gilzene and the blue light mento band
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gilzene and the blue light mento band

kingston, Westmoreland, Jamaica

kingston, Westmoreland, Jamaica
Folk Folk

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Still working on that hot first release.

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Jamaican music before the age of reggae
The antecedent of ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub and dancehall, mento is the adorable folk music to which Jamaica once gently swayed. And, despite those homegrown styles it begat, it's actually stylistically closer to calypso, the signature music from Trinidad at the far end of the West Indies island chain. Like their calypsonian cousins, mento musicians invested their songs with a dual purpose - sharp social commentary and chucklesome double entendres. Lanford Gilzene's Blue Light Mento Band are one of the few outfits to keep the tradition breathing - and fine ambassadors they are too. Armed with a banjo and a strange contraption called a rhumba box (effectively an mbira attached to a wooden box which provides both drum and bass), their charming acoustic sound is delightfully unvarnished. Mento was never intended to be super-smooth, after all. "Perfection was not the objective," the band note. "It was all about groove