Friday 3 July, 2020

Ras Teo enlists Jamaican musicians for 'Sufferation'

Ras Teo (left) with Gabre Selassie of Kingston Dub Club, Fred Locks and sound system stalwart Uncle Ronnie.

Ras Teo (left) with Gabre Selassie of Kingston Dub Club, Fred Locks and sound system stalwart Uncle Ronnie.

Some of music's biggest stars have gone to Jamaica over the years to work with that country's musicians, including Mick Jagger, Sting and Lauryn Hill. Not as famous, Ras Teo followed their lead last year.

The Sweden-born roots singer, who lives in Southern California, recorded several songs for 'Sufferation, his upcoming album, at the world-famous Tuff Gong studios in Kingston, Jamaica's capital.

"Me being in Jamaica I have learnt a lot ... especially learning a lot from Papa Fred Locks, as he calls me his son. So, Jamaica has been crucial to I as far as learning and my writing skills; you can hear Jamaica's influence in my music," said Ras Teo.

Kirk Bennett, arguably the top session drummer in Jamaica; veteran guitarist Dalton Browne, rising bass guitarist Jason Welch and keyboardist Andrew Marsh of Julian Marley's band are some of the musicians who worked on 'Sufferation'.

Scheduled for release in the summer by Dutch independent company JahSolidRock, 'Sufferation' is Ras Teo's eighth album and the follow-up to 'Ten Thousand Lions' which was released in 2019.

'Sufferation' has yielded one song in 'Sabbath Day' which came out in April. 

"I think the album is the same way I have been approaching most of my albums,  with deep roots tones and meditative vibes. This album has a very celestial feeling to it," Ras Teo explained.

Born Teodik Hartoonian in the city of Uppsala, eastern Sweden, Ras Teo moved with his family to southern California as a teenager. It was there that his passion for Jamaican roots-reggae grew, especially the songs of Fred Locks, best known for the repatriation anthem, 'Seven Miles of Black Star Liner'.

He first visited Jamaica in 2015.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: