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Meta Meta


by Ian Mann

January 18, 2008


Meta Meta" has it's origins in the Afro Cuban religion of Yoruba and celebrates nine deities of the religion

The music on this album is the brainchild of Barak Schmool, founder of London’s celebrated F-ire Collective. It harks back to the Collective’s roots as a community project and to the importance of rhythm as the cornerstone of their music making.

“Meta Meta” has it’s origins in the Afro Cuban religion of Yoruba and celebrates nine deities of the religion (hence Meta Meta meaning three by three). The arrangements are based around the sound of the Bata drum with three Bata players being deployed on the album.

Around this basic core sound Schmool has added other elements including a horn section and even strings. However the main additions to the sound of the Bata are Schmool’s own alto sax, the keyboards of Nick Ramm and the soaring, soulful lead vocals of Maurizio Ravalico. In a fluctuating line up there are also notable contributions from other F-ire luminaries such as Tom Herbert (bass), Finn Peters (flute & alto sax) and David Okomu (guitar).

Schmool’s careful but colourful arrangements are clearly a labour of love. He strikes an interesting balance between the ancient rhythms of the Bata and more contemporary jazz inflected sounds. The overall effect is to create a warm atmosphere that will hold appeal for both contemporary jazz fans and world music followers.

Interested readers/listeners are directed to the February 2008 edition of Jazzwise magazine, which includes a feature length interview with Barak Schmool. He talks extensively about the music on the Meta Meta project and the inspirations behind it, plus his philosophy towards music making in general and the ethos of the F-ire Collective as a whole. See

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