The word that best characterises Mattafix is undoubtedly fusion. Marlon Roudette and Preetesh Hirji transcend musical styles and cultures. The London-based duo has roots in the Caribbean islands and in the Indian sub-continent that give it a particular identity. Their last album, Signs of Struggle opens with Gangster Blues, a piece of London house music set to a Caribbean reggae beat. It sounds smoky and dark. As usual, the two artistes feature guests such as the great Robbie Shakespeare whose bass takes you deeper into the gangsters’ underworld.
La vie en rose
Long after Edith Piaf released this song in 1946, one of her famous ones, artistes are still inspired by it. Many versions were made from the original but Louis Armstrong’s version of La vien en rose is the greatest tribute to La Môme (Piaf) and one of the world’s most sensual songs. The famous trumpet master likens the song to a woman’s reassuring hug.
Pass the peas
One of my unofficial funk kings, Maceo Parker masters the saxophone, the flute and his gravelly voice all at once. Pass the peas was released in 1992 as part of Life on Planet Groove. It’s a cappella opening line makes it one of the funkiest tracks after James Brown’s. It has this energetic flow and you can’t help but keep beat.
The lyrics are simple. It may sound like a corny poem to a teenage girl but it will make anyone melt like chocolate. What makes this American band different is its old fashioned fanfare background and the plaintive voice of its singer. Zach Condon’s lament is a tribute to his French influences and to the French town. ‘
Lemon was released in the album Express Way in 2004. Lemon Lemon is on the jazziest side. This song is a plea for freedom, to be “free like a child” and a struggle against the band’s moan that ‘man always kills the things he likes’.