By DJ 745, Irie Jamms Radio Show
Excitement levels have been high surrounding the release of the debut album from EarthKry-a group of four talented singers and players of musical instruments who are graduates of the esteemed Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts located in Kingston, Jamaica. With a five track EP entitled ‘Hard Road’ released in 2015 which led to the ‘Hard Road’ tour across the parishes of Jamaica and a stint with Chronixx on his ‘Capture Land’ tour and a debut performance at Rebel Salute .
Fast forward to 30th June 2017 and EarthKry present their self produced debut album ‘Survival’-a 12 tracks musical journey featuring the help of some of Jamaica’s most talented musicians including the late Nambo Robinson who has had a profound influence on the band members during their time at Edna Manley.
So who are EarthKry? To put quite simply- a quartet of highly talented and determined musicians who have put together what can only be described as a beautiful debut album ‘Survival’. Consisting of Kieron Cunningham on drums and bass player Kamardo Blake complemented by keyboardist Phillip McFarlane with all band members providing backing vocal to support Aldayne Haughton on lead vocals and guitar.
The album itself is a fine blend of real authentic roots rock reggae from start to finish-as the saying goes ‘its all killers and no fillers’ and shows a high level of maturity in terms of production and lyrical content. Live instrumentation is in abundance and is a real throwback to the times when bands like the Wailers
Recording took place at three famed Kingston studios namely Tads Recording Studio, Harry J Recording Studio at 10 Roosevelt Avenue and Irie Yute Recording Studio and features an accompanying group of musicians.
The album opener is ‘Survival System’ written by Phillip McFarlane and talks of the worldwide struggles people all over the world are facing-poignant reminders in the wake of atrocities people are facing in recent times. “Living, we living, we living”.
‘Philosophy’ opens with the vocal rifts of Aldayne “Dem got the clock but we got the time, our destination we will be fine, dem never work but they want to be fed” and is the lead single from the album. Phillip McFarlane explains
“Philosophy is basically about controlling your own destiny with the seeds you plant now. All that a man wants in life is down to the philosophy he applies to himself through the different stages of life. If our people can be more aware of the importance of life philosophies and how it can shape our future, then I think better days are ahead. However, when we speak of philosophy we speak of the positive ones. The ones of discipline, righteousness and positivity. So will you build your house on the sinking sand like the foolish man? So what perspective do you build dreams to reality? Cause for every action is a equal reaction. Children, know philosophy!”
I was blown away by the musicianship on ‘Move On’ featuring Roots Percussionist Hector Lewis
Hector Lewis, Sheldon Palmer on sax, Everton Pessoa and Hopeton Williams on trombone and trumpet respectively and the guitar strings played by Nambo Robinson over a lively cut of ‘Sun is Shining’ offering upliftment “life is meant for living keep on going” and reassuring the everyday person to keep on pushing forwards no matter how fast or slow but as long you keep moving on.
‘Wild Fire’ and ‘Live Good’ are two songs written by Phillip McFarlane and Aldayne Haughton respectively and spread the virtues of clean livity and positivity. ‘Wild Life’ features some excellent harmonizing by the band members almost reminiscent of an old Ariwa Records production –very much a nostalgic feel about living life to the fullest.
The opening bars of ‘Liberation Time’ sent shivers down my spine and reminded me of the Wailers ‘High Tide or Low Tide’ –I’m not exactly sure why because the lyrical content is quite different but maybe comparisons can be made due to the more softer vocals provided by Aldayne?
The musical themes on ‘Survival’ are firmly embedded in roots rock reggae and ‘Wake Up and Live’ and ‘Praise Jah’ both have a spring in their step in terms of the rhythm section and offer a sense of hope.
“SURVIVAL songs were written by experiences, these are our daily stories. Ours meaning mankind, it’s that human thread worldwide that give us endurance to make it through financial hardships, personal struggles, health issues, war crisis, abuse, we all survive. From Syria to Chicago, Ukraine to Jamaica, we endure, we survive. We documented our stories while delivering messages of survival through music..”
‘New Leaf’ speaks to the children about equality amongst mankind –no rich no poor, classism will be no more, no racial war and resonates a theme consistent throughout the album of hope and worldwide peace.
Two of my favourites so far on the album are ‘Do What You Got To Do’ and ‘Keep Dreaming’. I particularly love the ‘Jackie Mittoo’ style shuffle to the rhythm on ‘Do What You Got To Do’ and I know that EarthKry are BIG fans of Jackie Mittoo. ‘Keep Dreaming’ has the credit of being the final song on the album and what a song it is- soulful vocals and a beautiful piano introduction gives it the feel of years gone by yet sounds timeless in its production. Absolute perfection!
EarthKry are embarking on the road this Summer to promote their message with tour dates planned in USA including Massachusetts, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, North Carolina before making their debut performances in Europe including eagerly anticipated performances at Reggae Jam in Germany and Reggae Geel in Belgium. Be sure to check out the band who put on a fine live set and get ready to be part of the EarthKry movement!
1. Survival System
3. Move On
4. Wake Up and Live
5. Live Good
6. Wild Fire
7. Liberation Time
8. Table Turn
9. New Leaf
10. Do What You Got To Do
11. Praise Jah
12. Keep Dreaming