OBOD have a longstanding relationship with Afro Celt Sound System. 20 or so years ago their first album was launched with a Druid ceremony. The Awen flows as strongly as ever in their latest album The Source.
The band’s main members have Anglo, Scottish, Punjabi and African roots and they draw strongly from these in their music, both culturally and spiritually, producing sounds that express the power of those individual musical traditions in a magical fusion that is compelling and inspiring.
Some fusions can feel contrived, a kind of musical shoe-horning of styles but Afro Celt Sound System’s music is seamless, highly skilled and deeply felt, honouring their diverse roots but blending them in ways that feel utterly natural, taking the music to new heights. The Source is a fabulous album, bringing together a host of guest musicians and singers in a multi-cultural mix that is thrilling to listen to.
There are 13 tracks on the album, every one of them a celebration of diversity, creating an effortless flow of changing atmospheres and rhythms with spine-tingling vocals and stunning musicianship. The listener experiences a range of sound-scapes: ‘Beware Soul Brother’, with the sultry vocals of Rioghnach Connolly, is bluesy and intimate; A Higher Love is summery and bright with Gaelic and Punjabi rap layered with soulful horns. The infectious Desert Billy begins with guitar strains reminiscent of Django Reinhardt but with a strong Gaelic feel and Indian rhythms; The Soul of a Sister features the fantastic female African vocal group, Les Griottes and the Gaelic vocal group Urar with beautifully layered vocals. Throughout there is such a wonderful diversity of sounds from ethnic Ceilidh, to Funk, to Soul and more, all woven together with such love, skill and passion.
The album’s title is apt, as you get a real sense of this music having its tap root – or more correctly, its collective tap roots – deep within that mysterious Source, and that the musicians and singers are a conduit for an energy that, when experienced through the music, reminds us of our common humanity, of all the places where we are connected; it helps us to recognise that our diversity is a strength and that the coming together of each individual voice in the spirit of unity can produce a whole much greater than its parts. On every track, the integrity of those individual voices is never lost but is enriched and transformed in the process.
The Source is illustrated with the beautifully vibrant artwork of Jamie Reid- a perfect visual expression of the music’s vitality and energy.
The entire album is complex and multi-layered and yet immediate and accessible to the heart and soul. You will want to dance! It is a joyful, exhilarating and emotionally rich expression of music and musicianship at its best. Connect with The Source and feel the Awen flow!
Here is a taster for you of track 4, entitled Cascade – enjoy!