Icon Give Thank
Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras & The Congos
RVNG Intl.
July 19, 2012

FRKWYS Vol. 9: Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras meet The Congos - Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras & The Congos Track list
  1. New Binghi
  2. Happy Song
  3. Food, Clothing And Shelter
  4. Sunshine
  5. Jungle
  6. Invocation
  7. Thanks & Praise
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
Collaborations of different style and fashion has been a musical approach in Reggae for a long time. Reggae & Classical; Reggae & Hip Hop; Reggae & Punk, etc. The most unusual pairing in recent memory is the legendary Congos and L.A. based psychedelic unit Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras. The result is a brand new release, "Icon Give Thank".

The Congos go hand in hand with real Roots Reggae. Comprised of Cedric Myton, Watty Burnett, Roydell "Ashanti" Johnson and Kenroy "Tallash" Fyffe, their "Heart Of The Congos" (1977) album masterminded by Lee Perry is one of the top Reggae releases of all times. The group continued with a few more stellar releases before disbanding in the early 1980's. Each member pursued a solo career to varying degrees of success.

In 1997, Cedric and Watty reunited for a series of electrifying concerts and "Natty Dread Rise Again" and "Revival" the next year. Their material remained magical with 2005's "Give Them The Rights" and "Swinging Bridge" the next year. By this time, Ashanti Roy had rejoined along with relative newcomer Kenroy Fyffe. Full circle came in 2009, when Lee Perry produced two tracks on their "Back In The Black Ark"; a misleading title but still a masterpiece. The Congos continue their ital ways to this day with consistent touring and recording with the best.

Sun Araw (Cameron Stallones) and M. Geddes Gengras are musicians that focus on "neo-rock"; that can only be described as psychedelic with a mix of Afrobeat, Funk, Dub and a whole heap of mixing and engineering. They are a force to be reckoned with a slew of intricate albums under their belt and the use of Sun Araw's studio in Long Beach, California.

This project was recorded between Jan 27-Feb 2, 2011 at Cedric Myton's "Lion's Den" studio in Jamaica with the legendary Bravo at the helm. All musical credits go to Sun Araw/M. Geddes Gengras and the Congos on percussion. There is guitar work from "Likkle" David and drum supervision from legend Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace. The opening track is a mythical and mystical workout that brings back memories of Count Ossie sessions from the 1970's with a twist of psychadelia. Happy Song lives up to it's name. Cedric's haunting falsetto leads the way with his bredrin harmonizing in full swing. The instrumentation is ethereal and takes the listener to simpler times. Food, Clothes & Shelter rivals anything the Congos have ever done! The simple harmonies with taut drumming and progressive guitars sends chills down your musical backbone. Sunshine brings rays of Jah light. Mystical lyrics that have no boundaries.

The next few tracks continue in this vein, incredible roots lining up with experimental loops and sequencing that is on the frontline. The final track Thanks & Praise is a highlight fe real. "Likkle" David's guitar work (a la Chinna Smith style) opens up a warm ode to the Most High and all his Glory. A special bonus is an hour long DVD that depicts the making of the project and great appearances from Horsemouth and local legends like Negus Johnson and Jam Jam. It really gives an ital insight; Ashanti Roy Johnson has never been to a doctor inna his long life due to ingestion of things ital.

The Congos have reached a wider fanbase with recent projects with Winston McAnuff and Pure Vida. They have reached higher ites with this collaboration. Two extremes that unify to a great success. This is not a typical Reggae affair but is a must for the collector that loves roots diversity. Big recommendation!