Hailing from the Island of St Croix, Midnite is
one of the most promising roots reggae bands of the millennium. They are vanguards of
conscious reggae music who represent the King's and Queen's music to the fullness of Jah.
Midnite's profound and innovative lyrics are sincere and deeply rooted to presenting the
other half of the story. Their cd recordings and live performances will have reggae and
non reggae listeners open to the messages they bring.
Lead singer Vaughn Benjamin's electrifying voice seems an amalgamation of many great
voices in reggae--soulful, chanting, edgy. Vaughn's potent lyrical style and his brother
Ron's exquisite keyboards and musical directorship form the nucleus of this musical
quintet, which includes fellow St. Croix players Dion Hopkins (drums), Philip Merchant
(bass) and Abijah (guitar). Midnite weaves the cultural lyrics of "old school"
roots music with modern day experiences to create a unique listening encounter. Reggae -
naked and raw is an apt description for Midnite's "classic roots" musical style,
in which they forgo the frills of extensive remixes, overdubbing and other musical
Unpolished is the suitably named title of their debut album which includes such
classics as "Don't Move", "Mama Africa", and "Love the Life You
Live". Originally released in 1997, while the band was located in Washington, D.C.,
this crucial album has recently been made widely available on Rastafaria Recordings.
In 1999, Midnite linked up with Wildchild! Records for their second release Ras Mek
Peace. Incredibly, this album was recorded using only two channels and was mastered
without any reverb, filtering, compression or equalization. Songs like
"Hieroglyphics", in which graffiti is likened to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics,
showcase the intelligent songwriting that pervades all of Midnite's works.
Following the release of Ras Mek Peace, Midnite returned to live in St. Croix so that
they could work with the local musicians and make recordings at their African Roots Lab
without any outside interference. The fruits of these labours can be found on Jubilees of
Zion, which was released on their own independent Midnite Roots record label. The
expansive, hypnotic rhythms continue, alongside the messages of peace, universal
brotherhood, and cultural resistance to Babylon.
Midnite explode in live performances with sets that often exceed 3 hours. Their
vigorous, weighty sound, driven by the punchy bass lines creates a vibe that penetrates
straight to the heart. Midnite is one of the most exciting roots bands in the world today.
They have garnered a huge listenership in St. Croix, St. Thomas & Puerto Rico, as well
as creating a strong "underground" following in America. By breaking all the
rules, Midnite is setting a new standard. Armed with a firm foundation in Jah Rastafari,
their natural talents, and a strong and uncompromising musical vision, Midnite champions
an old-school sound that is right on the cutting edge of modern roots music.
- Mara Weiss & Daniel Frankston
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