Maffie and Crew
It's no surprise that the wildly multi-cultural city of Vancouver, Canada harbours interesting cultural mashups and diverse dining options. This is the city after all that gave birth to Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a festival that celebrates Chinese New Years and the Scottish holiday Robbie Burns Day simultaneously. This is where the ads for the annual Bhangra festival showed elaborately costumed Punjabi dancers eating sushi. But what about musical fusion, and in Vancouver's West Indian community? One example of the depth of Vancouver's musical talent is the famed local band Maffie and Crew. They're a five piece hailing from four different Caribbean nations who bring a wide range of influences, and skills, into their high energy party music.
Maffie and Crew play and blend Soca, Roots Rock, Dancehall, Zouke and pop into incredibly energetic shows. It's not easy to mash this kind of diversity of riddims and flows but their leader, Ulan "Maffie" Atwell, makes it seem so. Maffie, who is the lead vocalist, composer, arranger, and studio engineer for the band, has released numerous solo albums and performed at many reggae and Caribbean festivals on the West Coast. He has gained international recognition for his music, and his song "Pum Pum On Strike" reached number 4 on the top ten music charts in his homeland St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Indeed it was one of the most popular Carnival tunes that year. "The Crew" all contribute on vocals, but in addition each member also adds their unique flavour to the pot.
Fando Bynoe who also was born in St. Vincent is the 'bass man'. St. Lucia's native son Ivan Elva handles percussions. The multitalented Renita Drakes, originally from the Barbados, raps and plays the sax. The final crew member is Trinidad native Ian Joseph who owns the guitar in the collective. Maffie and Crew have two original albums available on iTunes as well as a promotional cover album. The track listing on that album alone shows just how versatile and wide-ranging their artistic talents are. Some artists they cover (and well!) are: Skinny Fabulous, Akon, Peter Tosh, and the Burning Flames. Visit www.maffie.ca to listen to Maffie and The Crew and find out when they're playing near you.