Rhythms from reggae roots 

Mishka delivers delicious Atlantic Caribbean concoction on debut album, Above The Bones

click to enlarge Soulful Acoustics Mishka brings his brand of roots reggae to Whistler this weekend. - Photo by Jason Hart
  • Soulful Acoustics Mishka brings his brand of roots reggae to Whistler this weekend. Photo by Jason Hart

Who: Mishka
When: Sunday, March 1, doors at 8:30 p.m.
Where: Garfinkel's
Admission: $10 in advance at Billabong, Katmandu & The Hub

Pop this CD in the player and prepare to relax - let the laidback waves and rhythms wash over you, and unwind to the sound of Mishka, an innovative new voice of the reggae realm.

You see, a series of unique life experiences has added a distinct layer of depth to Mishka's music. Raised by a Bermudian father and Canadian mother - both also unique musical souls - on a 40-foot sailboat for a formative 15 years, the artist had access to a wealth of cultures and experiences, though he can't say exactly how his remarkable upbringing has shaped him as a musician.

"I don't have any other perspective but my own," he said thoughtfully. "But I try to. Maybe that's why I make music, to try and see something else. You only know what you know because that's who you are."

His nomadic childhood allowed him to integrate a wide range of international influences into his music, contributing to the wizened lessons in his lyrics.

"My big sister is also a musician, so she used to play violin and guitar when I was growing up, so there was always music around," he explained.

He first got his hands on a tape player at the age of 10, and thus began his love affair with reggae, listening to the beats of Roxy Music, Juluka, Burning Spear and Bob Marley. Today, he still hasn't moved far from the genre, stating that the "consciousness" of the political and spiritual messages of the music still speak to him.

"I think it's like medicine, you know, and I can keep my own consciousness alive with it," he explained. "... It's really like a healing process and survival for myself."

As a young adult, Mishka threw himself into his music, crafting thoughtful lyrics that successfully tread the fine line between preaching and provoking thought. In the late '90s, between playing the occasional live gig, he finally began recording his own demos on tape recorders and released his first album in the UK in 1999.

"It kind of took off from there," Mishka said.

But he got his big break through an unusual twist of fate, when well-known actor Matthew McConaughey heard his blend of roots reggae in 2000.

"He found the music like any fan would, you know. He stumbled upon it - a friend of his had it or something, and he heard the first album and he loved it," Mishka said.

Mishka's soulful sound seemingly struck a chord with the actor, who searched for the elusive musician for almost five years before finally tracking him down at the House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. The two artists immediately formed a creative bond, and McConaughey eventually launched his own label, j.k. livin, with Mishka as the first signed artist.

"I happened to be working on an album at the time and he asked if I would like to work with him, because he was interested in trying to get the music out to as many people as possible," Mishka said.

Now, that working relationship has produced an impressive 11-track album, Above the Bones, which includes a special title track.

"My wife wrote the lyrics, I wrote the music," Mishka explained. "I love the lyrics because it's a poem that she wrote that I love, it has a lot of meaning to me."

Though he doesn't have a distinct home base today, over the past five years he has spent a considerable amount of time in Canada, most recently touring with Bedouin Soundclash. And he's just kicked off a Canadian tour to promote Above The Bones, which was released last Tuesday. Whistler is listed as one of his stops on the tour, along with a showcase at South by Southwest and Canadian Music Week. The album has already reached the top spot on the Billboard reggae charts, and if you're a Jimmy Kimmel fan, you probably caught the musician's appearance on the show last week.

Mishka has been to Whistler before on holiday, but this will be the first time he's been here to perform, though he often plays in other ski towns, like Aspen and Vail. At the Whistler gig, special guests DJ Phroh, Kostaman and the Good Vibrations, Ruffian Royale and The Dirty Heads will also perform.

TWSSF concert lineup announced
It may be a bit early yet, but the 14th annual Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival is on the horizon, and organizers have just announced a few of the musicians that will be taking the stage during the free outdoor concert series.

Metric is returning as part of a three-week tour playing a limited number of gigs to promote their newest album, Fantasies. DJ Z-Trip, who has opened for the Rolling Stones, will play for the festival's finale. Also on the roster are Ozomatli, an eight-piece Grammy Award-winning band that blends Latin, hip hop, funk and reggae; Ten Second Epic, an Edmonton-based rock group; and The Stills, a rock band from Montreal that recently visited Whistler to promote their latest album.

Calling all sucka MCs...
On Friday, Feb. 27, come in from the cold to Merlin's and start the party right before the 12th annual Showcase Showdown kicks off. Ready your senses for an evening of live music, courtesy of Nobody Really, Godfrey and DJ Phroh, plus a host of undiscovered talents who will be stepping up to the mic all night long to showcase their MC skills, vying for cash prizes and bragging rights. The Showcase Showdown After Party MC Battle starts at Merlin's at 9 p.m. $5 cover.

Readers also liked…

Latest in Arts

More by Holly Fraughton

© 1994-2019 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation