The Archives – “Ghetto Gone Uptown”
The Archives just released their self-titled debut album on ESL Music. This DC outfit came to life when Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton wanted to dig deeper into roots reggae. He asked keyboard master Darryl “D-Trane” Burke to put together a cover band to introduce audiences to early rock steady hits and obscurities. The group soon began to write their own tunes and Burke brought in some top notch players to give the band a progressive touch. These guys have played with acts like Eek-A-Mouse, Culture, Gregory Isaacs and The Abyssinians, so they’re well versed in vintage reggae grooves. For two years the band held a residency at DC’s Patty Boom Boom where they played nightlong sets, sometimes performing up to 60 songs a night. Merging classic sounds with fresh and conscious vibes, The Archives implement funky throwbacks such as jazz flute, melodica and organ to create some of the best contemporary roots reggae being played today. Guitarist, flautist and melodica player Mateo Monk knows how important it is for The Archives to remain current and add to reggae’s future.
“Dali once said he learned to paint like the masters before embarking on his visionary quest. We strive to play like the masters in our field, but we’re part of our generation. Modern sensibilities have developed since the golden era of reggae: better gear, more awareness of studio techniques, new approaches to improvisation, new paradigms for the concert experience and greater social consciousness. We are not a retro band. We’re a 21st century band with really deep roots and we want to contribute to reggae’s evolution. Same tree, new leaves.” – Mateo Monk
The Archives feature vocalists Ras Puma, the charismatic singer on Thievery Corporation’s Culture of Fear, and Lenny Kurlou (S.T.O.R.M.). Mateo Monk (Sankofa Blackstar) plays guitar, flute and melodica; Burke (Moja Nya, Eek- A-Mouse, Gregory Isaacs) is on keyboards and drummer Leslie “Black Seed” James Jr. (Culture, Eek-A-Mouse) and bass player Justin “Relentless” Parrott (Claudius Linton) round out the lineup. Legendary dance hall DJ, producer and Thievery Corporation vocalist Sleepy Wonder sings lead on “Music Is My Prayer,” a song about the healing powers of music. Desi Hyson, singer and main songwriter of Al Anderson’s Original Wailers takes lead vocals on “Crime,” a plea for the legalization of marijuana with a ska-infused bopping rhythm. Ichelle Cole delivers with her Sister Nancy-like vocals on “Boof Baf.” Listen to Puma and Kurlou alternate lead vocals on “Ghetto Gone Uptown” above check out a sampler of the album on soundcloud.