Record Review: The Uprising Roots – Skyfiya (TruMusik Records)

Firm roots! The Uprising Roots is a full reggae band with rich instrumentation, fresh sound and a positive message for progressive personal change that comes from within- a concept hard to find in modern day Jamaican music scene. Let the music blow your sails towards the brighter, positive side.

Sometimes it is disheartening to look at the state of the world today, even if you are a yogi. There is  so much frustration in people’s hearts. This cultural and ethical decadence we experience is so immense.

Just yesterday I was reading an article about the expectations of Europeans about the future. With few exceptions Europeans have a very negative view of the future, worse than all the previous years. At the end of the list it is us, the Greeks, which is not a surprise considering that the country is being plundered while vast numbers of people are literally marginalized.

You are ‘Greek’, Greece can (ab-)use you, exploit you but the wealth of Greece is only given to few; from now on this wealth is going to be exported, since the land and all assets are being sold to corporations.

We have built a future black; the present is black hence the future can only be darker unless we break out of this psychological deadlock. I say all this because The Uprising Roots (UR) have a crucial message to spread, a message of positivity that can light every dark spot we bare in our hearts.

I do not want to propose superficial, force-fed positivity nor everlasting happiness; I am talking about a condition where you have the capacity to determine the way you want to live and which activities you want to carry out. It is a self-exploring and life-affirming process. We need to go forward, we need to live and therefore we also need to overcome impasse negativity. If negativity prevails then it is clear that we need to change our way of life. By continuing to watch the news and all the negativity they broadcast we are not going to go much forward probably.

I’m going to quote the words of The Uprising Roots as heard on the ‘Brighter Days’ song: “We want to tell to each and everyone to keep it on the brighter side, the positive side, no matter what is going on.” These guys, who are telling us to be positive, come from Jamaica, a country full of poverty and violence. In Europe we have much higher standards of living, even during this financial crisis and we are so negative about the future. I am not telling that the future is going to be better; I just want to shout at everybody to take a look around and get used to the idea that more than 50% of the world lives with less than 2 dollars a day while almost 1billion people go hungry each day. Let’s wake up and do some much-needed positive work!

Freegan Kolektiva welcomes UR and ‘Skyfiya’. We are delighted to listen to a vintage band from Jamaica that incorporates reggae roots in its full sense. It is a full band; they have full instrumentation, an organic sound and rich vocal delivery in the roots tradition. That means that they can support their own music while they play as a studio backing band as well.

This concept is rather unusual, since Jamaica has mostly supplied the world with vocalists the last years not full bands. When it comes to roots reggae bands I would think more about Europe or bands like SOJA and Midnite. In that sense, I have the feeling that UR have had an open ear about what going on in reggae music globally.

Moreover, RU keep the traditional family vibes alive since they live, eat and play music at the same place, where always somebody is going to be up to prepare food etc. That is also the Freegan Kolektiva spirit.

When listening to UR a lot of artists come to mind from different periods of the glorious reggae history like later Burning Spear, Culture, Aswad etc. The Uprising Roots reminded me also a lot of Michael Rose, especially the collaborations with Twilight Sound System (as heard in the ‘Foundation Rockers’ and ‘Vocal Anthology’ albums) in two of the best songs of Skyfiya, namely ‘King Rastafari’ and ‘Positive’. Particularly the later employs the funky, trance-like repetitive beat that creates the majestic reggae feeling that I really appreciate.

Other notable tracks are ‘Most Royal’, ‘Marcus Garvey’ and ‘Who caan hear’ –  they all have those great hooks, memorable vocal lines and full instrumentation that good reggae music is known for. The Uprising Roots are skilful musicians, you can hear some careful ‘sound building’, some flute playing an amazing solo etc. They follow their own ethics about positive change with serious Rastafari convictions and you can hear that in every single song.

I would personally like a bit more ‘edge’ and originality in the production (it is a bit too polished for my taste), but overall it is in high standards. The album has some less interesting moments with blunt melodies but UR is a relatively young band and they have a long way to go. We can only wish them to walk that road.

Here is the music video of The Uprising Roots for ‘Brightest Light’ / ‘Positive’:

UR was born in 2006 in Rockfort, East Kingston, Jamaica and ‘Skyfiya’ is their debut album. Drummer and singer Rashaun ‘Black Kush’ McAnuff is son of the legendary Winston McAnuff. The Uprising Roots chose to go their own way in the Jamaican scene; they come with a fresh configuration as a full band and a fresh message that has a more positive twist and ‘personal transformation’ approach compared to the usual.


3 thoughts on “Record Review: The Uprising Roots – Skyfiya (TruMusik Records)

  1. When you started to listen to the UPrising Roots it’s like an addictive vibes you picked UP to continue…
    Higher Heights to all of the team I know this group will reach out to the world… yes the world people need to see you also…
    One love, Ras JaJa

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