Shamans of Sound Prepares for Single Release Show at Jammin’ Java Next Friday [Interview/Single Download]

Shamans of Sound is a brand new project featuring veterans of the DC scene coming together to share their love of reggae music. Composed of members from bands including Nappy Riddem, Incwell, Dub City Renegades, Awthentik, Feel Free and Tropic Sol, their sound derives from multiple genres including reggae and dub to hip-hop, r&b and dancehall. Friday, June 1 marks the release of their debut single, "Shamans of Sound" which can be found at their Bandcamp site today for a free download. DC Music Review spoke with the band recently in anticipation of their single release party  at Jammin' Java opening for Pacific Dub next friday. 

Shamans Of Sound

Navisa Hunter - Vocals
Romane Walters - Vocals
Joshua Dorton - Vocals, Keys, Melodica
Patrick Cheng (Pat) - Bass
Alexander Vladimirovich (Vlad) - Guitar
Pietro Smedley - Keys
Kevin Raitz - Drums
Billy Reed - Percussion Instruments
Alan Kayanan - Percussion Instruments

In Memory Of:
Nathanael Cook - Vocals, Sax ( RIP)

DC Music Review (DCMR): Why did you decide to create this project? Can you explain the early origins of the band and what brought you all together? 
Navisa: The name of the band used to be One Tribe. When a few band members moved away, Nathaneal Cook (band leader) decided it would be the perfect time to start brand new and recruit local musicians. After a few cloudy sessions, the band came up with the name Shamans of Sound. Unfortunately, Nate passed away not long after that. Since then, the band developed a very tight bond through our love and adoration for reggae and the strong urge to create original music. We also wanted to continue to share Nate’s message of love and unity.

Pat: The current members are Vlad on guitar, Kevin Raitz on Drums, Josh “Pickle” Dorton and Pietro Smedley on keys, Billy Reed and Alan Kayanan on Percussions and me on bass. We also have Navisa Hunter who is singing on our first single (dropping June 1) and Romain Walters as our other vocalist – he’ll be featured on some of our future releases. 

DCMR: You all have been involved with bands previously. What is the goal for Shamans of Sound? How do you view your path forward? 
Vlad: One of our goals is to work with as many vocalists as we can. We want to pay tribute to the Jamaican style of producing tracks and have multiple vocalists do their thing on the same riddim. 

Pat: We love that everyone in the group plays with other bands – it exposes the band (Shamans) to different circles, it exposes the musicians to different styles of music and to different strategies of the business side and it makes it a LOT easier to find people to collaborate and jam with!

Kevin: We all love playing music so it’s hard to give up outlets that let us express that desire, so for now I don’t foresee any of us taking a hiatus from other projects unless it becomes necessary.

DCMR: I know your sound is labelled as reggae but there can be a lot of different styles of reggae music. How does your sound differentiate from other reggae? What do you hope to achieve musically?

Kevin: Reggae is always morphing and expanding, just as all genres of music are. I think as reggae musicians it’s our goal to pay our homage to the roots of the music; keeping the classical elements, while at the same time elevating that original inspiration with other elements from our own personal music backgrounds... stretching the confines of what people consider “traditional reggae.”

Navisa: Our style is a evolution of reggae music. We all have a deep appreciation of roots reggae music. So we keep the elements of the righteous, positive and eye opening lyrics. Our instrumentals include a lot of elements of different music styles. It's a recipe of reggae with hints of jazz, R&B, ambient, world music,etc... We will always give you something new. 

DCMR: Shamans of Sound as a band name has a certain vibe to it. Can you explain the origins of the name?

Billy: We can explain but you should drink this tea instead.

DCMR: Does Shamans of Sound aim to focus solely on musical goals or are you trying to bring more of a message to the scene? What can fans expect at a live Shamans of Sound experience?

Pat: Since we plan on working with multiple vocalists, I hope that our music properly reflects the social climate we’re living in. These are some pretty interesting times, I’m sure people are going to be reading and studying about everything that we’re experiencing right now and we would love to create a soundtrack for future generations to listen to while they read about the ridiculous stuff happening today. 

Get your tickets to see Shamans of Sound on Friday, June 1 at Jammin' Java here!

Cover image art by Bruce Hunter. Graphic design by Joe Nicolai,

About the author

Josh Brick

Josh Brick is amongst the most prolific photographers in the Washington, DC area. On any given night Josh can be found literally at any venue in and around the Washington, Maryland, and Virginia landscape.