Former Chicagoan Kenny Dread has spearheaded a kirtan scene in his current hometown of West Cork, Ireland. He has a number of solo albums and projects that are deeply introspective and beautiful, most recently the album We Will Be Lovers. These tracks have been remixed and released as singles. Kenny’s remixers span the globe, including LA-based Atom Smith, who has worked with Donna DeLory and remixed Kenny’s track “Marvel” in the Burning Man style. “Marvel” is also remixed by Australian techno/EDM guru Deepchild, who is famous for his DJ’ing at Berlin nightclub Berghain. Katrina O’Kane of Irish funk band The Bella Coola rocks a bubbly production of “In the Morning”, while Brooklyn’s house music heavy Eric Shan’s version of the same song changes everything—a major key to a minor, morphing into a deep house cut. Dub-master Lionheart from West Cork, Ireland, brings some stripped down dub to “Valentine” with classic dub- piano effects. But my fave has to be Choreboy’s (nom de plum of Kenny Dread) remix of “Sexy Ranger”. It’s a Brazilian samba soundtrack! Super fun with the bells and whistles of a true samba school!
Debi Buzil · YogaChicago January 2020
Southern Star December 2017
Kenny Dread’s We Will Be Lovers celebrates—you guessed it—love! Chicago expat Kenny Dread recorded in West Cork, Ireland, where he is surrounded by people who play music socially, and everyone sings. Kenny Dread sings; plays nylon string guitar, 12-string guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, and cajon (a Peruvian percussion instrument); claps; and programs the drums. Some songs slyly wink (“Sexy Ranger”), while others touch the liberation of body, mind, and spirit that only love can bring. This is a pop record, lush with strings, guest appearances, and a little trumpet, courtesy of Manwolves’ Michael Werner. Cover art by Vivian Sakellariou is abstract, soft, and geometric, like all the tangles of our lives.
“In The Morning” opens the release, with a lilting Afro-pop guitar line, nice backup vocals and some low-key, Jamaican-style toasting courtesy of Kenny. The songs are vignettes of life with detailed personifications. The poetry is tangible, almost biblical. “The second hand never seems to catch on the first, but the moon is on fire in a total eclipse” from the title track is evocative. “Marvel”‘s refrain “If you love yourself” is catchy and positive—it’s my fave track. “The Real Lover In Me” is a standard when Kenny performs with Devi 2000. It’s a song celebrating Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. Uplifting and fun, it addresses the imperfections of this human form, and the perfection of love. The album closes with the sonic power of “Exhalation”: Because isn’t that how all things end? Moving through life with power and grace, breathing in and out, you are a lover, Kenny Dread!
Debi Buzil · YogaChicago November 2017