IMG_1910.JPG
 

akae beka

 

           bio            

 

 

 
Akae Beka
is the current manifestation of an evolving consciousness. Following a quarter of a century as the lead singer and co-founder of the legendary St Croix based band MIDNITE, the artist know as Akae Beka is a candidate for the most prolific reggae artist in the universe. Vaughn Benjamin has recorded over 70 albums to date. Besides that he also published a book of poetry titled “Koll Pekude: Word, Sound & Poems” in 2006.

The St. Croix native releases multiple albums virtually every year, and they’re never half-hearted affairs. Rather, 70-minute conversations dense with revelations and cerebral lyricism are the norm for this messenger of truth. The extended and consistent amount of information Vaughn has released over the years through his music has truly been a beacon of inspiration for many. Akae Beka has a dedicated following around the world for years and it only continues to grow.

Consisting of former MIDNITE band members, the bands sound builds on a strong spiritual foundation of chanting and trance-inducing performances. They have made their music heard across five continents and countless festivals such as Lightning In A Bottle, Envision, Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Reggae on the River, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, Summerjam, Rototom Sunsplash and Reggae Jam.

Albums such as the debut Unpolished (1997), Ras Mek Peace (1999) and the seminal third release, Jubilees Of Zion (2001), collectively set the tone for what would become more than 60 albums  leading up to 2014. That year, their album Beauty For Ashes (a Midnite – I Grade collaboration) was named ‘Reggae Album of the Year’ by iTunes. Akae Beka latest album “Hail The King” has been submitted for a Grammy nomination for best Reggae Album.

Always rooted firmly in the teachings of His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie I, his personal evolution and reaffirmed purpose is manifested in his newly declared name.

Akae Beka is accompanied by the following players of instruments: Peter Willock (drums and percussions), Lyndon ‘Ras L’ Williams (bass), Edmund Fieulleteau (guitar), Suren Fenton (keyboards) and Patrick Robinson (keyboards).  

 
IMG_1128.JPG

routing dates for

fall/ 2019

and

winter 2020

       

 

                News & Updates

MEK A MENSHUN

Akae Beka and Zion I Kings continue their ongoing collaboration with MEK A MENSHUN. Noted lyricist and vocalist Vaughn Benjamin delivers some of his finest compositions to date in a career now spanning twenty years. Anchored in the celebrated sound of the Zion I Kings (ZIK) players, these timeless songs amply reward the listener who can penetrate into the mystical musical realms of Rastafari.

Longtime fans of Midnite and Akae Beka will note that Vaughn Benjamin's singing on MEK A MENSHUN reaches new heights of melodic delivery and emotional intensity. Coupled with his always poetic and insight-ful lyrics, these 12 original songs rank among his best recordings to date. The title track "Mek A Menshun" includes vocals by Protoje who has transitioned from Jamaican "rising star" status to Grammy (R)-nominat-ed artist.

MEK A MENSHUN features the stellar musicianship of the ZIK distinguished in typical fashion by the rock-solid drumming of Lloyd "Junior" Richards . On this album, his playing is complemented by Aston Barrett Jr. ("By Day", "Reason", "Only Now") and Kirk Bennett ( "Kagm Mystory", "Mek A Menshun"). The signature stylings of the other core ZIK musicians are augmented by horns (Andrew "Drew Keys" Stoch -trombone, Donald "Jahbless" Toney -saxophone), flute- Sheldon "Attiba" Bernard, kette- Andrew "Bassie" Campbell, and the guitar of Chet Samuel. ZIK guitarist Andrew "Moon" Bain contributes a string arrange-ment on "Only Now". Throughout the album, Laurent "Tippy I" Alfred's spot-on organ shuffle bubbles the rhythm forward.

Many of the MEK A MENSHUN tracks were among the last recordings done by the vet-eran engineer Gary Woung. In 2016, Zion High Productions debut album with Akae Beka, LIVICATED, entered the Billboard reggae charts at # 6 and went on to become the best-selling title in a sixteen year catalog. MEK A MENSHUN is set to surpass this already considerable achievement

Hail The King

VAUGHN BENJAMIN/AKAE BEKA

Esteemed singer, poet and thinker Vaughn Benjamin, formerly known as the voice of Midnite, has adapted the name Akae Bekawhen he chose to continue his music career as lead singer of Akae Beka in 2015. Since he and Midnite entered the reggae scene in 1997 with the “Unpolished” set, the man has been extremely busy and his output is truly incredible. Within a period of 22 years he has been involved in numerous projects which led to the release of more than 60 full length albums. Besides that he also published a book of poetry titled “Koll Pekude: Word, Sound & Poems” in 2006

For his latest studio album entitled “Hail The King”, the eighth under the name Akae Beka, the charismatic artist from the US Virgin Islands has again teamed up with California’s Higher Bound Productions, which was founded by Ryan Willard in early 2000. Previous releases Midnite/Vaughn Benjamin/Akae Beka did with Higher Bound Productions include: “Bless Go Roun” (2007); “Ark A Law” (2010); and “Free Indeed” (2013).

Akae Beka’s distinctive chanting style has retained the same radiance even after so many years and albums, and also lyrically the well certainly hasn’t dried up. His lyrics are like some ancient text full of wisdom, and timeless. They are intended to make the listener think. As usual the lyrics outline a whole series of human atrocities against themselves and the environment. This all, is delivered over hypnotic, mystical riddims, which were recorded with live instrumentation at the Higher Bound Productions studio. The majority of the players of instruments involved in this project are members from the original Midnite band – currently playing in the Akae Beka band. Thus, the sound will resonate fully with longtime loyal Midnite/Vaughn Benjamin/Akae Beka fans as it has that raw St. Croix roots feeling of some of the earliest work. Most of the riddims are made up of only drums, a deafening bass and guitar, although here and there a riddim is enriched with horns, keyboard, percussion and acoustic guitar, ensuring that boredom doesn’t set in.

“Class Warfare Scorn”, the song that gets the album started, has the sound & vibes the longtime fan knows so well and appreciates so much. Great opener. Next comes the solid “One Mind”, which might require more time to grow on you. Almost the same can be said about the last track of the opening part, the totally different vibed “Estevanico”, at which a danceable tempo is transformed into a magical riddim. “Fountain” is an absolutely scorching effort and one of the best songs on this album, which actually can also be said about the next track, the compelling environmental piece “Earth Repair”. And to top it off, it’s followed by “Fe Prominence”, a huge tune with incisive lyrics. Besides that it’s the beautiful backdrop which takes a most appropriate and deserved center-stage and thrills for around 4 minutes. Then there’s the crucial “New Race”, a very interesting and fascinating song that can be ranked amongst the highlights of this collection. It’s followed by “Solid Sense”, a very nice and solid song, and the title track, “Hail The King”, an outstanding and such a satisfying praising tune. Things are rounded off by the heavyweight sounding “Winners On The Ground”, a great closer of this “Hail The King” album. 

Homage To The Land

Raver Reviews: Akae Beka’s ‘Homage To The Land’

On Homage To The Land, the debut album by Akae Beka, Vaughn Benjamin forges a new path with a familiar sound.  This most recent Vaughn Benjamin/Fifth Son collaboration has the signature high quality production, however with a more refined sound than previous efforts.

Akae Beka’s debut album Homage To The Land, released by Fifth Son/VPAL on November 6, 2015, was viewed by some to be the second incarnation of Midnite.  On the album Vaughn Benjamin brings his unique brand of reggae with strong orchestral and jazz elements – an agile, buoyant, multi-layered sound characteristic of Fifth Son productions.  Benjamin’s chant and call is backed by mandolins (“All We Be”), violins (“Right Away”), flutes (“World Citizenship”), and a whole host of brilliantly-played horns, including trombones, trumpets, and a wicked bari sax (“Homage To The Land”).  The playing on the album is nearly flawless.  The Fifth Son players are methodical and precise on guitars, nimbly picking apart each tune with exactness and command.

 

Homage To The Land is a laudable debut effort for Vaughn Benjamin under the Akae Beka moniker.  As players of instruments the band is in top form as they construct a ten song set that should satisfy even the most devout and discerning of Midnite fans.  Although the band experiments with an assortment of new instruments, the album’s sound does not become buried nor does the album sound overproduced.  A solid album from start to finish and proof yet again that Vaughn Benjamin is one of reggae’s most dynamic talents.

 

Portals takes you even deeper into those ethereal, nebulous spheres which you didn`t think exist beyond what can be described as the meditative St. Croix style established by Midniteand Dezarie. Almost two decades have passed, since Midnite`sUnpolished and Dezarie’s Fya initiated a process of continuous ideological, musical and personal mystification within the manifold and ever-creative space of Reggae music. More and more, cloudy soundscapes began to grow around clear drum- and off beat sounds, wrapped in mysterious baselines in order to eventually from a melancholic soundscape in which pictorial and symbolic lyrics reason around ancient transcendental truths. In deed, the unique and unusual, singing style of Midnite frontman Vaughn Benjamin has always been crucial to this melancholic and impressionist style, and as Akae Beka, he now represents the current manifestation of deep spiritual Roots Reggae.


The music on Portals, which is the second album Benjamin released under his new stage name, flows natural like a mountain stream, cleansing the mind with the pure and cool water of thoughtfulness. Just like the Midnite album Beauty for Ashes, a product of I Grade Records, which is also located in St. Croix, Portals, too, let Lloyd “Junior” Richards take care of the drums, who bestows this unmistakable and unpredictable Midnite groove on the whole album. Further developed, however, than many previous Midnite releases in terms of the quality of sound and mix, the album subtly sets itself apart from the mother project, just as much as it is similar to it.


Portals is a homogeneous potpourri of thirteen songs, similar in approach yet different in implementation. Instrumentally, the album sometimes counts on distorted guitar lines, for example, in Heavy Low and Well Said, on layers of synth pads with loads of reverb as in Changes, or on concise brass contours as in Ideals of the Emperor. As usual, Benjamin’s lyrics come along well reflected; a stream of consciousness, allegorical and symbolic, yet pregnant with meaning and full of life’s teachings, as the chorus of Like Rhyme elegantly shows: "as perceptions change in time, people go through similar things same time, experience tells a story if you don’t mind, cause life to flow like rhyme."

In By All For All, Benjamin builds a wall of mysticism around the core of his message, which, however, makes it so interesting to listen to him. The album’s naturalness climaxes in Orderly, a graceful homage to Jah creation, in which the chirping of birds beautifully merges into a sound collage with the other instruments. With a mixture of lead synths and guitar dubs, plus an inventive drum beat, the title song Portals acoustically pushes you back and forth on a psychedelic and fast-moving scenery, more and more towards “the entrance of the portals.”


The only feature guest on this album is also from St. Croix. On Let Babylon Go, Danny I adopts to Vaugn Benjamin’s singing style so well that it makes you think the both of them must be brothers. Well, they descend from the same musical family, that’s for sure. Some sounds in Be Kindly almost have a spooky flair, while Simplest Long rather creates a positive mood through its dry dub style. Dem a Warriah is a heavy and serious tune with a somewhat African touch to Benjamin’s articulation and on the album`s last song, where melodicas merge with lead synths, a straight one drop helps the lyricist to finalize his message with the words Love is the Mainstay.

Portals continues the saga of top-class spiritual impressionist Reggae, and those who love Midnite will also find great pleasure in the mystic world of Akae Beka.

 

After Homage to the Land and Portals, Livicated is the third studio album of Akae Beka and the second one this year, but the first in cooperation with Zion High Productions outta Florida. Fans have been used to expecting several albums a year since the times of Akae Beka’s predecessor Midnite, from which the band evolved around frontman Vaughn Benjamin in 2015 after the dropout Vaughn’s brother Ron on bass and the addition of Suren Fenton on keyboards. We have also witnessed Midnite working with a variety of producers throughout their career which has brought forth almost 60 albums since 1989. 

Akae Beka’s two recent collaborations with I Grade Records from St. Croix (Portals) and Fifth Son Records from New Mexico (Homage to the Land), both bore solid long players which have represented the band on the musical landscape since their transformation from Midnite to Akae Beka. Both albums take their strength from a continuous desire to grow spiritually and musically, yet, they stay true to the unique meditative St. Croix style which was developed throughout the years and can be held responsible for the homogeneity of Akae Beka’s music as well as the steady attention it gets from a continuously fascinated and Rasta-inspired massive in Jamaica and elsewhere. Simultaneously, from release to release, small and subtle alterations in the process consistently shape the music’s representation and help to keep it interesting. 

Now it’s not a secret that the newest collaboration with the so-called ‘Zion I Kings’, a producer team consisting of Laurent “Tippy” Alfred from I Grade, Andrew “Moon” Bain from Lustre Kings and David ”Jah David” Goldfine from Zion High, was not supposed to reinvent the wheel, but instead, to continuously inspire those who have learned to love the mystic teachings and appreciate the detailed and often cryptic elaborations of Akae Beka which can carry reference from pretty much every knowledge accessible for mankind, from ancient religious teachings to contemporary findings in natural sciences. Whether or not you think that this album is but a sequel to Portals, and whether or not you were expecting new, more inventive musical developments or even more innovative rhetoric, I only want to reveal this much: on Livicated, a variety of treasures is hidden behind a curtain of familiarity. This invites those who are just discovering the island of Akae Beka on their musical ocean and want to explore it further as well as those who already know what awaits them and who feel inspired to go deeper and look behind the curtain. 

No matter what, experts and newcomers both will find pleasure in identifying subtle aspects of sound aesthetics and vocal performance, and those who love to rack their brains over symbolism, ancient scriptures and wordplay might just have discovered one of their favorite albums. Whether or not you read the album’s title as the Rastafarian deconstructivist version of the English word “Dedicated,” or as a variation of “Levitated,” most definitely, this one is a dedicated piece of art which indeed seems to be levitating slightly above this world. 

Lean back, get your headphones – and dictionaries – out and tun up di level for Livicated, twelve conscious reggae songs brimming with self-realization, mysticism and music skills.

 
711uiJClOyL._SS500_.jpg

Portals

by Akae Beka
VB Left hand write.JPG
LIVICATERD CVR sized.jpg

LIVICATED

R-10236153-1493894163-3791.jpeg.jpg

music

by Akae Beka
Unknown.jpeg

Nurtured Frequency

by Akae Beka
sddefault.jpg.png

Hail The King

by Akae Beka