Soul Jazz Records are releasing Count Ossie and The Mystic Revelation's seminal 1975 album Tales of Mozambique in an expanded double album/single CD/digital format, fully remastered and with the inclusion of two bonus rare single-only tracks, full sleevenotes, exclusive photographs and interview. Count Ossie is the central character in the development of Rastafarian roots music, nowadays an almost mythical and iconic figure. His importance in bringing Rastafarian music to a populist audience is matched only by Bob Marley's promotion of the faith internationally in the 1970s.
This is not such a bizarre cross-over as one might imagine for in the 18th century the great Irish musician Turlough O’Carolan, a blind harpist, met the Italian musician Geminiani in Dublin, and through him encountered the music of, yes, guess who, Antonio Vivaldi. So here we have a case of substituting Irish instruments for baroque ones, using baroque instruments to accompany Irish themes, by creating dialogues between Celtic and baroque instruments, or by letting all the musicians improvise. One moment we appear to be listening to a ‘straight’ baroque concerto, then all of a sudden the conventional string continuo/ripieno of the baroque ensemble (Le Orfanelle della Pieta) gives way to celtic musicians playing a jig or reel on anything from a Irish bouzouki to a fiddle. The baroque group consists of three each of first and second violins, one viola, two cellos, a bass and harpsichord while the Irish musicians play Irish fiddle, an Irish flute (like a baroque flute), tin and low whistles, Uileann pipes, Irish bouzouki, mandolins, bodhran, bones, and the Celtic harp (played here with metal strings to resemble its harpsichord counterpart in the other group).