My first encounter with Dub Inc dated in May 2012 when I had the chance to meet Kamir Meridja in Saint-Etienne where his new documentary 'Rude Boy Story' was presented at the local theatre. It was about a group of musicians from Saint-Etienne, France that he had followed during three years. After our meeting at a café, I feel that it would cool to watch the documentary.
And BANG! Their magic hit me! These guys represented so much of what any artist can aspire: a group of buddies from different origins who decided to go their way to make music and above all: who worked tirelessly to grow without sacrificing what counted the most – their liberty. No ego, lots of talent and hard work and like we say in Saint-Etienne: "Ils mouillent le maillot!" (when they play soccer their shirts are all sweaty 'cause they work hard at it).
Their bio in their web site explains it all: "Originally from Saint-Etienne in France's industrial heartland, Dub Inc fuse classic roots reggae with dub, dancehall, ska, hip-hop and African influences. They create an intoxicating musical hybrid with highly charged and socially conscious songs which have earned them cult status in their native France.
Their wild, high-octane live performances led to an ever expanding and loyal fan base. With a fierce independent spirit and away from the media spotlight, Dub Inc have become the most successful reggae band playing in Europe today, and are now a fixture at major festivals across the world, having already appeared at Paleo, Francofolies, WOMAD and headlined Rototom Sunsplash or Summerjam.
Charismatic lead singers Hakim "Bouchkour" Meridja and Aurelien "Komlan" Zohou sing in English, French and Kabyle (a Berber language native to Algeria). Backed by deep rolling bass (Moritz Von Korff), keyboards (Frédéric Peyron and Idir Derdiche), guitar (Jérémie Grégeois) and drums (Grégory "Zigo" Mavridorakis), Bouchkour and Komlan convey strong positive messages through their striking vocals creating music with a truly universal appeal."
Photos credits: @toine.
Since forming in 1997, Dub Inc have produced six studio albums, two EP's and two live albums. Their new album So What (2016, Diversité) perfectly embodies the potent combination of infectious energy, distinctive melody and engaged, combative lyrics.
Recalling what actor Danny Glover said in an interview at a conference not long ago about artists being truth holders, he's dead right and Dub Inc hold all the values an artist can dream of: independence, tenacity, hard work, friendship, equality and respect of others. Thanks mister Meridja for your work. Your documentary contributed so much to spread the word.