Kiwi : More Than Just a Fruit

To my knowledge, I reside in the great city of New York, where winters are cold and summers are hot and gross. Last Thursday, Jersey City-based reggae band, Kiwi, managed to convince me that I was in fact closer to the shores of a tropical island where cares and worries don’t exist. Those tricksters.

Kiwi

Photo credit to Jacqueline Halgren

It’s hard to believe the nine musicians on stage at Joe’s Pub are actually from just across the bridge, because they and their music ooze old school, island relaxation. All dressed in suits except for lead singer, Alex Tea, who commands the stage in a cozy pullover to offset his damn-near floor-length dreads, Kiwi is a sight to see and an even better sound to hear. The melody coming from the stage is exactly what reggae should sound like, both lyrically and musically.

Many of the tunes Kiwi performs are rather simplistic and repetitive in lyrics, but with the style of music these guys are emitting, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Perhaps most impressive are the expert combinations of sounds from the various instruments on stage. With three horns, two percussionists and a variety of other members, Kiwi could easily present a loud, brassy sound to compliment the jazz from which they take some of their influence. However, despite the full stage, no individual instrument is overwhelming. Instead, the mellow sound drifting into the crowd speaks directly to the idea that all instruments are absolutely necessary for the creation of this music. Even during a mid-set display of brass and wind mastery, Kiwi maintains the perfect balance of sound.

On top of Kiwi’s beautiful combination of instrumental art, Tea serenades the crowd with a luscious pairing of meaningful lyrics and his smooth, sedative vocals. With a range from Nat King Cole covers to their own Portuguese love songs, it’s no surprise that Kiwi takes “influence from all over the place,” and they kill it every time. I couldn’t ask for a better show, and I wouldn’t dare.

Originally published February 24, 2013 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

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Putamayo World Music Releases Yoga Compilation

Despite the fact that yoga has been around for thousands of years in various parts of the world, new people continue to discover it each day. Even for those of us for whom yoga has been part of life for years, each new practice can enlighten us. While this undoubtedly comes from the nature of yoga itself, a session’s musical accompaniment can serve as an integral part of the learning process for yogis.

Putamayo World Music Yoga Compilation

Photo credit to putamayo.com

Fortunately for yogis who recognize this connection and even those who don’t, Putumayo World Music, the 1993 extension of the Putumayo clothing company, is set to release an amazing new album this Tuesday (October 30) made just for yoga lovers. World Yoga, a compilation of calming music from around the globe, is composed of 15 tracks determined to complement the progression and balance of a proper yoga session. Whether in calm, breath-aware child’s pose or the ever-feared chair pose, the sounds of World Yoga only help yogis to release the stresses of the outside world and invert focus to where it matters. World Yoga features a well-chosen medley of soft, strong vocals; melodic guitar strumming and delicately irresistible beats among other sounds perfectly suited to the ancient Indian practice so many now embrace with open arms.

For those with an established yoga practice, World Yoga will deepen the sense of strength and peace derived from a good practice and add to the overall feeling of well-being, accomplishment and contentment that follows routine. For yoga beginners, a more appropriate album cannot be found to assist in opening the heart, the lungs and the body to this amazing practice in awareness, calmness and peace.

Originally published October 29, 2012 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com