FAT FREDDY'S DROP
Fat Freddy’s Drop are a seven-piece musical collective from Wellington, New Zealand, whose unique fusion of digital dub and Polynesian soul has established them as the most successful homegrown group in NZ history – 2005 international debut album Based On A True Story sold over a 100,000 copies in NZ (population 4 million) alone.
And it’s not just New Zealanders who have warmed to the band: esteemed tastemaker Charlie Gillett has championed the band and declared vocalist Joe Dukie as “the best soul singer currently working” while Based On A True Story won the Worldwide Album Of The Year at the Radio 1 Gilles Peterson Worldwide Music Awards 2005 (as voted for by fans that tune in to his BBC show). 2006 found the band embarking on a major European tour; this included selling out the Brixton Academy, winning the only encore at Barcelona’s Scanner Festival and playing triumphantly at festivals in Portugal, Berlin and Paris.
Named after the cat in The Furry Freak Brothers cartoons that inspired so many stoned chuckles, FFD grew out of a loose collective of Wellington musicians experimenting with reggae, dub, funk, jazz, soul and club rhythms alongside a desire to connect with Maori and Polynesian roots. From this scene arose such noted bands as Wai, Trinity Roots and The Black Seeds. FFD rose to be scene leaders through their imaginative gift for melody, shifting rhythms and vocalist Joe Dukie’s soulful, questioning vocal.
FFD maintain playing live is their true forte and their concerts have won them a loyal following – the rich, slow building grooves, fat layers of brass (trumpet-trombone-saxophone), good vibes and unique South Pacific identity creates a special flavour: across two-to-three hour live marathons Fat Freddys create a sonic unity between band and audience.
“What's great about live performance,” says band producer Fitchie, “is that it belongs to those in the audience on that night, it's a one off experience”.
Fat Freddy's Drop website
Album Review on bbc.co.uk/music
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