The music of Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band defies genre, as they mix Trinidad steel pan music with Funk, Soul, Rock, Hip-Hop, and Reggae to create unique, exciting genre-bending music, cool covers, and dope original songs.
Listen to one of the best albums of 2016 — Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band’s 55 (plus more of their funky steel drum music)…
Ease Back Into Some Sublime Steel Drum Funk
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is actually a pet project of the German Funk group, the Mighty Mocambos, a tight collective that makes electrifying deep Funk. Bacao is a vehicle for bandleader and guitarist, Björn Wagner’s, dedicated enchantment with the steelpan drum.
In the past, they’ve covered a couple of funky Meter’s classics, and even a 50 Cent track (which also has dope steel drum samples), which they released as singles a few years ago.
Their first full length album, the phenomenal 55, came out in 2016 on Big Crown Records. It includes the older singles, plus new originals, and irresistible cover songs.
Keeping in the tradition of Steel Drum records, 55 is a journey through re-interpolations and cover songs with an updated approach, pushing Steel Pan music to uncharted territory. Flawlessly bringing previously untouched genres into the steel pan cannon ranging from underground Hip-Hop tunes to old-school Funk tracks, and some that fall in between.
Every song on 55 transports you to a trippy tropical fantasy island. For example, their version of Faith Evans’ hit, “Love Like This” takes away the cheesy top-40 vibe, and turns it into an instrumental Funk groove with echo effects, churning rhythm guitar, and dramatic horn stabs.
The album’s original compositions are astonishing. “Bacao Suave” is a Latin-tinged jam with percussive syncopation, and a heavy horn section that builds the excitement to fever pitch. “Port of Spain Hustle” showcases the slick-moving rhythm guitar and stabbing horn bursts of a disco classic that could rock dance floors worldwide. The breakdown at the end is priceless! “Tender Trap” is a Funk burner with that boom-bap, bold brass section, classic Funk guitar, and a steel drum refrain reminiscent of Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life.”
The covers delight, and improve on the originals, never sounding kitschy. “Dog Was A Doughnut,” an obscure Cat Stevens tune is one of the album’s funkiest, most enjoyable songs. “Jungle Fever,” the lascivious 70s sex song from the Boogie Nights Soundtrack gets the steel drum Funk treatment, and is a lot of fun, even though they leave out the orgasm sounds. “Police In Helicopter,” John Holt’s ganja Reggae classic, becomes a laid-back, dubby, steel pan Reggae riddim.
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is a fabulous Funk band first and foremost. The steel pan groove just adds some well devised differentiation, and acts as a sensational foundation for their one-of-a kind compositions.
55 is awesome, and like nothing else you’ll ever find! When you listen to this record, it’s like transporting yourself to a funky, underground bar in a tropical paradise. It will keep you warm in winter, and be your new favorite summer party music.
It makes the perfect addition to any vinyl record collection — buy it on vinyl here.