Music Preview: Nazarenes

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Grade Records is pleased to announce the release of the Nazarenes Single EP, including “On My Way” and “Food” taken from the upcoming Nazarenes album release, Meditation. The release of “On My Way” and “Food” on February 28 mark the upcoming April 10 release of Meditation, I Grade Records’ first project with an African music group. The Nazarenes, made up of brothers Noah and Medhane Tewolde, are also far more than a typical African reggae act. The new Nazarenes Single EP on I Grade Records reflects the Tewolde brothers’ multi-cultural experience, incorporating elements of pop, dub, reggae and rock. Exclusively for the release of the Nazarenes Single EP, I Grade records is particularly pleased to make the dub versions available with the original studio tracks. 

These first two singles each present the mystical mood and trademark harmonies that characterize the Nazarenes’ sound, yet in strikingly different ways. “Food”, with lead singing by Noah Tewolde, is a bubbling steppers track that is an anthem for the global food crisis and the struggle for sustenance that billions face across the globe. “Food” features production by the Zion I Kings collective, along with guitar work from Ras Abijah and an expert mix by Leroy “Phatta” Pollinger at Anchor Studio in Kingston,Jamaica. “On My Way” is no less anthemic, but with a deeply spiritual and mystical approach. Medhane’s lead vocals are delivered with unforgettable urgency and emotion. Produced and mixed by Tippy I, the string-laden, heavy steppers riddim is accentuated by a regal horn section and soothing guitar work. The Food/On My Way Single EP also features two heavy dub mixes by Tippy I that create delay and reverb-induced meditation in the listener. The dub mixes are a preview of the forthcoming dub version of the album, “Meditation in Dub” and offer an alternative soundscape with which to experience and complement the original studio recording.

Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to parents of Eritrean descent who later settled in Sweden, the Tewolde brothers originally followed separate musical paths. Noah had signed with Virgin Records in the 1990s while Medhane was touring Europe with Culture Knox and other reggae acts. In 1996, and based on a mutual respect for pop melodies as well as careful and considered songwriting in the traditional roots reggae style, Noah and Medhane formed the Nazarenes. On Meditation, their first full-length album since Rock Firm (2008), the Nazarenes return to their world music roots in the making of an album that truly confirms roots reggae as a vehicle for collective understanding and an artistic work that ultimately speaks to cultural unity rather than conflict.

Virgin Islands-based I Grade Records has made its reputation on breaking new musical territory without giving up the conscious high ground. First with fellow St Croix roots reggae standard bearers, Midnite andDezarie, more recently on the soulful roots sound of Toussaint on the album Black Gold (2010) and even more recently in 2011 on the milestone collaboration between Jamaican producer Andrew ‘Bassie’ Campbell on the critically acclaimed Midnite album, Kings Bell. Meditation is different once again. This time, I Grade’s gaze turns east, toward Africa and Europe. We hope you can join us for the journey on February 28 and again on April 10.

Get Music here: Nazarenes


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