The Parish of St. Elizabeth is located on the south coast of Jamaica and is known as the breadbasket of the island. The parish is responsible for much of the food products of the island. It is also known for producing some of Jamaica’s most talented singers, notably Tyrone Taylor, Terry Linen, and most recently Laden from Rising Star fame. International reggae singer Maxi Priest’s roots are also embedded in the parish. It is, therefore, no surprise that the parish has produced another fine singer, songwriter, and musician in Kumar.
By Steve James
Kumar was well prepared for his musical journey which began in the church. He continued his walk at Munro College, one of the island’s prominent high schools, and found his musical destiny at The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts which is known for producing some of Jamaica’s finest upcoming new wave reggae artistes. There he grew under the tutelage of lecturer, musician, and former member of noted reggae band Third World, Ibo Cooper. Kumar is a multi-talented musician in his own right, as he plays the drums, the guitar and the piano (in which he has classical training).
Having nurtured his craft for eight years as the lead singer of the band Raging Fyah, Kumar the singer, guitarist, drummer, pianist and songwriter has delivered a masterpiece in his album Kulture Walk for the world to hear.
Kulture Walk consists of thirteen solid tracks, inclusive of the acoustic version of Dry Bones. It encompasses his life’s journey and experiences. The drumming in the intro There Is No Movement without Rhythm will awaken in you, memories of South Africa’s Miriam Makeba’s, Homeland.
Kumar expresses his vocal ability on Live Another Day with lyrics that moves the listener to introspective thinking on life and decisions made this is evident throughout the whole album.
In Grains of Sand, Kumar expresses life in another way. He shares his belief that regardless of how much material and financial wealth one may possess we will all eventually pass on and become a part of the earth from whence we came. Agent Sasco compliments this track with his unique vocal style. The song is reminiscent of Bob Marley’s Wake Up and Live in which he sings “wha the use you live big today tomorrow you bury in a casket” and Garnett Silk’s “A Man is just Man”. All expressing the same fundamental principle in different ways.
Do Remember Me with its smooth saxophone, keyboards and blend of singing and rap could easily become another album favorite with the memorable line, “Before I be a slave I will be buried in my grave Oh Jah”
Kumar invites you on a Kulture Walk to his Caribbean island in the sun; particularly Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, Ricks Café, Negril, and other scenic beauty spots on the island on track 13 titled Jamaica.
Having listened to the lyrics and potency of his debut album Kulture Walk, it was no surprise to discover that he is a child of two educators who currently own a school. This background and their input in who he has become are reflected in the discipline he brings to his craft and the way he communicates his message through his lyrics. Interestingly, Kumar’s wife is also an educator.
This debut album from Kumar features a star-studded lineup of top Jamaican musicians and producers including Robert Livingston (Big Yard), veteran producer Clive Hunt, Notis, and Budwise production. Most of the work on the album was done in Italy by noted Italian producer Bonnot. The album also includes performances from M1 “Dead Prez” (USA) and Jamaica’s Agent Sasco. The well anticipated Kulture Walk is distributed by Baco Records from France and set to be released on all digital platforms on May 1st.
By Steve James, photojournalist, and host of the Real Rock radio show.