Toussaint & Buru Style
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Toussaint & Buru Style

Band World Reggae


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"Funked Into Oblivion"

Funked Into Oblivion

It's like a bomb went off at the Main Pub this past Friday; and Hartford's becoming a respected name in bluegrass, of all things

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
By Dan Barry

Toussaint Liberator & Buru Style's total nuclear funk eradicates the ego and leaves only an ass-shaking, joy-filled husk behind. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the wake of their show at the Main Pub this past Friday, people were showing up to work drunk, high, and smelling like sex. Damn.

The humongous band specialized in the kind of reggae-soul-funk blend usually associated with Boston. It's rare to see around these parts; as far as local peers go, only Northampton's Leah Randazzo Group comes to mind, and even they place more emphasis on jazz style. Buru Style's stabbity horns and minimalist guitar get huge mileage out of very small phrases and ideas. Meanwhile, Toussaint Liberator (who used to front international icons Soulive) sings, toasts, chants, and generally exhibits effortless magnetism. (Favorite lyric: "I'm a soldier, travelin' through time/My mission is to open up the eyes of the blind.") And Bill Carbone quietly masterminded the entire performance from behind the drumkit. He was always counting the next song off before the applause has subsided for the previous one, never losing his cool in the face of the most turbulent funk.

It was wonderful to see the Main Pub so thoroughly packed for the show, since large band sizes can often make touring cost-prohibitive. The Buru crew was able to assemble their audience out of disparate groups. College students (they have a huge Wesleyan following), hipsters, and the Main Pub's typical "insurance exec by day, hippie by night" crowd all found something to love in the music. And it's a small wonder, considering the way the band seamlessly shifted from genre to genre. From lover's rock, to dub, to James Brown soul, Buru's style was pluralistic while remaining black-centric. If you want to see what the fuss is about, you can catch Buru Style locally on Nov. 20 and Dec. 11, when they'll be at Middletown's awesome Fishbone Café. - The Hartford Advocate

"Ex-Soulive singer Toussaint Liberator bounces back with Buru Style"

Ex-Soulive singer Toussaint Liberator bounces back with Buru Style

By Christopher Blagg
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Getting axed by your band mates doesn’t qualify as career advancement.
But while the wounds from his split with the funk band Soulive are still fresh, Toussaint Liberator is already bouncing back stronger than ever.
Best known around Boston as a reggae singer, Toussaint has a crack new band, Buru Style (spearheaded by longtime Boston fixture Bill Carbone on drums), which plays the Middle East on Wednesday. He also has an organized vision, and perhaps most importantly, a burning motivation to prove himself.
Up until he joined in 2006, Soulive was an instrumental trio. With Toussaint as their full-time vocalist, Soulive recorded a critically lauded record on the revamped Stax label, “No Place Like Soul,” and toured the world. He was understandably crushed in 2007 when the band decided to go back to its original format.
“It ended because, in my estimation, they wanted a pop record that flew off the shelves immediately,” Toussaint said from his home in Holyoke. “And it didn’t fly off the shelves immediately. I don’t think it was because the music wasn’t good.”
Despite the disheartening setback, Toussaint can now look back on the Soulive venture with fresh eyes.
“It was an experience that really helped me and clarified what I could be doing,” he said. “It made me more of a complete vocalist. It raised my business acumen and it also raised my visibility. All those things are very positive.”
The 30-year-old Toussaint harbors little resentment toward his ex-band mates. In fact, he’s thinking about reaching out to his old running buddies.
“I love those guys,” he said. “They’re great musicians. Things maybe didn’t work out on a business level, but the reality is that I look forward to working with them in the near future.”
There’s reason for the former Bostonian to feel optimistic. Judging from the quality of his recent EP, “Toussaint the Liberator featuring Buru Style,” getting jettisoned from Soulive may be the best thing that could have happened to him. His versatile band jumps easily from dubbed-out reggae explorations to hopped-up funk and soul romps, all anchored by Toussaint’s charismatic tenor.
“For years I’ve been pegged as a reggae singer,” Toussaint said. “With Soulive I was able to prove to myself, if not everyone else, that I could do more than just sing over a skank. With Buru Style, you can’t say it’s reggae, you can’t say it’s funk or soul. It’s a blend of all those things and it’s all original.
“I know people think I’m just going to fall off ’cause I don’t have Soulive now,” he said. “I was down for a year, but now I’m determined to prove to myself and to people that I’m a serious force with my music. I’m not going anywhere.” - The Boston Herald


- Toussaint the Liberator, featuring Buru Style, available at all online retailers!
- Toussaint Liberator with Soulive, No Place Like Soul. Stax Records, 2007
- Toussaint and the China Band, Love the Almighty High, Naked Ear Records, 2005
- Toussaint with Red Pill, Live at the Western Front, 2003
- Buru Style (instrumentals), The Crab, 2009

- with SOULIVE: “Mary,” “Callin,” “Comfort”
- with BURU STYLE: “Lovin You,” “Sit and Talk About It”



After years touring regionally and internationally with Soulive, China Band and the Trama Unit, Toussaint has now added his crushingly soulful voice to the dub/funk unit Buru Style. Together they perform a mash-up of original reggae, funk and soul that is devastating audiences in the Northeast.
While with Soulive, Toussaint’s voice and songwriting matured immensely. Now cool, calm, and collected, Toussaint is singing some of the sweetest melodies to grace the air in years.
Live they take no prisoners. Tunes arrive in seamless succession like a volley of punches from Tyson’s prime. The horns jab, the riddims attack the body, and Toussaint’s the knockout blow; no stage is safe! Nor are studios, as the forthcoming studio album will prove.