Le Trois Mailletz in Paris France was the place to be on October 22nd, the day that the Bethany and Rufus Roots Quartet released their new CD "Live Ŕ Fip" in Europe. Why? Because on that night at Le Trois Mailletz (a local "cave" where Nina Simone used to play to rehearse for big shows), the Bethany and Rufus Roots Quartet initiated their CD release with a live performance.
The quartet released two videos from that night, the first being "Oh, Death" a high energy number where Bethany Yarrow's strong and passionate voice was accented and matched by Yacouba Moumouni's vocals which mixed, intensified, and finally climaxed in a most satisfying manner. Backed by the masterful cello playing of Rufus Cappadocia and the rhythmic beats of 'Bonga' Jean-Baptiste, the performance was dynamic and powerful. I can personally speak to the impact of their performance, as I witnessed it firsthand a few weeks later when they played Joe's Pub in New York on November 17th. All I can say is that I was absolutely mesmerized and it was utterly stunning.
The second video was a presentation clip with brief performances of "If I Had My Way," "Mary Mack," and "Sail Away Ladies". While not full presentations of the songs, the enthusiasm, both on the part of the quartet and the audience is obvious. Viewers will immediately feel a connection to it and be drawn into a feeling of empowerment because of the sheer vigor exuded by the Quartet.
The Bethany & Rufus Roots Quartet's "Live Ŕ Fip" CD's strength lies not just in each artist's singular talents, but in their capacity to combine their abilities in a way that complements each member of the group to bring about a sound that is unique and groundbreaking, while incorporating concerns about global injustices, violence, and inequalities. "Live Ŕ Fip" is the product of a world where people and societies are interconnected, converging, and in turmoil.
One reviewer described "Live Ŕ Fip," as "like nothing you've ever heard before. Styles from everywhere and anywhere come together seamlessly. One hears distinctly Afro-Cuban rhythms pop under driving bass lines, folksy lyrics and screaming flute. "Death Don't Have No Mercy" is particularly characteristic of this mixing and meshing. The cello is inescapably funky, the bongos complexify the rhythms, the flute line seethes with fiery reverberance, and Bethany's vocals lament the world in a way that only American folk music can." I totally agree.
Although "Live Ŕ Fip" was released only in Europe, you can purchase a copy from the online retailer fnac.com