MP3 Chris Velan - Twitter, Buzz, Howl
Smart, wide-eyed folk pop marries conscious reggae and world music influences.
12 MP3 Songs
POP: Folky Pop, REGGAE: Roots Reggae
Chris sings of little things and big things. But whatever the size of his lens, this Montreal-based singer-songwriter has been raising ears with his wide-eyed, reggae-influenced folk-pop. His latest album entitled, Twitter, Buzz, Howl, released in November, 2005, dishes out a collection songs that weave storytelling, social inquiry and a desire to find beauty and meaning in the everyday, mundane and difficult sides of life.
While he grew up listening to just about anything he could play his guitar to, his most indelible music influences came from two, otherwise disparate sources: The singer-songwriter craftsmen such as Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Jackson Browne; and the A-Z of Jamaican artists and bands playing roots reggae in the 70s. After playing in a series of bands through high school and college, Chris and his two brothers formed Equalizer, in 1998 - a seven-piece, original, reggae band that built a strong following in Montreal and earned itself opening slots for big reggae names such as Burning Spear, Michael Rose and Andrew Tosh. Driven by a desire to try and do some good in the world, Chris left Equalizer in 2001 with a law degree in hand to work as a lawyer in the areas of environmental protection and international human rights. But destiny stepped in a year later in 2002 when Chris agreed to accompany his two filmmaker friends to West Africa to act as the musical director for a music-based documentary film project. Entitled, The Refugee All Stars, the film tells the remarkable story of a group of six Sierra Leonean musicians who came together to form a band while living as refugees in the Republic of Guinea. The experience had a profound effect on Chris and reconnected him with his own musical calling. He returned home and soon after recorded his debut solo album, "It''s Not What You Think", which he released independently in 2003. The freshman album marked a return to Chris singer-songwriter roots but his reggae influences lay close to the surface. Containing a re-released version of his underground hit, "Sweet Mary", the album traveled far, making ripples in distant corners of the world.
Chris'' sophomore release, "Twitter, Buzz, Howl", represents the next step in the evolution of his musical sound. Recorded in a make-shift studio that he set up in a barn in the countryside east of Montreal with the help of local musician friends including Sara Johnston of Bran Van 3000 fame, the album confidently delivers smart, charming folk pop with a strong reggae accent. Fueled by an earnest voice and a well-honed sense of dramatic irony, Twitter, Buzz, Howl" takes on themes of social injustice and personal development in a way that articulates the private confusions of many. Chris ability to wrap ideas and stories in subversively lovely pop melodies and catchy rhythms makes the songs stick in your head like the unwarranted smile of a stranger passing you on the street. Things are on the up and up. The Refugee All Stars'' debut album, "Living Like A Refugee", which Chris produced, was released in the U.S. in the Fall of 2006. The film itself has won numerous awards at international film festivals. Chris has followed up his stellar performance at the 2006 Montreal Jazz Festival with shows on both sides of the border that have continued into 2007. Keep your eyes open for upcoming shows in your area.