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Thursday, September 3, 2009
© The Cairns Post
Nicky Bomba is bringing his positive vibes and energetic stage show to Reggaetown this weekend, writes Jesse Kuch
Whenever Nicky Bomba plays in Cairns, it’s something special.
Special not only because Nicky is one of the most exciting and energetic performers you’ll see, but it’s memorable for him as well, being the place he performed his first reggae song,Message To Rudy by The Specials, at the age of 15.
These days Bomba is one of the busiest and most active members of the blossoming roots, reggae and world music sound in Australia.
Not only does he enjoy a successful career with his band Bomba (among many others), but he has just launched his debut solo album Planet Juice, joined the legendary John Butler Trio as percussionist, become the face of Melbourne’s phone book and an honorary ranger for the environmental advocacy group The Thin Green Line.
Among all this, Bomba remains humble about his achievements, preferring to promote universal positivity and connect with his audience in a way many musicians are not capable of.
timeOUT caught up with Bomba ahead of his gig at Reggaetown
“For me, it’s essential to have the connection between audience and artist, sometimes it’s kind of even more important than the actual songs,” he says.
“I think music has the power to make that connection and that feeling creates a sense of unity and is spoken in a language we
“If it’s five people, or 5000 people, it’s the same feeling of wanting to connect. The reggae stuff that I do is great for dancing and it’s happy vibe music as well, which is all very much part of my personality.”
Bomba says being asked to become a member of John Butler Trio is humbling.
“It’s a total honour and a pleasure,” he says.
“Like anything, it’s a challenge and another journey in life. I love adventure and l love challenge. To people who say you have to have one thing or one band, I say humbug to that. I love the variety and it’s capped off what has been a great year for me.”
Bomba says no matter what song he does, the essence of what the song is about is what draws him to it.
“There is so much varied goodness in different songs,” he says.
“My new solo album has a lot of different songs, some are a bit darker, others light. I really feel that the essence of the song is what’s important and makes me gravitate toward it.
“I like songs that encourage dancing, smiling and positive vibes, I get a lot of that out in my music.”
This year’s performance at Reggaetown will be something special for Bomba – he will be performing as Nicky Bomba and the Reggaetown All-Stars.
“I’ll be picking out musicians from all the different artists on the day, I guess you could say it’s my take on the whole solo thing,” he says with a laugh.
“On my last album I played all the instruments myself and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. It’s more about standing in front of a canvas and painting by myself. But at the festival it will be a bit different.
“I really enjoy playing Reggaetown. I love reggae, ska and early calypso, the way it’s constructed and the spontaneity in those performances; it has a real warmth and humanness.”
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
© The Cairns Post
Reggae and Cairns have always shared a special bond.
I don’t know whether it’s the weather, the people, the tropical vibe (or perhaps just a combination of the three), but one thing is for sure, Far Northerners absolutely love it and it has never been more evident than at the weekend’s Reggaetown Festival at Tjapukai Cultural Park.
Hosted by Roots Music Agency and Triple J, it is one of the nation’s biggest and best loved island roots events, attracting both punters and bands from around Australia and across the globe for 10 hours of skankin’ music madness.
There was a great selection of tunes on offer over the three stages, from traditional island reggae and roots, through to more urban sounds, dub, dubstep, blues and hip-hop.
While everyone I managed to see played a great set, it was multi-instrumental king Nicky Bomba and his Reggaetown All Stars that stole the show (it’s little wonder that John Butler chose him as his new percussionist in the John Butler Trio).
Taking some of the best musicians from the bands appearing on the day, the All Stars was a great spectacle of improvisation and connection with the crowd.
Katchafire’s sweet vocal harmonies and awesome stage show was also a major highlight and it’s little wonder these boys are regarded as one of New Zealand’s finest bands.
Of course, Zennith are always worth a mention too and their set must be credited with getting the crowd on their feet and dancing after a rather relaxed opening to proceedings.
But Reggaetown wasn’t just about the music, there was also a great selection of markets, food and drink stalls and workshops to keep even the fussiest punter happy.
I couldn’t think of a better end to the Festival Cairns proceedings than sitting back in the sunshine and soaking up some of the best reggae and roots music that the world has to offer.
Congratulations goes out to everyone involved for making it such a fantastic day for the whole family.