the JRDC Shashamane School, in Ethiopia.
Bambu Station will also be interviewed by Black Star News and members of the Midnight Ravers Radio program on WBAI 99.5. The radio show starts at midnight on August 28. The interview will last until 1: a.m. The show will also be available online at www.wbai.org
Hailing from the U.S.V.I., Bambu Station is one of the most dynamic Roots Reggae bands of the new millennium. In the past ten years, musicians from the U.S. Virgin Islands have been prominent among the current wave of conscious Roots Reggae artists.
Performers such as Dezaire, Pressure, Abja, Niyorah, Army, Ikabah, Iba and the Star Lion Family are just a sample of the budding musical crop being harvested in the Virgin Islands. Leading the charge, along with the legendary band Midnite, is Bambu Station.
Bambu Station was founded, in 1996, by lead singer Jalani Horton, from St. Thomas, a one-time justice system family mediator and aspiring lawyer. But during his time as a family mediator he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer.
He explained “I did family mediation for 13 years, realizing I don’t want to be an attorney; and in those 13 years of family mediation, it helped me realize the wounds and scars that we as a people operate from, and never get dealt with.”
Horton stated “while working for the justice system, I started singing.” After a Black History Month celebration, Horton’s singing moved a woman who “came up to me and shared with me how the presentation affected her. And she felt that’s something [music] I should really consider doing. So I did.”
Horton was inspired by several artists including: Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Chuck D, and the Last Poets. However, he singles out Steel Pulse singer, David Hines as the “biggest influence” on him as a singersongwriter. “This brother’s lyrics make me look up who is Steve Biko, who is George Jackson, you know, and that was bless. Not to mention the timbre of his voice was unique.”
In 1999, Bambu Station released the album “Congo Moon” which Horton described as a “wonderful experience.” In 2000, Bambu Station released the haunting, independent single “Amadou Diallo,” about the 1999 killing of 23-year-old Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo, who died in a 41-shot barrage by NYPD cops.
Horton says “By 2001, I knew I wanted music, or at least artistic expression to be a large part of my daily life.” He added “I literally felt like if I didn’t sing I would die.”
Horton then took the next step in developing Bambu Station, by adding drummer Andy Llanos and outstanding guitarist Tuff Lion, who has been a feature performer providing musical guidance to the group. Warren Pederson later joined the band. Other musicians who’ve contributed to the Bambu Station sound are: keyboardist Cat Mitchell, bassist Reginald “IGee” Beazer, guitarist Swan Richardson and former Midnite bassist Phil Merchant.
In 2003, Bambu Station released the now infamous “One Day” album to critical acclaim. It is now widely regarded a classic, and rightfully so. This album is outstandingly excellent. Like all great Reggae, “One Day” is musically and lyrically profound.
On the opening track, “Humanity Bawling,” Bambu Station addresses the reality of a world filled with poverty, death and disease. Another song, “Gunsmoke” decries the endemic internecine violence in the Virgin Islands, a reality prevalent the world over, especially, in Black communities. The album also contained the song “Eyes of Men,” dedicated to Mrs. Betty Shabazz, wife of Malcolm X. Songs like “Every Man Cry” and “How I Feel” display a strong but sensitive side to the band’s sound.
Bambu Station’s 2003 “Breaking The Soil” album built upon the success of “One Day” continuing the band’s reputation for creating top-notch Roots Reggae. The album opens with a chant for unity called “Brotherhood” along with “Beloved People.” One of my favorites, on this album, is “I Rememba” a song echoing stories about growing up in St. Thomas. “Chance To Grow,” with sister Reemah, is an excellent duet from another up-and-coming talent. “Sing Upright” is a scorching song admonishing entertainers to be responsible in the messages they project, especially to our youths. “New World Order” raises questions about 9-11 and the chaos created in the aftermath, by the Bush White House.
Other standout tunes include “Injoy” and “King Baby.” If you haven’t heard Bambu Station yet, do yourself a favor and buy one of their albums. Or come to the concert this Sunday.
The Roots and Dub on the River show will take place this Sunday aboard the Half Moon Cruise Boat, which leaves at 1:30 p.m. sharp from the Skyport Marina at East 23rd St. and FDR Drive. The concert will run from 2:30 to 5:30. Other artists on the bill include: Ranking Joe, The I*ternals, I&I Vibration and Livity International. Nearby trains include the 6 are the L.
Tickets are available at www.rocksoff.com for more info on Bambu Station visit them at www.bambustationband.com
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