The songs of this phenomenal album tap into a deep reservoir of transformative musical traditions from around the world – Afrobeat, funk, hip hop, Puerto Rican bomba, Cuban rumba, salsa, and soul; inviting us to rejoice in the planetary brilliance of life on earth, and to revel in global human connection.
(This music) carries me to my joy on streets of Harlem, where strangers still greet, to the fragrances of temples by global seas, and sacred spaces of El Barrio in NYC. I listen and feel the souls of my ancestors letting me know joy is possible even in the worst of times. I find myself by the Bronx River, contemplating the possible histories of a stone.
“I feel in a lot of ways the pandemic has forced us to face that time really is short, so why not live your joy today?” King said. “So I feel like in this album there is a lot of those type of questions about what are you going to choose? You are presented with all these options about how you want to live your life and how do you want to use this time in front of you?”
When people ask about what kind of music TapRoots is, I always find it very difficult to pinpoint. Is it funk? Is it reggae? Is it Latin? Is it rock? It doesn’t fit any one box and is sometimes passed by as a result of people not knowing how to talk about it and understand it. Over the years I’ve tried to come up with different names. Global Fusion. Latin Prog Funk. Orisha Rock. The point is that there is an indefinable quality to this music, though there are some foundational grounding principles.
All I can say is, Wow! Really?! THIS good?!!
Multi instrumentalist and visionary behind the TapRoots movement, Matthew King, took to the stage with this 11-piece band, and took the audience on an incredible journey through time, space, culture, politics, spirit, poetry, and more. He grabbed hold of us from the moment he stepped on stage and did not let go for this amazing ride.
There are many bands around that have a world music influence. But this is a true world music band. Lead singer and guitarist, Matt King, has assembled an incredible crew, and he sings and writes in (multiple languages). The music easily evokes the rain forest or tropical islands, and like other world music before this, there is frequently a political bend to the lyrics and their stance on stage, but the focus is the music.
“We draw upon the life stories of those in the local and global community to spin the narratives of our age,” Matthew said, “It is both ancient and contemporary, and there is no one that has heard us play that hasn’t gone home invigorated and rejuvenated, ready to meet the next day with a little TapRoots mojo in their pockets.”
Musically, TapRoots is a complex tapestry of styles that melds familiar sounds with some that will be new to listeners.
King draws from a wide net of influences; you’ll hear elements of rock, soul, reggae, salsa, hip-hop, samba, folkloric rhythms and more in his music, which he describes as tapping “into the roots of these traditions while imagining something refreshingly new.”
"Matthew draws from the musical traditions of funk, Cuban drumming, Brazilian Tropicalia, salsa, hip hop, samba, reggae, soul, pop, rock, acoustic folk, poetry, and spoken word. And yet, there’s no need to settle on genre here — the music pours through the soul."
"(Matthew) King led the ensemble from front and center and his combination of humility, confidence and joy are radiant and impossible to ignore. The sounds? Somewhere between Miles Davis electric era, Abraxis era Santana and Sun Ra Arkestra. Like with other great world music, the music was accompanied by quality lyrics that described struggle, redemption and purpose.
"Through this music, I hope to pay tribute to the many amazing artists, percussionists, and spiritual leaders that have opened my eyes and heart to the rhythms of the African diaspora. I honor them with everything that I do and hope that my music can wake us up to the fact that we all have a role in fighting for justice for all communities."