ALBUM REVIEW: The Baghdaddies – Bykerumba | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Released: 25.05.18






Twenty-two years ago, music changed forever.  It wasn’t the formation of Linkin Park, Sum 41, Groove Armada or even Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.  It wasn’t even the inception of *yawn* Coldplay.  No, in 1996 five founding fathers bore the bouncing Baghdaddy baby.  The men in charge back then were the incredible bassist and deviously minded Peter Maynard, sadly no longer with us, along with Paul Ruddick (sax and vocals), Andy Dalton (drums), Nigel Kirkpatrick (trumpet) and Ziad Jabero (guitar/trombone).  The band has changed since then, with Nik Alevroyiannis bouncing sticks off unpronounceable drums with a hat on, and Paul Susans bringing his massive sousaphone and less massive bass; nobody could replace Pete, but Paul is about as Baghdaddy as they come*.  As their latest album Bykerumba drops, jumps up, drops, jumps up and dances around, the now fully (im)mature offspring of musical genius and international exploration has once again created a behemoth-ridden dance-fest of a Balkan inspired Latin-folk-ska-punk-funk-rap trunk of thoughtful, political and perfectly observed tracks. 

I think it was Zappa who asked whether humour belonged in music, and as he well knew, yes it bloody does. Bykerumba follows in the tradition of the ‘Daddies in that each track is packed full of lyrics that tickle the funny bone while also packing a powerful political punch. I’m reminded of The Specials in that respect, and the message is no more potent than in bombastic track Guns, which is a funky, slow rap beat about the perpetuation of the international arms market. It is deep, but you’ll still be bopping as you listen to it, which is an excellent use of subliminal party politics (and I mean party).

Things to look out for and enjoy on the Newcastle band’s new album include, but are not restricted to: the PHAT liquid bass to kick off Wor Kids; some scintillating sax riffs from be-bearded fascist fighter Paul Ruddick; general horn triumphs most expertly portrayed by Mr Nigel Kirkpatrick on his T-rump; the multi-vocalists, who find that unmistakable beauty somewhere between piss-taking, sweet melodicity and magical eminence (especially the rapped bits). Finally, there are some instrumental surprises, like at the inception of Om Boor, which also makes excellent use of echo and Ziad’s metallic guitar. 

It’s a complete mystery to me that these guys aren’t world famous. This is another barnstorm-busting megathon, easily slotting into the Baghdaddy canon of albums classed under ‘epiphany’, and not just the first time you hear them. I implore you to work your way through their entire back catalogue, buy Bykerumba.


*so much so that in the print mag muggins here had him pegged as an original Daddy, despite him being in short trousers at the time!  He must just look older than he is, sorry guys!

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