Currently, holding the reins of this sound are Nairobi, an internationally recognised group who in two years have achieved figures often difficult to attain in the world of albums. Mad Professor was the producer behind ' Wu Wei', the debut album in which Lee 'Scratch Perry' collaborated on two tracks with his indubitably shamanic voice. It's a good moment for the group, who have also just participated at the Glastonbury festival, becoming the first Argentine group to play at one of the 'greatest of all European festivals'.
We spoke to front-man and alma mater of the group, Ivi Lee. How did you contact Mad Professor?
Through MySpace. He responded, saying we should get together in Buenos Aires, since he was going to be there. He heard the album and understood that we were an independent band who weren’t able to pay royalties, but he asked for the tracks. He started to work on them and began sending me mixes. When he came this year, we invited him to some live performances and seeing us play he was fully able to capture the sound of the band. He told us we had to mix in England and two months later that’s where I went, along with George (the guitarist). Just two months before I had started sending messages to Lee Perry and before we left his manager got in contact with us, saying Perry was interested in collaborating.
Working with Lee Perry was like a journey within a journey, isn’t that right?
It was crazy, because being in England gave us the chance to go to his home-studio in a village in Switzerland. We took him a piece of palo santo, because like him we are into the Macumba (meaning African rituals, often religious) and in this we connected. We went to the studio where we tested the sound and then he told us to leave for a while he began to prepare. There I was, standing in a snow-covered park in the middle of the mountains waiting for Lee Perry to invite me in to record! We recorded a take and he liked it and later we asked to sing on another too and he did. He became a part of the band, as if he’d always known us.
What does Nairobi bring to local Dub?
What if I change the question… what does Nairobi bring to world Dub? We like the local stuff and we play in all neighbourhoods. At the same time, however, the idea is to travel constantly, going further and further. We have so much music in our heads, ready to develop, that I believe the experience of crossing frontiers feeds the song-creating force of the band.
How does Wu Wei sound?
It’s very important to transmit energy and vibration and that you can tell we’re a Latin group, even if the rhythms we play on this album aren’t exactly typical. In Dub, classically you have these quite bland themes that go on for seven minutes but with us we play hard tracks lasting about a minute and a half.