Grammy winning musician plays Breck
summit daily news
Most people don’t realize how much African music has influenced nearly every popular music genre, said Chris Berry, a Grammy-winning, international platinum-selling artist. So he created CB-3 (Chris Berry Trio) six months ago “to explore the realms of African rhythms played through and mixed with electronica,” he said.
Born in California and musically steeped in Zimbabwe, Berry fuses Western harmonics with the complex beats of African rhythms. He first fell in love with African music while living in Northern California, where he met a master drummer, who took Berry, then 19 years old, to Africa. Berry studied with the master drummer’s teachers in Africa from 1990 to 2001, on and off. He studied the sacred mbira (an African thumb piano) and wrote controversial lyrics, opposing the tyrannical Zimbabwean regime. Eventually, he had to flee for his safety.
These days, he uses the magic of African rhythms to create very danceable music. He drops beats on the hand drum like it’s an extension of his soul and plays the mbira with precision. His music delves into reggae, dancehall, pop, hip-hop, electronica and blues.
His collaboration with two musicians from Brazilian Girls, Aaron Johnson (current drummer) and Jesse Murphy (original Brazilian Girls bassist) has placed a greater emphasis on the world of electronic, since the band was Grammy nominated for best electronica album in 2009.
“Aaron is one of the best drummers I’ve played with – ever,” Berry said. “(Both musicians) understand groove and how to make it all work.”
Berry says anyone who likes either African music or electronica will dig CB-3.
“We’re not over-the-top with artificially (created) electronic,” he said. “We’ve found a really good balance.”
CB-3’s show also features Michael Kang, of String Cheese Incident. Berry and Kang are best friends, so the tour was a natural fit.
“He’s got a really good understanding about African rhythm and the jam band thing,” Berry said. “He’s very unique. For CB-3, you need to know African grooves, but also be able to open it up and jam it out. He fits that bill.”
Berry is coming from his home in Hawaii to play at three2south Tuesday.
“Last time we played there, it was super-off-the-hook, and I think this will be even better,” Berry said. “And, I’ll be bringing some warm vibes from Hawaii.”
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