Band of the Hour: Jahfé
They've worked with Wyclef and helped Darfur. We wish our resume looked that good.
By Rayme Samuels
Awareness is the name of the game for Jahfé, one of the hottest roots/reggae groups to come out of Miami in years. Jah is the abbreviation for Jehovah and Fé means "to do" in Creole. Together, the word "Jahfé" symbolizes creation. Exuding an intense energy, the music created by this group grips listeners with its references to the prejudices that take place every day: hunger, poverty, disease and the tensions between nations and their peoples that can cause turmoil.
Cofounders Sasha Sanon (lead vocals and percussion) and Esther Fortune (lead vocals) met in 2002 and wanted to create a band that celebrates their Haitian heritage. They have seen many configurations of the band, from a rock-oriented style to its current 10-piece roots/rock/reggae inception. The remainder of the diverse band includes Danielle Pyton (vocals), Will Mills (lead guitar), Faycal Bettioui (rhythm guitar and vocals), Zach Morillo (drums), Hunter Parmentier (bass guitar), Patrick Converse (trumpet), Jesse McGinty (saxophone) and Camillo Sierra (keyboard).
Seven years in, the band has worked with major artists like Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Ky-Mani Marley and Suenalo, been featured in a documentary about domestic violence, worked to increase awareness about genocide in Darfur and other injustices, all while pumping out two complex albums. 2004's Godly Lips and 2008's The Solution showcase their adept combinations of mellow sound and blazing lyrics. "The people of Miami love music that fuses many stylistic and cultural elements, precisely what Jahfé offers," says Fortune. "It's almost like our audience is always hungry for us and we are more than eager to feed them."
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