The Copenhagen-based Guiding Star Orchestra created this month’s playlist taking you on a meditative journey from soul to roots, binghi to deep dub. We spoke to them about their anti Babylon approach to life and music, about stepping out of the rat race and communicating these important messages through their music.

Formed in 2016 the 10-piece Roots & Dub collective is exploring the universe of meditative and spiritually uplifting dub & reggae music based on instrumental compositions using only analog gear for recording and mixing. Their music consist of a heavy drum & bass backdrop underneath melodic and playful melodies from the 4-piece horn section, mixed with the effects from the dub-engineer.

During the years the band has released music on Livity MusicRaske Plader and Dub Shot, including 2 albums; Natural Heights (2022) and Communiun (2023) alongside 5 singles, and currently working on the next album, due to release in 2025 on the recognized record label Tribe 84.

The band has been in heavy rotation worldwide in reggae radio stations, most notably on David Rodigans show on BBC1Xtra, creating a lot of positive reviews and attention.

Band members include:

Thomas Leholt (Organ)
Morten McCoy (Keys)
Tobias Elof (Guitar/’Ukulele)
Zigge Kreutzmann (Bass)
Jah Adam (Drums)
Jonas Yagoubi (Percussion)
Malte Kaptain (Trumpet)
Laurits Qwist Bilén (Trombone)
Steven Jess Borth II (Tenor saxophone)
Mikael Flensborg (Dub engineering)
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What did you have in mind when creating the playlist?

The playlist is created with inputs from all of us from the collective. This is the reason why you’ll find a lot of different styles and genres here. It goes from soul to roots, binghi to deep dub. We’ve tried to create journey; starting out with some heartbeat binghi tunes to set the mood. The binghi style is a key fundamental energy to us. Heartbeat binghi also known as Nyahbinghi, is a fundamental rhythm. It goes 1-2 – pause – 1-2 and so on, in the same rhythm as our heart beats. This rhythm is often used in Jamaica during spiritual chants and holy gatherings but the style of drumming has its roots from Bantú in Eastern Congo. The rhythm is often performed by a big group of drummers playing on different sizes of drums and other percussion. One you should check out in the Nyahbinghi style is a guy called Count Ossie – you will find some of his tunes on our playlist.

To break down the band in pieces, you’ll find one drum that’s called the Thunder (often played by only one drummer) which is a deep big drum (a bit similar to a kick from a drum set). Then we have the Fundeh (this one is played by most of the group). The role of the Fundeh is to back up the 1-2 rhythm and fulfill it with strong energy. Last one is the Ketteh which is played by 1 or a few drummers of the group (often by the ones who have the best sense of rhythm haha). The role of the Ketteh is to play melodic percussive rhythms in between the heartbeats.

Next on the journey is some more easy listening soul and roots, to some tunes with important messages. What’s important to us, in the collective, is always to have a positive, humble, loving and peaceful mindset. We are inspired by songs with such statements. Also some more powerful statements about stepping out of Babylon. Stepping out the rat race and not being a slave for the system that we live in. Although it’s about finding the balance. Like anything else in this life. Last up on our journey we will enter the more spiritual and meditative state of mind with some deep dubs.

What are you up to at the moment?

At this moment we’re writing new stuff and will be recording. Back in September 2023, we also did a lot of recording to do a new album (our 3rd) with strictly instrumental roots. With this new album we will be presenting a new form of concept which we’re excited to hand out to the people. We’re also in the progress of a collaborative work with Azizzi Romeo from JA (the son of the legendary Max Romeo). We already released one single called “Jah send the rain” with an additional dub by Roberto Sanchez from Spain. Besides Azizzi we’re doing some other collabs with vocalists that we can’t share any names of at this moment.

Tell us about a concert or an event you are looking forward to?

We’re looking forward to perform at the new Danish reggae festival called One Love this summer. We’re on the headline of the program in between some top artists from the international scene. Besides performing as Guiding Star Orchestra, we’re also backing up the legendary Linval Thompson for his gig at the festival. Linval Thompson is to us one of the pioneers of the sound that we’re trying to create. He has got some strong lyrical albums which are collaborations between some of the biggest producers from back then; Augustus Pablo and Lee Perry to mention some.

We are also performing at Bygge Festivalen which takes place in Southern Jutland. It’s a very nice and chill festival created by good people such as our friend Nick from Denali Sound. We’re also in the progress of doing a small tour around Denmark at the end of August.

Check out Guiding Star Orchestra on Bandcamp and follow them on Instagram.