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Awards for World Music 2007 - Americas
Ben Harper

Ben Harper album cover
Californian born singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Ben Harper crosses boundaries in American music. Harper was born in 1969 to an African-American father and Russian Jewish mother; he grew up immersed in blues, folk, reggae and rock. Releasing his debut album Welcome To The Cruel World in 1992 found Harper offering a largely acoustic album. In sharp contrast Harper’s next album Fight For Your Mind was a raging slice of blues-rock that recalled Jimi Hendrix at the height of his powers.

Harper’s ability to blend the raw with the gentle, matched with his considerable guitar prowess (he is a master of the Weissenborn guitar that is played seated), has made him one of the world’s top concert draws and in France and Australia his popularity approaches superstar status. Harper’s never been content to rest on his laurels and his fluid musical abilities have found him exploring many areas of music – the one that attracted the most acclaim was There Will Be A Light, his 2004 collaboration album with legendary gospel quartet The Blind Boys Of Alabama. There Will Be A Light pushed gospel into new areas while bringing Harper into contact with the very roots of his musical style. The album went on to win two Grammy awards and put Harper on a world tour with The Blind Boys – their live prowess was captured on an exceptional DVD Live At The Apollo.

Harper returned in 2006 with a double CD of original material Both Sides Of The Gun. Harper claims he was so inspired by his experience of working with The Blind Boys that the songs flowed out of him – none more so than Black Rain, which he wrote about Hurricane Katrina and its tragic aftermath.

"I had to make the picture as clear as the event," says Harper of the string-powered slice of soul. "Because if that can happen here - that disregard for human life - and we allow that to happen to the citizens of this country, then all bets are off. And if there's no justice in day-to-day living, there's for damn sure gonna be some justice in my music."

Garth Cartwright

Ben Harper's website
Ben's MySpace page
Read other people's comments then Tell us what you think:

Calum from Troon
First discovered Ben in 2003 when Diamonds On The Inside came out. Seen him live 10 times in last few years in 4 different countries. His music is so unique. I saw him at Radio City Music Hall in NY in September, they played alot off the new album Lifeline, wonderful show, just gets better every time! His guitar playing and singing is a sight to behold. He is one of the most down to earth and honest artists out there i think. I'm hooked for life!

Tom London
Ben Harper is amazing I discovered it in America and it is so new and the style is so unique

jenny from essex
i first discovered ben harper at cambridge folk festival,many years ago, where an artist called eliza carthy covered one of songs! ever since then the meaning of music too me has changed grately! if an artist like him can make the music and lyrics so emotional, meaningfull and talented its hard to understand why every one cant!!! x superb x

mala from seychelles
i`ve discovered ben while i was in france ..he has an urge for freedom ,mysticism..and he explores the human condition, our emotions, feelings , things that make us grand and small at the same time ..his new album ,both sides of the gun is just ben-styled ...bravo

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