In 2011, Sun Araw and M. Geddes Gengras – together with filmmakers Tony Lowe and Sam Fleischner, and RVNG Intl. boss Matt Werth – were welcomed into the “spiritual compound” where The Congos live and work in St. Catherine, Jamaica.
For weeks the American musicians embraced slept, smoked and lived the Ital lifestyle at the septuagenarian reggae legends’ headquarters. Of course they also recorded a vast amount of music with their hosts, which they took back home to assemble and mix down; the final results appear as Vol.9 of RVNG Intl.’s FRWKYS series, an album entitled ICON GIVE THANK. The release includes a suitably spaced-out, free-associative documentary by Lowe and Fleischner, ICON EYE, that captures the magic of the sessions.
Speaking to the four key members of the ICON expedition – Cameron ‘Sun Araw’ Stallones, Gengras, Werth and Lowe – it soon became obvious that each of them had acquired some remarkable vinyl treasures while in St. Catherine and the surrounding area, many of them from the shelves and boxes of a local record collector-cum-seller named Patrick. Over the next few pages, they tell us about some of the most special 12″s, 45s and LPs that they spirited back to the States, from sweet-natured rocksteady and roots cuts to dread-infused dancehall and cosmically-attuned dub.
Sun Araw and M. Geddes Gengras will be performing live with The Congos at London’s Village Underground on June 22, in association with the Barbican. King Midas Sound System lend DJ support, and there’ll also be a screening of ICON EYE -more information and tickets here.