Nahko and Medicine for the People at Electric BallroomCultureMusicLive music
World music collective Nahko and Medicine for the People are a catalyst for social change and progress. After a successful London debut last summer, frontman Nahko Bear and his rhythm entourage returned to the city last night with their pleasant and nourishing music.
A spirit of community between the band and the audience permeated the Electric Ballroom in Camden. The energy was set from the start as Bear appeared with his band under a deep purple gaze ready to take the plunge in a marathon set of their popular songs and new material – and triggered an early “happy birthday” chant from the crowd. Bear prides himself on his multicultural background (born in Oregon with a mix of Apache, Puerto Rican and Filipino heritage), and this was reflected through the eclectic mix of musical colours and flavours he and his “family” splashed on the venue.
The legacy of Bob Marley and the idea of bridging peoples and cultures were embraced by the band and the “tribe members” present, particularly in the inspiring lyrics and rainbow-coloured harmonies and rhythms of Aloha Ke Akua, speaking of the collective’s desire to take action, promote positivity and bring greater amity between differing cultures. The band continued to heal the souls of the audience with their musical remedies, notably in Wash It Away with Bear’s troubadour vocals, the tranquil world beat and folk guitar backdrop and above all the poignant lyrical verses about community and motivation.
The tribe also treated the crowd with a few intimate numbers, a highlight being a midset medley of hit songs (including Hello and Can’t Feel My Face among others), featuring the evocative, soulful vocals of drummer Justin Chittams alongside Bear’s. The lively atmosphere rocketed to stratospheric heights as Bear and his sidekicks danced through an electrifying medley (from Warrior People to No Diggity – with a remarkable flugelhorn solo from Max Ribner – Thrift Shop and Stand Up) and the passionate crowd stirred up an anthemic atmosphere in Black As Night, singing and jumping in harmony.
The big-hearted personality of Nahko and Medicine for the People will surely be a tonic for more living souls and will encourage others to join them. Despite the prolonged two-hour set at times feeling tedious, their capacity to tell honest stories and ideas through wonderful music is unmatched.
Photos: Zak Macro
For further information about Nahko and Medicine for the People and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Black As Night here: