By Anita Stewart, Managing Editor
EP Review: “Roots Rebellion” on Ancient Roots Records
Release Date: June 16, 2022
This band, the Rippah Shreddahs have been around for a number of years and have changed their lineup a few times; they hail from the beautiful university town of Morgantown, West Virginia, an unlikely locale for reggae music but for them–this works! This latest studio recording is a 5-track EP titled “Roots Rebellion” with five lively and socially conscious songs that have lyrics that make the listener think and hooks that will take hold and have one singing along. The Rippah Shreddahs jam original reggae music that has blends of mostly folk, reggae, rootsy reggae and Hawaiian; but their music also has hints of ragamuffin, hip-hop, ska, dance-hall, jazz, funk and punk.
For this recording, the band consisted of regular members, family and guest musicians. Jeremy Yeats aka “Dr. Fiendah” on lead vocals and ukulele, Robert “Rasta Bob” Lampenfield on bass, keys and guitar, Otis Lande on bass (Tracks 1 and 3), Steve Buzzell- bass, drums and vocals (Track 4), Julian Yeats on vocals (Tracks 1, 3, 4, and 5) and drums (Track 1), Siri and Kailani Yeats on vocals (Track 5), Patrick Antonio “JJ” Smith on drums (Track 3), Chris Hopper on keys (Track 4), Chris Hnat on drums and steel pan (Tracks 2 and 4), John Purse on guitar (Track 1), Thom Holum on trombone (Tracks 1, 2, 3, and 4) and vocals (Track 4), Kyle Jerome on saxophone (Tracks 1, 2, 3, and 4), Matt Wilkolak on trumpet (Tracks 1, 2, 3, and 4), Bongo Asha on percussion (Track 3).
Jeremy Yeats was the Executive Producer, Robert “Rasta Bob” Lampenfield produced the EP and the mixers were Andrew Lundsfjord and Robert “Rasta Bob” Lampenfield and Steve Buzzell. The music was mastered by Greg DiCrosta with artwork by Heather Lande. The album was recorded at the landmark Mr. Smalls Studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Stay tuned for more info on the Roots Rebellion Tour that will be promoting the band’s latest recording.
About the album, Jeremy says: “The major theme of our music is unity, and we address issues of race, ethnicity, colonialism, gender, sexual orientation, and oppression in general. We also have themes related to education and ripping and shredding our way through life. The Roots Rebellion album has been created to pay homage to the inventors of reggae and those involved with the reggae movement. It’s about continuing to pass the torch to the next generations, so we can challenge the status quo, and make a better place for all of our children. This starts and continues with challenging our governance systems, supporting our freedom fighters and front line workers, questioning media, and reminders to find balance and take care of our own mental heath…the Roots Rebellion album is made up of 5 songs. It’s about continuing the reggae movement through the Roots Rebellion and challenging the status quo to make a better world.”
“Governing Views” was written about the doctoral studies of Jeremy Yeats/Doctah Fiendah while he examined the decisions being made by the governance members of Hawai’i, with the goal of bettering the quality of physical education, music, and art education in the state. “Recover Our Nation” is track 2, which is straight roots reggae. It is about marching with the most important social justice movements of our time and supporting each other and the front line workers coming out of a pandemic. “Roots Rebellion” is the title track. It is about encouraging the youth to rise up and the importance of having the elders guide us. Specifically, it is looking to the messages in the past from the reggae movement and continuing the fight today. “No Fear” the fourth track, is about overcoming fear. Whether it be the fear of releasing music, the fear of life in a pandemic, or the fear mongering of the news media. The final song of this album is “Vacation Time.” After the important, heavy messages and actions that are needed to change the world, it is important to decompress as well. This song is about remembering to stay balanced with family and vacations.
Rock at Night says: “If we can change the world through meaningful music, this would be one of the albums to add to a socially conscious playlist on all streaming platforms! Every track had my feet tapping and my head bobbing. And the lyrics are lessons on the human condition and how we can change situations and the energies of people around us by doing the right thing. Bravo!“