Bert Jansch: thoughts on a departed giant of acoustic music
Cover Story: (21) The Bells of Rhymney. Pete Seeger, the Byrds or Oysterband. Or indeed John Denver

High Love Roots: shades of Caribbean magic on the Med

 

Daddy is Seb Nesta and Daddy is cool.

He's the charismatic lead singer of  a wonderful reggae, rap and roots band that can be heard making pulsating music around the French resort of Le Lavandou this summer.

High Love Roots are so good, bursting with raw energy and clearly having a good time, that you can almost forget that more than half those who bothered to vote here in recent legislative elections shamefully opted for Marine Le Pen's extreme rightwing Rassemblement National.

 

Salut! Live is meant to be a folk site but most people who love folk like other forms of music,  too. And anyway, HLR - not to be confused with the High Level Ranters - has roots in its title.

 

Band daddy - 1

We've caught them twice at the Balto, a bar next door to the mairie. It has a terrace, part of which serves as a stage for live music, and is fast becoming one the best venues in town.

 


Band full - 1

 

The High Love Roots band calls itself a collective and you easily see why.

Everyone plays an important part. Nesta's co-singer, Loic, makes vital, punchy vocal contributions and could easily front a band himself. There is excellent accompaniment from the rhythm guitarist, bassist and keyboard player and Mehdi is, like Ginger Baker, one of those rare drummers - or at least rare for me - who can hold the stage with sensational solos.

A good friend who is also a drummer likes to joke that the definition of a jazz trio is "two musicians and a drummer". Harsh on himself but it’s not an instrument I naturally warm to, much as I understand its role.

 


Band guitar - 1

 

I love this band and will see them again in tbe coming days and weeks. They were handing out CDs at the Balto  - "just pay what you want" - and it's good listening for the car without quite capturing the dynamic power that typifies their gigs. 


Band loic - 1

 

The clip I’ve chose (below) gets closer. HLR just seems to be one of those bands best encountered live.

 

Band mehdi - 1

I am not sure of all their names - though I already knew Georges, the keyboard player - but will slot them in when I can. 

Band georges plus bass - 1
Do try to see them if you’re heading for these parts and manage to overcome the obstacles to smooth cross-Channel  travel created by Brexit (but oafishly blamed on the French  by the very people who proudly crushed our freedom of movement).

 

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