We Are Featuring Reggae Band
The Roots Bongo Band On Dubb Spot Records.
We had the chance to discuss their background in roots reggae music, who’s in charge of writing their songs and what shaped their musical style.
Check out what the reggae band the Roots Bongo Band had to say.
DSR: Who are the members of the Roots Bongo Band?
RBB: JoeHero (lead singer / guitarist)
Nina Beste ( lead singer)
Afang (singer, Bongo, Saxophone)
DSR: What is the significance of your name?
RBB: The bands influence is Roots Reggae and the Bongo is played live at all our shows! It signifies that, even though the band plays mostly Reggae, most of us are from Gambia (Africa) and traditional African instruments will always be present in our songs, as will African traditional vibes.
DSR: When and how did each one of you begin your journey into the world of reggae music?
RBB: Joehero started singing and playing the guitar coming out of college at 19. Always having admired famous Reggae singers such as Mikey Spice, Peter Tosh and Morgan Family he has always dreamed of becoming a successful Reggae artist himself and so embarked on this journey by working up to financing his first guitar. He taught himself how to play and song write and a few years later formed the band.
Nina started of singing in the church choir in Germany, she later moved to New York where she had professional voice training and in 2009 she started studying at the University of Westminster. Currently being in her final year of the Commercial Music Course, she has been recording music in London for a while, and decided to officially join the band in 2010.
Afang started playing music in high school he played in the school’s band as a drummer. After graduation he played in a band for 3 years. He then worked as a nurse to finance his love for reggae music and formed the Roots Bongo Band with Joehero in 2001.
Jacob has been playing the guitar since childhood and all his life has worked as a professional musician, playing in different bands for entertainment in hotels and bars throughout The Gambia. Jacob is also a co-founder of the band.
Omar comes from a family of musicians who all play local instruments, he has been playing the bass since childhood and joined the band in 2009.
Tony being the youngest band member has been playing the drums for a few years in churches and for his school.
Alagie has been playing keys for many years, like Jacob he has played in many different bands over the years as a professional musician making a living out of his passion.
DSR: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard it before?
RBB: We mix Roots Reggae with traditional African vibes (afro-beats), and Nina brings some Pop influences into her songs.
DSR: What influences shaped your reggae musical style?
RBB: All the greatest artists from Reggae – Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Ijahman Levi – to country – John Denver, Neil Diamond – Jazz – Ella Fitzgerald – to Hip Hop – Dead Prez, Biggie… any music inspires us in some way and influences our style constantly!
DSR: We all know that you are a group, but the group is also songwriters. What’s the easiest kind of song for you to write?
RBB: Any song coming from the heart is easy to write. It gets difficult when people ask for specifics! We always put everything we got into each song that we write, and since songwriting is what we love to do, that makes it an easy task. The beauty of music is that no matter how challenging certain songs can seem to get them just right, it is a very fulfilling task.
DSR: Who is in charge of writing the songs? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
RBB: JoeHero and Nina write most of the English songs, and Afang the african ones. We draw inspiration from our surroundings, the people we love, the people we watch struggle day in day out, the misery of some lives and the joy of others. Anything going on the world really, up to the love we experience ourselves.
DSR: I noticed you just released another album. What was your inspiration behind the release of “Leaders of Tomorrow?”
RBB: Leaders of Tomorrow is our debut album. It features some tracks that have been written a few years back, but nevertheless still have important messages for today. It is definitely inspired by two completely different cultures coming together and sharing their creativity, which makes it so unique.
DSR: Let’s get to know a little bit more about the Roots Bongo Band. What area do you call your hometown and what type of following do you have?
RBB: Some of us live in The Gambia, and others live in the UK. Next we would like to go to Jamaica and explore the Reggae scene over there, and show them some of our African instruments! Hometowns are always the places where you grew up though, it feels! Our following is very versatile from German’s, to Gambian to Americans. That’s what we love, music without borders!!!
DSR: What is the group’s main goal at this point? Where do you possibly see yourself 5-10 years from now?
RBB: At the Grammys!!! Sure, we hope to be successful with what we do, and we also hope to develop our charity organization ‘House of Sermons’ so youths can have the chance to get into music too and follow their dreams.
DSR: Are you working on any projects at the moment?
RBB: Yes, we started recording the African songs that will be on our next album planned for 2013.
DSR: Where can we catch the Roots Bongo Band performing?
RBB: We have our biggest tour yet staring April 20th in The Gambia. Hopefully by the end of the year we will take it to the UK and Germany too.
DSR: Where can we find your reggae music? Online and offline?
RBB: Online on our website www.therootsbongoband.com, from our music store on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/therootsbongoband and of course outlets such as ITunes, Amazon, CdBaby. Offline, just give us a ring! Seriously, we are selling physical copies only in The Gambia at the moment, but hopefully that’ll expand soon.
DSR: What do you think needs to be brought to music in this decade and how do you plan to add to that?
RBB: Music is now more available to people than ever before, and that already makes it very versatile. There is so much great music out there that just needs a chance to be heard though! Any honest music that the artists believe in is worth having. We plan to keep producing music that is important to us, and that we feel will encourage our fans to be the best they can be, and maybe make them feel good.
DSR: We ask all the artists we interview, what’s the best piece of advice someone’s ever given to you?
RBB: Always have faith in what you are doing, and never take yourself too seriously!
We appreciate having the Roots Reggae band the Roots Bongo Band stop through Dubb Spot Records!