If you’re into fresh, eclectic music, with a tasty spoonful of psychedelic West African influence, the new Barika album When the Time Comes will instantly make you turn your head and drop what you’re doing. Barika is a funky 6-piece group, led by Craig Myers on the ancient African instrument the N’Goni, also a long-time member and percussionist in Mike Gordon’s band, and founding member of the multi-dimensional ensemble Rubblebucket. Leaving his hometown of Burlington, Vermont in the mid-2000’s and traveling through different parts of Africa learning and observing various communities and styles of drumming has led Craig to new heights and boundaries with the work he has accomplished with Barika. When the Time Comes is a rare album; it allows the human mind to take a step back from the trials and tribulations in our daily lives, and provides a space to dig deep culturally and musically through the creativity that Craig Myers and the rest of Barika have created.
Every track on the album besides “Dreams” is written by Myers and co-produced by Myers and Caleb Bronz, impressively displaying the heart and soul that was poured into the conceptualizing of this album, and bringing it to life. Opening song, “When the Time Comes,” starts off with some groovy string-work on the N’Goni, and as the beat builds, a powerful horn section enters, demonstrating exactly why Craig Myers has coined Barika’s sound as “funky, dubbed out, psychedelic West African flavored music.” The beautiful combination, of the N’Goni, horns, drums, and percussion, comes to a brief halt mid-way through the song, with faint, dubbed out tribal lyrics, and then smoothly flows back into the heavy-hitting groove that gets the album rolling.
When the Time Comes sets itself on a unique path from Barika’s previous music, featuring several guest artists and vocalists such as Kat Wright, Stephanie Lynn Heaghney, Daby Toure, Mathew O’Brian, and Craig Mitchell. Track “Find My Way” featuring guest Craig Mitchell, starts off with a political tone, quickly encompassing the vision of every nation coming together as one, and eliminating division and social injustice that exists in our world today. As some would call aspects of the music political commentary, it more importantly provides a portal to connect with others through music on a universal level.
Barika has big plans for the upcoming year, both live and in the practice room, kicking it off with the highly anticipated album release party of When the Time Comes. The famous Burlington, VT venue Nectar’s is the perfect place to release this masterpiece on February 17th, and kick Barika’s year off in style with a hometown-throw down. If you are able to make it out to Nectar’s the third Friday of February, you are indefinitely in for an eye-opening and pleasurable evening!
2/17, Album Release Party “When the Time Comes” w/ The Fritz @ Nectar’s, Burlington, Vermont
3/9, Nublu, NYC [presented by People Time]
3/10, Funk ‘n Waffles Downtown, Syracuse, New York *
3/31, Positive Pie, Montpelier, Vermont
4/22, Rockwood Music Hall / NYC
4/28, Portland House of Music and Events, Portland, Maine **
4/29, Nectar’s, Burlington, Vermont **
* w/ Joe Driscoll
** w/ Richard James and The Name Changers
[Cover photo via Brian Jenkins]