Garden Of Love - Winston Mcanuff & Fixi

from the EP Garden Of Love (2013)

When I first listened to Garden Of Love by Winston Mcanuff & Fixi, I was struck by its curiously original vibe.  It is the first song I have ever heard that places me in a Paris café watching a reggae singer front a group of local street musicians.  I dig that.

With a bit of research, I discovered that Winston Mcannuf is a Jamaican reggae singer who realized a three album career in the late '70's.  In 2002, he moved to Europe and signed a record deal in France.  This rejuvenated his prospects, uncovering an enthusiastic audience, particularly in France.

I also learned that Fixi is a stage name for Camille Bazbaz, a highly-regarded French musician and composer with an impressive catalogue of albums and motion picture soundtracks to his credit.

Together they have put together a record that I find captivating.  Musically, the song consists of three instruments: piano, accordion, and percussion.  The piano track is a four-note pattern running thru a tasty chord progression that reminds me of an old black and white film set in a European dance club with tall ceilings and palms.

This piano is counterbalanced by an accordion that is simply splendid.  It is playful and crisp.  Not the "Beer Barrel Polka" style of playing, but rather that of a street performer.  Perhaps with a monkey in the city centre.

Then there is the percussion, created by a combination of drum machine with live hi-hat and cymbals.  What I find really cool is the unorthodox way the drum machine lays down its beats at unexpected times in the measures.  It leaves me autistically counting to myself, trying to define it.  It surely comes from jazz, but some kind of back-alley jazz, where glassy-eyed pianists snap their fingers and talk about Monk.

Wrapped together, it has a Fellini quality.  So why not throw in a Jamaican reggae singer?  Winston Mcanuff's voice is perfect for this song.  You hear his authenticity and roots in each line.  As he sings "You are welcome to my Garden of Love", you never doubt a word.

The vibe, the musicianship, and the vocals are spot on and unique.  Check this tune out.  It is the perfect compliment to your eclectic dinner party mix.

Click Here to watch the official music video for Garden Of Love.

Click Here to watch a live performance from Funkhaus Europe a few months ago.  I really like watching the musicians play on this song.