Wednesday 9th July, 2008

 

Artistes on the rise…

Sons of Zion

 
 
 
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Sons of Zion’s Curtis Bobb sings from his heart at Naparima Bowl, San Fernando
Andraé Sammy-Guilarte shows style as he sings at Naparima Bowl, San Fernando.
Photos:
Rishi Ragoonath
Further info:
748-1777/315-0345
www.myspace.com
[email protected]

By Jolanda Charles

Their sound is upbeat, fresh and filled with conviction; but what Curtis Bobb and Andraé Sammy-Guilarte, aka Sons of Zion, have managed to accomplish within two short years fraught with mishaps, is nothing short of miraculous.

Since their emergence in 2006, their slick old-school reggae and R&B infused harmonies have been heard at venues across the country. In March they were among the opening acts for international gospel superstars Mary Mary, alongside local artistes like Sean Daniel, Love Circle and Pastor Angela Williams. They also appeared at the Papa San concert held last November; and participated in Live 2, a live entertainment showcase produced by a popular local television station back in May.

So who exactly are these sons of Zion?

Sammy, 33, is a programmer at Acts 25; the television station developed by his father, Pastor Nelson Sammy, and started his music career performing at church functions with members of his youth group.

Bobb, 27, an HR assistant at the SWRHA, also had his beginnings at church but extended his pursuits by performing with the group Celestial Harmony from 1999 to 2004. He also ventured out on his own; performing at private functions and providing background vocals for artistes such as Jadee and Christ Dimension.

It was on one such occasion, while recording vocals for Mission Epistle that he encountered Sammy and the rest, as they say, is history.

Taking the good news to the masses

Listing Beres Hammond, Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff among their many influences, the two claimed that they wanted to set the standard for others pursuing their special brand of music (reggae) in the local industry. They also emphasised that their music was not of the fire and brimstone variety usually associated with gospel music but inspired by real-life situations taking place within the country, the society and their personal lives, particularly the influence of the Most High.

“What we try to do is get out of the Christian box…as in we want to deal with issues, social issues,” said Bobb, who alluded to the government’s stance that the church is not doing enough to quell the misbehaviour taking place within the society today.

“We are part of the church so we trying to put ourselves out there through our music, to let people know, hear what, we understand you going through something but there is a solution. We go through the same things but we know there is a solution, we willing to share.”

The group has appeared at what may be considered “secular” events and their music, which even has some soca influences, has received tremendous support outside of the gospel arena.

“Honestly, that’s what we look for,” said Sammy.

“We try not to just focus in on the Christians because there are more people out there.

We have a message for everybody in the world whether you’re Christian or not and we believe we could help everybody with our music.”

“We don’t want to limit ourselves just to gospel; we want to know that at the end of the day we are just considered as artistes bringing the good news music.” Bobb added.

Upcoming projects

Sons of Zion will next be performing at the gospel-oriented, Youth Arts International Festival scheduled for the opening of the Kadooment celebrations in Barbados on July 29. They also expect to release their debut album this September which features original songs like The Gift, inspired by the strong women in their lives; and Knock Knock, which, according to Bobb, sends the message that God is presenting himself to people; knocking at the door and waiting for them to open up their lives.

It also features collaborations with St Mathew, another artiste coming out of Jamaica and Maximus Dan.

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