I-Chèle & The Circle Of Light
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I-Chèle & The Circle Of Light

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"Sensuous, Passionate Roots Rock Reggae"


BY VANESSA SALVIA

There's nothing traditional about I-chèle — you've probably seen her around town; she's a recognizable figure with waist-length dreadlocks and leopard print dress. I-chèle grew up in New York City, where she studied theater and dance, but she craved a more natural life than what the East Coast could offer.

Once transplanted to Oregon, I-chèle enjoyed country living and met a musician who became the father of her son. "He covered me in the umbrella of music," she says. This was the '70s, and the couple played on the streets and in cafés. During their separation I-chèle began playing more guitar. Then she met Bibbs Goff, a musician from Belize and "a musical uncle" to many around town. He brought her into a reggae band called Arousing Spirits. Circle of Light came to be after years of playing with Goff, and about seven years ago became I-chèle and the Circle of Light.

I-chèle's last recording, a cassette from 1993, has its charm, but her newest, Salon d' Esoterica, is something to be proud of. Her reggae is a potent mixture of rootsy rock — spare except when highlighted by sax, violin, trumpet or keyboards — and smooth, liquid vocals; it's what you might expect if Sade switched from jazzy R&B to reggae.

The CD was produced and mixed by Vince Black, a Eugene resident who has worked in reggae and blues for decades. His musical accomplishments include performing and recording with Black Uhuru, Andrew Tosh, Wailing Souls, Prezident Brown, Eek-a-Mouse, Lee Perry, Ken Boothe … everyone who's anyone in reggae. I-chèle and Black met backstage after a Circle of Light gig. Since then, I-chèle says, Black has "fortified my musical life … he's the wind beneath my wings. Vince mixed the music so that it's lush … it's sensuous in a way that is appropriate for all ages."

Circle of Light was the backing band for the Northwest Showcase of the 2006 Northwest World Reggae Fest, an experience I-chèle describes as "amazing."

I-chèle doesn't find being a woman to be an obstacle in reggae and says most women really want to hear women sing. "There's a respect I know I'm obligated to have for this music," she says, "because I was wandering around and found it and wanted to come into it, but that wasn't the house I grew up in. I always give props to the sisters who paved the way for other women."





- Eugene Weekly


"Best Reggae/World Beat Band"

BEST REGGAE/WORLD BAND

1. I-chèle and the Circle of Light
2. TIE: Norma Fraser / Medium Troy
3. Reeble Jar


I-chèle
Once you've seen I-chèle on stage you can't forget her. A petite woman with waist-length dreads and a long, leopard-print dress, she struts like a creature from the wild. Her band is made up of some of the best reggae musicians on the West Coast, and they captivate audiences with smooth playing and irie style. With a voice that alternates between a whisper and a wail, I-chèle imbues her own unique spirit into the reggae music that moves her. Inspired by Bob Marley's one-love vision and social consciousness and the musical ethos of roots rock, I-chèle and the Circle of Light generate a soul-searching, soul-grooving dance revolution.



- Eugene Weekly


"I-Chèle & The Circle of Light"

I-Chèle & The Circle Of Light are one of THE most happening reggae bands in the Pacific Northwest underground music scene. Along with their sex appeal, charm and down right funk, comes a smoothly woven blend of sultry seductress vocals, deep rhythm, and outrageous harmonies. I-Chèle & The Circle Of Light have performed up and down the West Coast. From The Oregon Country Fair to Hempfest. They have been known to draw the "perfect" environment ... - www.bigupradio.com


Discography

Daughters of Zion - 1997
Salon D' Esoterica (Liquid Love) - 2007

Photos

Bio

Intoxicating vocals woven around deep drum and bass rhythms; this is the essence of I-chèle & The Circle of Light. With a sensuous, passionate flair, I-chèle creates her own blend of reggae, highly influenced by Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, and Sade, just to name a few. Her positive and up-lifting message shows respect for the power of roots rock reggae and the nyabingi rhythms, and her presence captivates audiences of all ages.

I-chèle grew up in New York City and was trained in theater and dance at the NYC School of Performing Arts. She traveled the world before settling down on the West Coast, where she has grown a steady fan base. Her music is aired on community radio stations all over the United States and South America.

The Circle of Light is comprised of some of the Northwest's best musicians, and was the backing band for the Northwest Showcase at the 2006 NW World Reggae Festival.

I-chèle & The Circle of Light have just finished their newest album, "Salon d 'Esoterica (Liquid Love)," which was produced by reggae legend Vince Black. Black has played guitar for many legendary groups, including Black Uhuru, Wailing Souls, Dennis Brown, Prezident Brown, Sister Carol, Dub Syndicate, Andrew Tosh, and many more, and can also often be seen performing on stage with I-chèle.