Roby Mathew

Roby Mathew

BandPopWorld

Born in Zambia, schooled in India, and living in Colorado, Roby Mathew is a man of no country and every country. His music brings in influences ranging from African rhythms to Texas blues to jam-band reverie, while weaving a thematic thread centered on humanity's thirst for justice and redemption.

Biography

As an Indian born under the Zambian sun, Mathew was raised amidst revolution and political strife on the plains of Africa. He watched as millions of Africans fought for their political freedom and became deeply inspired by the likes of Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, and Mahatma Ghandi. Their message of freedom and triumph through "the struggle" would come to characterize his music and become a major theme in his life.

At age 12, Mathew left Africa to attend a Christian boarding school in South India where he experienced for the first time his need for God. It was here that he would come to develop two things that would shape the foundation of his life irrevocably; his love of music and a deep faith. Mathew began singing as part of the school’s praise and worship group and subsequently formed a rock band with classmates. This afforded him the opportunity to develop his singing and performing skills. It was here that he picked up his first guitar and began to explore a place where his passion and creativity met.

Mathew left the comfortable, spiritually adept confines of his boarding school to further pursue his education. He landed in Florida, where his passion for music became all-consuming. Without a guitar to call his own, he relied on the generosity of a friend to provide him with one to hone his craft. They would jam together for hours in the dorms, on stoops, and in hallways around the campus. Mathew eventually began to venture beyond the campus to test his guitar chops at local coffee shops and small outdoor venues. He was heavily influenced by Dave Matthews, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, devoting copious amounts of time learning their songs. However, it wasn’t until his last year of college that he would begin to draw on his personal experiences as a child in Africa and an adolescent growing up in India, to find his voice and begin to write his own music.

He began working on his demo in earnest and in 2000 moved to Denver, Colorado to pursue his career. He continued to write and completed his demo CD, The Wanderer’s Raag in 2003. With songs such as Poets and Lies, Super Power and Long Walk To Freedom, the album was born out of his reconciliation between a simple spiritual life in Africa and India and the fast paced corporate society that he now found himself a part of. This process also birthed within Mathew a strong desire to develop his faith and to serve God by serving those less fortunate. He took trips to Mexico to help build houses for homeless fishermen and setup clinics for the ill. He also enrolled in seminary and began work towards a degree in Theology. Mathew began to lead praise and worship music at his church and started work on a new uplifting album with more of a spiritual emphasis. This work culminated in Roby Mathew’s first studio album entitled Uncovered.

Combining insights gleaned from a life lived around the world; this diverse, politically and spiritually charged album fans the fire of freedom and peace at a time when the world could use a bit of both. African Son is a tribute to a continent and people that are both the inspiration behind, and the reason for his music. The bright arpeggiated guitars are reminiscent of Ray Phiri’s guitar work on Paul Simon’s Graceland album and the deep backing vocals evoke the memory of the powerful harmonies of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. In Be Still, Mathew expertly blends delay-laden guitars, rich vocal harmonies and simple, heartfelt lyrics inspired by the Psalms of the Old Testament. In his most poignant song, Beautiful Fire, the intensely honest lyrics find hope and redemption in moments of deepest hurt.

Today, Mathew continues to define his sound and add elements from sources as diverse as traditional African percussion to modern rock and blues guitar riffs. In his quest to expand his sonic horizons, he's managed to craft a sound that is as beautiful as it is unique and wholly his own. Every song is an emotional journey through its subject; filled with exploration and insight that culminates in a lasting feeling that you've just been inspired or comforted by a close friend.

Lyrics

African Son

Written By: Roby Mathew

I rise up and feel the sun wash me over
A southern son of a nation or what’s left over
Grasslands as far as the eye can see
A wind that says you’re alive and free

A thunder that roars, and a smoke that thunders free

Amandla Awethu, feels like heaven to me
Amandla Awethu, Nkosi Sikelele
Amandla Awethu, Africa rise and see
Amandla Awethu, feels like home to me

Passions of millions on a wind-swept field
A story of tragedy that time doesn’t heal
As the sun sets over this beautiful land
I fall on my knees and raise my hands.

In His Arms

Written By: Roby Mathew

She sits by the river, bound for the ocean
But tethered to His grace
The champagne flows, we gather in throves
To wish her well, and set her on her way

And she will never leave His eyes, though the waves may rise

She sails on, like a river to the sea, like His love constantly
She sails on, never questioning the love, the comes flowing from above
She sails on.

Morning comes with the light of Your love
To touch their lives, sailing on the wings of a dove
And she will sail across the seven seas
She will sail in His arms, ‘till she finds her destiny

You Are

Written By: Roby Mathew

There’s a piece of me that cries out for the peace from You
There’s a part of me that won’t let me forget about You
There’s a poetry in everything You say or do
And it makes me wonder what I did to deserve this love from You

When it seems like I can’t go on
When the heart feels like a rolling stone

You are the light that finds me, the river that guides me home
You are the rock I stand on, the rhythm that moves my soul

There’s a harmony in the lives we’re living for You
It’s a symphony of our love to You
There’s a story we read that still rings true
Of a Father and a Son and a Life that’s given anew.

Discography

"Uncovered", LP, available on CDBaby.com and iTunes.

Set List

African Son
Be Still
In His Arms
Senzenina
Beautiful Fire
You Are
Crazy

1 hour sets.

Typical covers include, U2, The Samples, Dave Matthews Band, David Crowder Band