The Conviction of the “Brave Warriors”
Solid. Aggressive. Profound. These are only some of the words
that describe the reggae group Gomba Jahbari . Made up of eight
talented musicians—all San Juan natives—this band began taking
its first steps in 1998, when two childhood friends, Carmelo
Romero (drums and lead vocals) and Miguel Lampón ( guitar )
decided to join forces to undertake a musical project based on
the simplicity of rhythm in Jamaican roots reggae. Their main
goal: to rescue Caribbean-style music from the imbalance it
This rescue process took its definitive form with the creation
of the band's first album, Sentémonos (Let's Sit) , which was
independently produced in mid-2003 under their own label, Gomba
Music . This album features 14 tracks charged with humanistic
and social lyrics. “We want to create a revolution within each
person who listens to our music. People should always search for
the positive side of life, but since everything we want that's
good comes with a price, there is no other choice but to fight
for it,” explained Alberto Nieves, guitarist.
Gomba Jahbari , which means “Brave Warrior” in a South African
tribal dialect, features a wealth of influences from diverse
reggae bands that range from the mythical Bob Marley and Peter
Tosh to groups such as ASWAD , Burning Spears and The Itals .
With much effort and dedication, Gomba Jahbari has stood out
successfully within the roots reggae circuit in Puerto Rico ,
keeping active while being embraced by numerous fans and lovers
of the genre.
Given that warm welcome, the band has continued to promote its
ideals with the launch of its new album, titled Convicción
(Conviction) , which came out the first week of February 2005.
Convicción was recorded in 2004 at Elastic Module Lab studios in
Caguas , Puerto Rico, and its mixing took place in Lion Fox
studios in Washington , D.C. under the expertise of Jim Fox ,
who counts Israel Vibrations and Culture among his clients.
13 tracks chock-full of social depth; among these is “Las Tumbas,”
written by Bobby Capó and popularized by songster Ismael Rivera
. The first single being promoted is “Si Tú Me Quieres,” (If You
Love Me), which expresses the sacrifices one is willing to
undergo for a loved one. The album also features six English
tracks and a 16-page booklet with the songs' lyrics.
Convicción 's musical concept maintains a pure and original
roots reggae sound, while also incorporating nuances and rhythms
that go hand in hand with present-day tastes for global music.
Its style is aggressive, with a powerful and unusual rhythm
section. It's not the mellow reggae we're used to listening, but
more like heavy roots.
"This album is a total rebirth. It is the first true album of
Gomba Jahbari . For our first album, we were much more immature
in every aspect, both recording and producing. This time around,
we decided to work with our feet on the ground and do something
good, which this is. We recorded in analog and worked with the
legend that is Jim Fox. Everything was done as God intended
it—very different [from before],” said Carmelo.
Gomba Jahbari formally presented Convicción in its first grand
concert, which took place in March 2005 at the Tito Puente
Amphitheater in San Juan . This event received great support
from the Puerto Rican audience; for the first time, the band
played its album live in its totality.
"This means a consecration—arriving where we've arrived and that
we're here to stay. It's saying ‘Thank you' to people. What we
feel is inexplicable; there are many emotions. The audience's
support is incredible,” explained Carmelo. Besides Carmelo,
Miguel and Alberto, Gomba Jahbari is rounded out by Humberto
Torres (bass), Juan Carlos Sulsona (keyboards), Carlos Souss
(keyboards), Jahaziel García (trumpet), and Misael Clemente
Gomba Jahbari Links:
The Music Of
Gomba Jahbari -