Ropeadope all star Raja Kassis has teamed up with Luke Quaranta of Toubab Krewe to assemble a tour of historic depth and proportion. Starting in New Orleans, Juju Fest joins a cast of heavy hitters - Eric Benny Bloom (lettuce), Kris Royal (Rebulution, Dark Matter), Morgan Price (FELA!), and Weedie Braimah (Nth Power) - and brings in renowned West African musicians to be announced. Featuring Pirates Choice and Raja Kassis' HumanBEING, Jujufest is a celebration of West African music in a city that defines diversity and music. It all starts tomorrow folks, so slip this into your jazzfest schedule and be amazed. Start right here for info.
2014 countdown - raja Kassis
Guitarist for Antibalas and Blitz The Ambassador, Beirut born Raja Kassis is a positive force for awareness and progress. His debut recording, HumanBeing, is world slash jazz slash rock music that tells a story of the power and the glory of humankind on planet earth. Raja assembled an allstar crew of musicians from Mbalax to reggae and delivers it all with a vision of the new blend of transglobal sound. Check the album and support the vision and dedication right over here.
Raja Kassis has recorded with Damian Marley, Julian Marley, Capleton and more. On this track from his upcoming release Raja assembled an all-star Brooklyn Reggae crew - Josh Werner, Billy Polo, Troy Simms, Takuya Nakamura, and Luke Quaranta - and included legendary producer Clive Chin (Randy's Records, Kingston JA). The result - it's tight, of course. Check Tiger Dub right here as we prepare for Tuesday's big release.
We have a LOT of music dropping in the next 9 weeks, but this jawn right here is the one that you will play again and again. Raja Kassis is best known as the guitarist for Blitz The Ambassador and Antibalas, but his knowledge and experience go far beyond that. He has recorded with a who's who of artists from Seun Kuti to Allen Toussaint. HumanBEING boasts a legendary collective of West African and NYC musicians, and properly respects history while taking a bold leap forward. "With all the world influences, to me this a rock and roll record," There, Raja said that. Jump on the itunes presale if that's your thing, or get it straight from the man right here at bandcamp.
Raja Kassis - Mbeuguel
Mbeuguel is simply the word for LOVE in Dakar, Senegal's predominant language Wolof. Today we drop the song of the same name from Raja Kassis. Mbeuguel is in a style of music called Mbalax, the most popular dance music of the Wolof people of Senegal (made famous worldwide by its king Youssou Ndour). More specifically the track is a style affectionately referred to within the Mbalax idiom as "Pur et Dur" (Pure and tough), with a nod to the old school in its production - particularly with the organic horns and the live performance (recorded on the first take without a click). History aside, it's just beautiful.
Raja travels the globe
New York from Boston (Berklee) from West Africa from Beirut. That's the trail of guitarist Raja Kassis as he honed his skills and transglobal worldview over the last 15 years. Regularly touring with Blitz The Ambassador and Antibalas, Raja has performed and recorded with Angelique Kidjo, Damien Marley, Seun Kuti, and many (many) more. Raja brings the full transglobal essence to his debut solo release, HUMANBEING, due out September 9th right here on Ropeadope. The record is diverse and complete, with a collective of West African and New York musicians moving from Malian to Nigerian to reggae to Hip-Hop. Check the first single, Bright And Sunny Day, right here. Stay tuned for the next to drop June 24th from wherever on the planet Raja happens to be.