Akasha is the premiere reggae band on the Chicago musical landscape, sounding like they stepped out of a 1972 session at Studio One, but also embroidering on the Jamaican canon with diverse modern influences. Powerfully authentic but also accessible to the contemporary ear, Akasha’s approach to reggae is both a refreshing and earnest tribute.Cosmos Ray’s lead vocals, Doug Bistrow’s bass, Scott Moss’ guitar, Shane Jonas’ horns and keys, and John Barbush’s drums along with their hallmark four-part harmony come together to forge Akasha’s signature sound, which has backed Jamaican legends including Dennis Alcapone, Charlie Organaire, Johnny Osbourne, Keith and Tex, Ranking Joe, Carlton Livingston, Ky-Mani Marley and most recently Niney The Observer. Akasha also hosts what has become Chicago’s best-loved monthly reggae night, Simmer Down Sound, which features both live performance and DJ sets from established and emerging national and international talent.
In January, Akasha partnered with Jump Up Records for an international collaboration, covering Marley’s “One Cup of Coffee” and featuring Jamaican ska legend Charlie Organaire. It was released on the latest Specialized Charity UK album as a four-song 7-inch vinyl EP along with tunes from the Skatalites, Calypso Joe, and Pressure Tenants.
Most recently Jump Up Records released Akasha’s first solo vinyl featuring two new original tunes. Loosely based on the “Declaration of Rights” riddim by The Abyssinians, new single “Eye for an Eye” is a powerful conscious reggae answer to our tumultuous times. Backed by happy-go-lucky foundation ska number “You Make Me Feel Good,” this release is sure to be a modern classic!
Akasha excels at conjuring up memories of reggae’s heyday, hewing close to its stylistic conventions while stretching out enough to incorporate many of its various strains and mutations. – Time Out Chicago