Icon Eye: Jamaica Dreaming

Director Tony Lowe Captures Reggae Legends The Congos In the Studio

Los Angeles-based psychedelic noisemakers Sun Araw, a.k.a. Cameron Stallones, and M. Geddes Gengras lay down some 21st-century dubplates with Jamaican roots veterans The Congos in Brooklyn filmmaker Tony Lowe’s new feature, Icon Eye. Part of record label RVNG International’s series pairing contemporary artists with their forebears, Lowe’s film is a vivid and dreamlike depiction of the Californian duo recording with the reggae legends at their studio in Portmore, Jamaica, over the space of ten days. Best known for the Lee Perry-produced Heart of the Congos, the island’s foremost harmonizing vocal group formed in the mid-70s around tenor Roydel “Ashanti Roy” Johnson and falsetto Cedric Myton. “They play some different sounds, a different type of melody,” says Johnson of collaborating with the young Americans. The resultant album Icon Give Thanks juxtaposes Stallones and Gengras’s polyrhythms and sonic bursts with The Congos’ gorgeous harmonies and deep-rooted spiritualism. “The Congos taught us not to take any moment for granted,” says Lowe. “The patois koan ‘everyting is everyting’ sums it up beautifully. Being alive is magical—I hope my film can be a vessel towards living with that awareness.”

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Conversations (1)

  • argot
    Good to see genuine artistry represented on NOWNESS. The plethora of consumption brands can get suffocating and, worse, be seen as predictable content. Kudos
    • Posted By argot
    • March 30, 2012 at 4:00PM
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