Release Date: 21 September 2018
Format: LP Vinyl
|Winston McAnuff & Fixi Big Brothers Limited Vinyl LP
Long awaited album from Jamaican roots singer and French accordionist reveals charm laden electronic-pop nuance
Fresh from his recent collaborations with the Jamaican roots collective Inna De Yard, Winston McAnuff returns to the fray alongside French accordionist and producer Fixi for their second album proper. Shimmering electronic flourishes, Jamaican vocal harmonies, Cuban pianos and a fiery Angolan intervention by singer Pongo, all dance around a sunshine-laden production, where Winston waxes lyrical about the state of our contemporary and oft-divided society with a Rastafarian gaze.
Big Brothers is an album prompted by a New Years Eve party at the 'Jungle' immigration camp in Calais in 2015. It was Winston and Fixi's beat boxer partner Markus (Marc Ruchmann) who initiated the idea of the party, intended to bring some much needed cheer and humanity to the people waiting at the camps. The night was spent in glorious voice with the bells ringing out every two hours due to everyone's different time zones.
The connecting themes of friendship and fraternity that reverberated in Calais perfectly encapsulate the relationship between Winston McAnuff and Fixi, forged over their lengthy musical relationship that started in 2005 and their Paris Rockin' album collaboration. Continuing the philosophy of connectedness, Big Brothers also features two generations of the Inna De Yard family on vocal duties giving the album a warm Jamaican flow. Cedric Myton (The Congos), Kiddus I, Derajah, Var and even Winston's daughter Nadia McAnuff feature with guest Angolan vocalist Pongo joining forces with Winston on the single, One Note. As on their debut record A New Day, they welcome the maloya of Olivier Araste (from the band Lindigo) and Cyril Atef's Afro-beat drumming. The core-band also features Elise Blanchard on bass and Camille Ballon on keys.
Lyrically speaking, most of which were composed whilst Winston was travelling around Jamaica, the record shares a 'Big Brother' wisdom. Life maxims, parables, wishes and wants give a burning, contemporary edge. 'Think' is hard hitting and to the point…"think, observe and listen". Written by Winston on top of the cliffs of Dover, "Crying for Love" is an anthem for all those who have braved the seas in the hope of finding a land to call home. On 'Black Bird' he lets out high-pitched caws and becomes the narrator of a child's lullaby and on 'If You Want It So Bad' he remind us of our responsibilities…"Now you've got it, please respect it"
A stalwart of the Jamaican roots reggae scene of the 1970's and formerly known as Electric Dread, Winston McAnuff's life has seen many ebbs and flows. But it was in 2013 when that fore-mentioned début album really shook France and skyrocketed Winston and his partner Fixi. Touring soon followed and the duo's 'on the road' escapades are stuff of legend – they have since clocked in umpteen shows including dates in London and Glasgow's Celtic Connections Festival.
Far from the macho overtones of a brotherhood, Big Brothers is a broad church that cherishes the moment and confronts our relationships with each other. Eclectic, cross-cultural and probably an irritant to the purist, the intense harmony that propels out of the unlikely combination between artists from Jamaica and France shows us how far the intimacy and confidence between Winston and Fixi has grown over the years.
1. Big Brother
2. My Angel
3. If You Want It So Bad
4. I Came I Saw
5. Sweet Love Of Mine
6. One Note (feat. Pongo)
8. Black Bird
9. Crying For Love
10. Good Feeling