Positive spirit and conscious songs

Pic courtesy - PASCH Goethe-Institut Südasien

Germany’s Raggabund (aka Caramelo Criminal) consists of artists who came together to lift the local reggae and dancehall music onto the next level.  The group’s most striking personalities are the South-American brothers Paco Mendoza & Don Caramelo. The band is multilingual and sings in German, Spanish and English. Whether critical of society or entertaining, Raggabund is always absolutely authentic: a successful mixture of punchline, poetry and positive message.Upon invitation of the initiative "Schools: Partners for the Future" (PASCH), the band is on a tour of South Asia together with Hermanos Mikey Board and De Luca of the Swiss band The Dubby Conquerors.  They recently performed at the at Vidya Mandir, Kolkata.

How would you describe Raggabund as a band?

We are a German based band who is specialized in Caribbean beats like dancehall, reggae, cumbia or reggaeton. We provide danceable music with lots of good vibes and try to reflect our views of a conscious and helpful society within this world.

How does the band’s association with “The Dubby Conquerors” have influenced your music?

Our actual album “Buena Medicina” was very inspired by our partners and backing band “the dubby conquerors”. They are protagonists of the Swiss reggae movement which is well known for roots reggae with a classic / analog spirit of the 70ies reggae. It was the first album we worked on with one producer and one band and we love the sound. It got groovy classic reggae beats with a conscious and spiritual essence like our idols used to have back in the days.

What kind of message you want to tell with your songs?

We don't have specific topics in our songs; we talk about everything that inspires us. This might be love, misunderstandings or the incredibly good Indian food. But we keep an eye on a positive spirit in our music and sometimes we love to write conscious songs which might encourage the people to think about habits or things that happen in this world.

What’s it been like traveling and being able to play in international venues and not just a band that just plays within the in a specific region?

Our entire career we have played in several countries and on several continents, so we don't know how it is to be a local band. We are very grateful of the big gift to get in touch with so many cultures through our music. It is incredible seeing how music can cross boundaries such as language, borders and cultures. We think Caribbean rhythms can work all over the world, cause anywhere we go the people love to dance to our music. Playing international venues really is a big chance for us, because people who haven’t known our band yet might get interested if they hear our name and come to our concerts and that is the best way to get your music well known.

Pic courtesy - PASCH Goethe-Institut Südasien

Do you have any favorite moments that stand out during your SOUTH ASIAN TOUR 2017 that were just special to you?

Well, every city, every venue and every concert have their own energy. Generally, it is very hard to pick your favorite moment, if a tour is full of incredible moments like the tour we did. We got to know so many people who inspired us with their hospitality, their kindness and their beauty. India offered us so many great experiences we will never forget. But if we have to choose, surely Kolkata with all her beauty and flavors was special. We have known this city for so many years because of its history and stories, and it was very special walking through these historic streets.

What ways are your live acts different from your albums?

The good thing about concerts is that you get in touch with your fans instantly. You interact with them or figure out how new songs work on a big stage. We love to alternate songs and their sound on stage. Some songs we play faster than on our album, some we play slower. We even change the chords and enrich a song with different feelings than the original one. But our main target is to offer a perfect show to our audience, so when they love a song only in its original mood, we will play it like that.

What are your thoughts on where reggae is heading as a genre?

As we don't consider ourselves a reggae band only, I can't answer your question in a proper way. But I know that reggae, like a lot of genres, got mixed up with a lot of different styles just like electronic, hip hop, global bass or dubstep. We love this fusion, which helps us to get new ideas and is a great inspiration.

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