Anguile & The High Steppers
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Anguile & The High Steppers

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"Good times and good vibes in Harlem on a Saturday night with African-flavored roots reggae by Anguile & the High Steppers"

Concert Review: Anguile & the High Steppers at Shrine, NYC 5/9/09
May 10, 2009 ·

Good times and good vibes in Harlem on a Saturday night with African-flavored roots reggae by Anguile & the High Steppers. The band was excellent, bass and drums holding down a fat riddim, excellent percussionist with a dubwise feel, terse Telecaster player running his guitar through a watery chorus effect, jazzy keyboardist and bandleader Anguile, from Gabon via Paris, out front. He’s a big guy with a casual, comfortable stage presence, singing in both French and English, sometimes both in the same song, decked out in a white robe over a black t-shirt and fatigue pants. The band jammed their way jazzily into what seems to be their theme song, Negre Blanc – this being a multiracial band, the song is not sarcastic but simply explanatory. Anguile’s lyrics fit the traditional roots mold: respect for all races and mother Africa, with considerable emphasis on the spiritual. But the most fervent ones were always set to the catchiest, most upbeat tunes, keeping everything irie.

A call for racial equality (titled Afrique, Ecoute-Moi maybe?) had a punchy, Exodus-style intensity. Anguile related that how when he was a child, he asked his grandmother where his name came from. She replied that the original Anguile was a slave trader. He was happy to announce that through some internet sleuthing, he eventually learned that Anguile was the Gabonese leader who freed the slaves there.

Cocol Gnom Bi grooved along on a jazzy two-chord vamp reminiscent of vintage Aswad. Dieu Connait Ton Nom (God Knows Your Name) was bouncy and bubbly, as was the aptly titled Party Party (not the Costello song), spiced with carefree solos by the keyboardist and then Anguile, who would pick up a melodica from time to time. Their best song was the slow, hypnotic, trance-inducing, Burning Spear-inflected Change Ton Pas (Change Your Ways). They closed their first set with their darkest number, building from an eerie organ intro to a ominous four-chord verse that would have worked as well in a mid-70s British art-rock song as it did here. Finally at the end (this band’s songs are long!) they cut loose with the drums and the wah-wah guitar kicking up a storm. Anyone who loves roots reggae, the old or the new or just any kind of hypnotic, psychedelic music ought to check these guys out.

- Lucid Culture


"Woodbury Reggae Fest"

Anguile and the High Steppers hail from Gabon by way of Montreal, Canada, and Brooklyn, N.Y., and perform self-styled “African and European” reggae with French lyrics. Anguile’s positive spirit and energetic delivery may win fans even if they can’t quite understand the words.

http://www.newhavenadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=13377 - New Haven Advocate


"CD Review:African roots reggae on the spiritual tip. CD Review of Anguile & the High Steppers – La Sagesse du Roi/Wisdom of the King"

CD Review: Anguile & the High Steppers – La Sagesse du Roi/Wisdom of the King

July 2, 2009 ·

African roots reggae on the spiritual tip.

Gabonese-American-via-Paris frontman Anguile delivers unpretentiously soulful meditations on several popular reggae themes: racial equality, respect for the earth and family, African liberation and the need for world peace among them, perhaps underscored by the fact that Anguile comes from a mixed-race background. Some songs switch between French and English, with several in either one or the other: Africans are famously multilingual. The riddim tracks are pleasantly oldschool with bubbling organ, rattling percussion, trebly 1970s style guitar, vocal harmonies and the occasional horn chart.
The cd kicks off with Sur les Cotes de l’Afrique (On the African Coast), a percussive Ras Michael style number, whirling layers of of synth in the background adding a dizzying effect. Oh Africa sounds like a rootsier Francophone version of what Luciano was doing ten years ago. For Anguile, Negre Blanc is something of a theme song, a triumphant announcement of transcendence over racial stereotyping. A couple of the songs here, Party Party and Cocol Gnam Bi (Forgive Us, Lord) have an Afrobeat vibe, the latter, a Steel Pulse-ish number, asking forgiveness for the Africans who collaborated with the slave traders and left sixty million dead. Nebukanetzar addresses the price of vanity, the ominous tale of a fallen dictator.
The rest of the cd alternates between the spiritual and the secular, notably Change Ton Pas (Change Your Ways) with its eerie, recurring synth motif. There are also two alternate versions and a dub version of Negre Blanc. This fits right in with the new wave of soulful reggae coming from African shores: in a sense, Marcus Garvey’s words really have come to pass, at least as far as music is concerned. Watch this space for upcoming New York area shows.

By Lucid Culture
http://lucidculture.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/cd-review-anguile-the-high-steppers-la-sagesse-du-roiwisdom-of-the-king/ - Lucid Culture - NY


Discography

"Wisdom of the King" CD on Zamani Records

Photos

Bio

Anguile, born Bruno Simonet, is a Gabonese-French reggae artist, founder of "The High Steppers" band, residing in up-state NY near Albany and Saratoga Springs. They specialize
in roots reggae with an emphasis on dub along with Afro-fusion.

Anguile has been performing and recording for the last two decades, although he just released his first CD, "Wisdom of the King" with Zamani Records.
In the summer of 2008, Anguile performed at the International Montreal Jazz Festival, giving a crowd of over 10,000 a memorable performance.
Some audience members compared him to Matisyahu, some to Black Uhuru, and some to Alpha Blondy.

Anguile's messages echo those of Bob Marley, Martin Luther King, or even of Ghandi.
Anguile has collaborated as well with the likes of Rashani, Winston Watson of the Meditations and Ed Robinson of Brooklyn, New York, originally from Jamaica.

Anguile & The High Steppers' African-French roots reggae is a unique blend of African and European reggae, with a heavy dose of pure Jamaican roots. Anguile's soulful and spiritual voice will transport you to the coast of Africa and deep into the African diaspora throughout the world.

"The High Steppers" band was founded by Anguile in the summer of 2008, after Anguile moved to the area. Soon followed the addition of Dave "Dubwise" Tower (Drums & percussion), Jesse "Five Strings" Heeder (guitar) , Jah Red (Bass), Collin "Cosmo" Harte (Keys), Andy "Sideways" Kernan (Drums), and Ryan "ZoBird" Sgroi (Sax), all seasoned professional musicians. The High Steppers are touring all over the North East

Dave "Dubwize" Tower got his nickname from a reporter who said about Dave that he has a dubwise feel when he plays his percussions. The nickname stuck. Dave's background are various in Jazz, Latin and World percussions. he gives clinics and plays with various artist around the Albany area, and we are happy to have Dave as one of the longest standing band member

Jah Red "Steppa" Parrozza, is just a true rasta man bass player and being blonde we called him Jah Red. His bass style is very rootsy and he locks in with the drums just like a machine, you cant stop him. We thought about calling him Stepper because he's always dancing on stage

Colin "Cosmo" Harte is an incredible keyboardist who also DJ's under the name DJ D.O.I . He on occasion will DJ with the Lion of Zion Sound System (Anguile's sound system). Colin is on a planet of his own when it comes to Dub and Reggae music, as the nickname "Cosmo". Colin also has several other projects where he plays Jazz and classic Irish music.

Andy "Sideways" Kernan, has played for over 20 years, andy specializes in electronic music and give seminars on electronic drummin. He has performed with various style of musical formation as big as an Operatic Orchestra and as small as a one man band. Andy has a varied background in Jazz, Funk and World music. he loves to perform with his drums sideways (45 degree angle) to the public and so he got the nickname "Sideways".

Jesse "Five String" Heeder, is an incredible guitarist who knows reggae and funk. A bass player first he picked up guitar several years back and never looked back. Jesse's favorit band are Midnite and Rusted Roots. Jesse got his nickname "Five String" when he broke a string one time and soldierred on without missing a beat.

Ryan "ZoBird" Sgroi, is a music teacher as well as an established musician who just joined the band. His musical background includes Jazz, Funk and World Music. Anguile gave Ryan his nickname of "ZoBird" because he reminds him of the movie Bird & Around Midnite, together it came out as "ZoBird"
FYI - If you wondered, Anguile's nickname is Rasta Drifta because he is crazy about drifting and he is a Rasta in his heart.