ZonaReGGae Reviews: “Roots” [ING version]


Urban Tribe StockholmRoots 2008 Adam Atterby Musikproduktion, Braah Produktion

Urban Tribe renamed Urban Tribe Stockholm in 2006, are a 12 elements original roots reggae band from Sweden. Roots revival bands have been blooming a little all over the world in the last decade or so. Europe is no exception, and Urban Tribe stand out from the majority, with the particularly of their sound bringing back in memory the UK roots scene from the eighties.
In Thailand, Kamala beach, there is a place known as Bob´s Bar, that’s where we need to travel to recon the beginning of this Tribe.
Bob´s Bar was the title from their debut release in 2005, named after the song written there on the spot, by Adam Atterby, the frontman and driven force supporting Urban Tribe, fast rising presence in European reggae scene. In 2 months Atterby wrote 10 more songs, picked up his partners from a former Bob Marley tribute band, Positive Vibration, and Urban Tribe Stockholm were ready to go, on 2004.
When the tsunami struck southeast Asia in December 2004, and “Bob´s Bar” was on its way close to release, the original and inspirational Bob´s Bar had vanished with the huge tidalwave, alongside the rest of Kamala…The album, eventually released in March 2005, was acclaimed in worldwide reggae press as an outstanding debut release from the Stockholm band, and probably even more important than that, it helped the Tribe raising a substantial amount to aid rebuild and sustain their friend Bob´s Bar, reopened in October 2005…an humble, but certainly, sincere livication to all those that lost their lives and livelihood in the tragedy.

Achievements for the album followed with the official release in the USA, a first time attainment for a Scandinavian roots band, and a tour opening act for legendary Steel Pulse, over Sweden and Norway.
After a couple of more road experience, mainly in Germany, 2006 brought Urban Tribe Stockholm another valued gift, with the new “Who´s the Enemy?” album, featuring none than more, David Hinds and Selwin Brown from the original and main influence to the group, Steel Pulse. Two extraordinary tracks the, No Solution (David Hinds) and Babylon (Selwyn Brown) for sure, but in general Who´s the Enemy?, was once more, a breath of fresh air in modern roots reggae music, that just didn’t reach the people as it should. At this point it´s important to state that Urban Tribe are a independent band, mainly self financed, and that back in 2005, were turned down by giants Ras Records, being praised by them as a fantastic band…but not interesting cause they were neither black or Jamaican…
Being that the shame in music business for major companies, fortunately in independent industry, it goes the other way, and in 2006, the “veteran” Swedish reggae band Kalle Baah signed Urban Tribe to their own label in praising efforts to give them a boost.

For anyone closely following Urban Tribe Stockholm 4 year struggle, listening to their albums or checking their Live DVD showcasing their first ever live performance, in May 2005 Bob´s Bar release party, it comes to prominence that this Tribe members, are no newcomers on the music business. Actually they all own a respectable background in Swedish music scene, all being full time musicians associated with different projects and styles. From Jazz, steel drums culture, newgrass, country, hard rock and heavy metal, among for sure many more, Urban Tribe comprise actually, many different roots!

This is unquestionably a plus, to achieve the kind of sound and production they used us to, reaching their top form with the latest release from last April (2008), “Roots”.
We could state that “Roots” is a top modern roots reggae production display, but that would just be a cliché in this case, because all Urban Tribe albums have been that!

Presenting 12 more powerful tunes, “Roots” in spite of the name, is actually the Tribe´s closest approach to the modern reggae sounds. Anyway, and first of all, the brass section arrangements, from sax and trombone players Tobbe Eliasson and Martin Palsson; the organ driven riddims from Sven Wikstrom and Frank Ronningen; and the soulful backing harmonies from the “Soul Sisters” Charlotte Atterby & Linda Ronnback, accompanied by their “brother” Christian Lindstrom, make sure that the best from roots reggae tradition, follows along all “Roots” set.

The rockers feeling is assured by brothers Adam & Mikal Atterby guitars, and most certainly throughout all the album with Steve Nilsoon drumming like a veteran rockers drummer, in perfect line with Anders Kappelin basslines. Surely, one of the musical standouts in “Roots”.

The biggest standout as to be, as it should always in reggae, the message in the music. Adam Atterby´s vocals are stronger than ever, and anyway, being David Hinds his all time main hero and reference, he surely as high standards to live on!
Together with now full band member Bamma B, in “Roots” they both give the meaning to the album’s title. Tune after tune, it´s a truly delight to listen to their vocal clash, chanting down oppressors on “Empire”, “Never Enough” or “Holding the Devil’s Hand”; exposing our days hypocrisy on “High Society” and “Hold Your Peace”, or advising solutions on “Natural” and “Everything you Do”, in a pure roots and culture conscious warning demand, going back to the “Roots”, as the best road to hold on in this troubled times. Powerful messages, delivered in fine style by Adam Atterby, “escorted” by Trinidad born, Bamma B unique raggamufin toasted act. No chestnut, nonsense or slack shouts from this modern times toaster, strictly cultural galore!

Brightening “Roots”, we are offered with the special guest appearance from Jamaican singer Elijah Prophet in the gospel/soul alike “One Fine Day”, and last, standing for best, a entertaining, bring back memories version of Steel Pulse 1980 classic hymn “Reggae Fever”!

What’s missing on “Roots”? Hard to say for anyone into roots revival music, but probably Swedish dub master Internal Dread, a dubbing and engineering presence of both Bob’s Bar & Who’s the Enemy (as in some live acts…), could bring the only awaited omission, in Urban Tribe Stockholm released works till know – Dub versions!

Mainly, this is just another chapter on Urban Tribe Stockholm praising contribution to original reggae struggle…Urban Tribe Stockholm own struggle for recognition will definitely continue, and if in past, they have been compared to legends as Steel Pulse, UB 40 or Third World, time will surely tell about newcomers, measure up to this Urban Tribe lessons from Stockholm city, to the all not paying attention or badminded around the world:

“…The life you live, the choices you make
Are the things that make up your fate
The shape of your future is decided by your past
You plant a seed, you watch it grow
Every man must reap what he has sow
The sum is the destiny you´re holding in your hands

Cause in the end you will held accountable
For all the deeds that you do
God or bad the choice is up to you…”

Everything you Do (Comes back to You)
(Adam Atterby & Bamma B)

2 Responses to “ZonaReGGae Reviews: “Roots” [ING version]”

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