Soothsayers are something of a South London musical institution. Having released eight albums over the course of twenty years, they’re poised to drop their ninth, and second on Wah Wah 45s, entitled We Are Many, this November. Recorded both in their favourite part of the capital and across the globe in Sao Paulo, it’s a fascinating blend of their trademark dub and Afrobeat flavours mixed with some distinctly Brazilian inflections. Not only that, it represents a positive and uplifting statement in challenging times – the overriding power of the music leading the band to continue forward, ever pushing their musical boundaries and concepts.
Rat Race was recorded both in the UK and in Brazil. The lyrics were written by band leaders Idris Rahman and Robin Hopcraft after much discussion, over a few too many caipirinhas, in a mountain retreat near the Barra Do Sahy beach in Sao Paulo. Whilst contemplating the absurdity of the recent success of Bolsonaro as Brazil’s president, and the ongoing global political travesties of Trump, Brexit and beyond, the song slowly came into fruition. The vast beauty and power of the southern Brazilian rainforest also inspired the pair to dream of a less greedy and destructive way of life that takes care of, rather than destroys, our natural environment.
Light The Way is another production with young south London musicians and producers, Kwake and Wu-lu, as well as a vocal collaboration with amazing Senegalese singer Modou Toure who performs this song in the Wolof language. Modou’s lead vocals combined with Soothsayers vocal harmonies and layered trumpets and a flute improvisation create a rich and evocative tapestry of sound. It’s a lament on the suffering in the world, and a call for love and light to show us the way out of the darkness.
“The hot new single from the Soothsayers – what a great British reggae band they are” – David Rodigan (BBC Radio1XTRA)