Black Uhuru are a Jamaican reggae group formed in the Waterhouse district of Kingston Jamaica in 1972, initially as Uhuru (Swahili for ‘freedom’). Over the years, despite several line-up changes, Black Uhuru has released many successful projects and remained one of the most important reggae groups in the world. Over the course of their career, Black Uhuru have released over 30 full length albums and in 1985 became the first reggae group to win a Grammy for ‘Best Reggae Album’.
September 11th Black Uhuru will be performing live at Cervantes Other Side with Rastasaurus, Mindstate, Inna Di Red, and Selasee & The Fafa Family.
If you would like to enter to win a pair of tickets to the show follow these instructions…
1.Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
2.Tag Ganjaology and a friend you want to attend the show with.
Winners will be announced September 9th!
From the ripe age of seven, the man we know as Gaudi has been passionately producing the one thing that fuels him – MUSIC. Now celebrating 30 years in the making, Gaudi’s MUSIC is massive! If you’ve caught one of his sets this year you know how hard this fella throws it down. With an abundance of dubbed out bass lines and an impressive display of analogue instruments to shake the room, Gaudi’s performances smoothly move the dance.
Performing this weekend in Egypt as a part of the Great Convergence gathering taking place at the Great Pyramids of the Giza Platuea, Gaudi is at the top of the world! Over the past 30 years, Gaudi has been creating and compiling sounds which have been heard across the cosmos. His journey has taken him through punk, rock, reggae, soul and many other world musical styles. For this man, MUSIC is no past time. For Gaudi, MUSIC is his heart, his hands, his base and his breath.
Gaudi’s newest album is up for release in March 2013 with Six Degrees Records, and we can surely expect a masterpiece. His 13th album will feature a number of guest recording artists including the legendary Michael Rose of Black Uhuru, dub master Lee Scratch Perry, and his musical partner Danny Ladwa, plus many more.
We had the distinct pleasure to link with Gaudi for an interview this past month in Nevada City, CA where he was performing at The Haven. Let’s hear what he had to say.
INTERVIEW WITH GAUDI :: NEVADA CITY, CA – NOVEMBER 2012
GANJAOLOGY : This is Ganjaology… and we’re here with Gaudi, the international bass man!! So you’re celebrating 30 years in the music industry this year. And Right now we’re sitting in Nevada City, CA.
GAUDI: Green room, back stage!
GANJAOLOGY : I guess let’s just start off with, tell us a little about yourself… About who you are and where you’re from.
GAUDI : Who am I? I’m just a normal person who loves… “something”, that “something” has always been so strong for me… the calling from that “something” was so intense that it made me do a few drastic turns in my life in order to follow that “something” called MUSIC. [When you spell it for this interview please spell it all in capital letters, because for me this word has to be written, in capital]. That beautiful big thing called MUSIC, no genre of music, but more “style” than genre. Genre has been located by humans into music – this is called reggae, this is called rock, this is called funk and so on – but MUSIC in reality is for me just one big unified entity, divided only in two big sections: good MUSIC…and bad music.
So let’s try to… not pretentiously, but realistically, try to explore the good music territory, and then of course I have my music preferences, as you know my passion, my love, my natural direction is reggae music. For my original sound I combine the deep dub bass lines from Reggae music – very sexy and curvaceous, very provocative and seductive, very feminine – with electronic production techniques – solid groove, definitely masculine, like a muthafucka unstoppable train in full speed, determined and well solid on the track!! You can’t really stand still with those two combined ingredients can you?
GANJAOLOGY : Awesome, that’s a perfect start!
GAUDI : Yeah, so I professionally started my music career as you correctly stated, 30 years ago. But it was even earlier at the age of 7 when I was studying piano, that I knew for certain that my life would have been related with music! Problem was that my parents were totally contrary to my vision, you know, parents of that generation were not so open minded to consider music as a “real job”, so in order to make them happy I became an orthodontist, which is the person who creates teeth, and worked for a few years in the early eighties following that specialization; well to be precise, I was working in the day time and I was play my music in the night time with my new-wave punk band… I was playing my analogue synthesizer KORG MS20, and I was also “playing” a piece of corrugated metal that I was hitting with a hammer on stage! Yes that was my music in 1981.
Success…? Zero. Money…? Zero. Happiness…? One thousand smiles per hour! And that happiness was my determination that helped to over-cross all the obstacles of my early career. My very first music experiment was my 1981 electronic album recorded in partnership with Italian eclectic music producer Diego D’Agata. Our project name was “Paranoise Rhythm and Noise”, the album title was “Doctor, I am a fish!”… Wow, it was simply atrocious. But perfectly atrocious, an atrocious album for atrocious people; we sold 11 copies of it. Hehehe, a great start.
GANJAOLOGY : Beautiful. Let’s fast forward to 2012. We are here on the West Coast in California. I’ve caught a couple of your sets this summer. Big successes – big, big shows. I saw you at Symbiosis as well as Lightning In A Bottle. I think my most exciting moment with you was at LIB. With no prior expectation you showed up in an art gallery the last night of the festival, after your official set on the main stage, and played a renegade set. Wow! Ya, so how was that?
GAUDI : I personally loved that set. Ya, they requested me to play a DJ set after my show. I love The Do Lab guys so I accepted, easy. The energy in the crowd was so amazing, genuine and authentic, I played a set 100% improvised, going entirely with the flow of that night, man it was simply phenomenal! Do you remember Danny? (Danny Ladwa is Gaudi’s vocalist and beat-boxer).
DANNY : I fucking loved it man. That was an epic set!
GANJAOLOGY : It was really cool. So that was really in the spirit of the festival. At festivals, renegade sets are something that happen often. I really enjoy those types of performances. As a performer, whether in a festival or otherwise, what’s your favorite aspect of performance? What is it that makes you love being a performer?
GAUDI : There are two important factors that I consider for my live performance: the technical aspect is very important, making sure that everything works on stage, as u see I play fully live, no computer on stage; so I need to make sure that all my synthesizers, tape echoes, Theremin, Dub sirens, vocoder, and gear in general works, and make sure that my sound engineer is ready and prompt to solve any potential problem…. Then when everything works technically, I need to consider the second important factor, which is the live show itself, the interaction with my crowd, the concentration and flow of the performance.
GANJAOLOGY : Ya, the crowd interaction is big time. So I caught your set at Burning Man last year. You played the last night on the Playa and that was my first exposure to hearing you play. Which was phenomenal.
GAUDI : Thank you, much appreciated.
GANJAOLOGY : But at that time you were playing solo, now you have…
GAUDI: Danny Ladwa “my partner in crime”, on vocals and percussion
GANJAOLOGY : Yes, Danny, I’ve seen a few sets with him as well. How does his presence play into your performance?
GAUDI : Well, I really wanted another talented artist with me on stage in order to enforce even more the live element that always distinguished my performances from all the other electronic artists, I need to be fully live in order to enjoy my performance, it is my “old school” approach to live activity, since when I started in the 80s. What I do on stage is very hard and requires a lot of attention, I play multiple instruments, sometimes I sing, I dub Danny’s voice and percussion live thru my analogue mixer, most of the time when I am performing one track for example, I have to think about the following track and simultaneously program my synthesizers for the next song etc. As I said there’s no computer on stage, I don’t want to use the computer on stage, I just want to keep it analogue in that way until I can. I’m coming from the old school analogue electronic music and I know how to work in that territory…. and I have fun doing it. I also play a real air-horn on stage thru my tape-echo, it gives an instant authentic “reggae flavor”, engaging!
GANJAOLOGY : I’ve never seen someone use air-horns so gracefully. Seriously, it’s really awesome. So, Danny gives support when you need it?
GAUDI : Oh yes, he gives me a lot of support and help, after many many gigs together, on stage we are extremely connected with each other. Five years ago I announced an audition for singers, I needed a vocalist for my tour; I auditioned 11 singers and I selected two, which I both liked a lot. The first singer went on tour with me for a year then something went wrong, the other singer was with me the following year but there was something that didn’t make me fully happy. They were both good, they both did their job correctly… but “good” for me is not enough, I need VIBE, which is one of the most important elements for my music! Everything in those days can be “good”, this for example (pointing to his plate of food) is good food but frankly it’s not excellent, and if I have the chance to choose between a good dish and an excellent dish, like you will do, I will certainly go for the excellent. Basically after several auditions I found my “excellent dish”, called Danny.
DANNY : Gaudi found his restaurant!
GAUDI : Ya man, I found my restaurant. This gentleman came to my studio in London and as soon as he started his audition, I was like “fuck” (pardon my French) and I’ve handcuffed him to me since!
GANJAOLOGY : Haha, excellent!
GANJAOLOGY : You have an upcoming release, do you want to talk about that?
GAUDI : I have an upcoming album which is my number thirteen, it’s gonna be released worldwide in March 2013 by legendary label Six Degrees Records, I’m really enthusiastic about it. There are really good music guests on this album: a track features reggae legend Michael Rose from Black Uhuru, there’s also a track I wrote with Lee Scratch Perry and The Orb, Mr. Danny Ladwa of course involved in two tracks, Twilight Circus, Hedflux, Jahmai, Deadly Hunta to name a few.
GANJAOLOGY : We are certainly looking forward to that! Last question. If there was one thing that you wanted to say to all of your listeners and everyone that’s grooved with you over the years and any future listeners, what would you say to them?
GAUDI : I would say that, in relation of my 30 years of music activity, that all the big mistakes that I made during the path on this beautiful journey; those big mistakes, which at that precise moment you feel you going through a catastrophe – they are the key for my… let’s call it establishment. Because those mistakes, so bad at the time that happened… made me much, much stronger and created a sort of armor around me and gave me even more determination. I’d suggest to try to transform the negative thing of the mistakes you’ve done in a positive constructive future foundations. That’s my singular opinion, that’s what happened to me.
GANJAOLOGY : That’s cool, that’s particularly useful for me on a personal level. Seriously…
GAUDI : I think it is an useful formula to keep in consideration every day.
GANJAOLOGY : Thank you.
GAUDI : And for the non-musician peeps…. the “normals”… Haha, and I say ‘normals’ because the musicians are not normal. We all are a bit cookoo I think. For the non-musician friends I just want to send an invitation in the air, an invitation to support music!
Yes, MUSIC is free, it travels free and it enriches you for free, no boundaries, so beautiful… But please never forget that behind a record there is a hard, hard work. This includes a solid investment of energy, money, passion, love, effort etc. If you see a pair of shoes in a shop and you like it so much that you wanna buy it, you’re going to save your money and you’re going to buy these shoes right? If you fancy a raw food meal, you just go to the restaurant and you buy your raw food meal, and if you like that specific shirt that unfortunately is quite expensive but you really really want it, you save some money and you go to the shop and you buy that specific shirt, then you are happy right?
So… if you really like an artist – forget about me, I’m talking about MUSIC in general – If you really like an artist and you really like his music, or her music, or their music; you save your money and as you would do with your fucking shoes, you go and buy that beautiful music, simply because you want to support that artist, or that label, or that producer, that music genre et cetera.
So I’m just kindly asking, think about it. You can use the “music piracy” in a constructive way, as I absolutely do: I download an album that I want to listen to, I listen to it because with the modern technology I can listen to the album for free, and if I like it I buy it! Done. If I don’t like it I don’t buy it, simple. If you don’t like my music do not buy it, I respect you 100%. But you can surely explore it for free first, then you make your decision, right? Lets use the piracy mechanism in a constructive way. Let’s not be scared about anything. Lets transform all we need in a positive way!
I personally always bought my music, with happiness… always, all the fucking time, and I will always do it.
You know why? Because…
I LOVE MUSIC.
– Gaudi –