A new horizon

Bedouin Soundclash return with a new member, a new record label and their ‘most expressive’ album to date

Bedouin Soundclash promise their biggest show to date Thursday, Nov. 25 at the Pyramid. Courtesy Sony Music

Bedouin Soundclash have been infecting Canadians with their reggae and ska rhythms since their first release in 2001. After going on a year-long hiatus, the group is back with a new album and a new drummer, and is ready to take the world by storm.

When drummer Pat Pengelly left in January 2009, the band went on hiatus. Vocalist/guitarist Jay Malinowski recorded a solo record, the band formed their own indie label, Pirate Blend Records, and took time to relax and regroup.

The group was reborn when the talents of drummer Sekou Lumumba (Thornley, Edwin & the Pressure, Kardinal Offishall) were added in February 2010.
Malinowski, Pengelly and Eon Sinclair (bass) met while attending Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. and bonded over a mutual love of punk bands like the Clash, Bad Brains and Fishbone.

Reggae was also common ground for the students and is a commonality that extends to the new lineup: Malinowski grew up on British reggae, Sinclair’s parents were from Guyana and Lumumba was born in Trinidad. 

Bedouin Soundclash’s breakthrough album Sounding a Mosaic, which was released in 2004, not only paired Bedouin with Bad Brains bassist/producer Darryl Jenifer, but it also garnered them a Juno for New Group of the Year. 

Since then the band has shared stages with the likes of No Doubt, Coldplay and Nine Inch Nails.

The band’s newest album Light the Horizon was released on Sept. 28 on Pirate Blend Records, and paired them with DJ and producer King Britt (Digable Planets, Macy Gray, Santigold).

“The guy is a walking Wikipedia of musical knowledge,” said Lumumba over the phone from Montreal.

“And not just that, but he’s also an ambassador of the city; he knows all the bands, he knows all the musicians in the city, and so we had access to some really great musicians who came on and made (Light the Horizon) a much more robust record than the previous Bedouin albums.”

The album strays from the drums/bass/guitar model the band had previously used to incorporate new instruments like strings, mandolins, ukuleles and an orchestra.

“King really helped us flesh these songs out and breathe new life into them in terms of what we had started writing,” said Lumumba. “It’s definitely more lush and dynamic, and a more expressive record than the other records have been.”

Since the record was released, the band has been focused on sharing it with the world.

“Right now that’s pretty much the focus – promoting the record and hitting as many places as we can to play it for everybody,” says Lumumba.

And this is a show you will not want to miss. Lumumba promises it will be different than anything Bedouin has done before.

“We have a really big production, the biggest that the band has ever had: stage lighting, set pieces on stage, little projected movies and cameras on each of us in the band. It’s kind of a big deal in terms of production for us – it’s going to be a really visually stimulating show.”

Published in Volume 65, Number 13 of The Uniter (November 25, 2010)

Related Reads