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  • Writer's pictureHoward Campbell

It's beginning to look a lot like a Nyahbinghi Christmas for Dean Fraser.

Nyahbinghi Christmas is the title of the saxophonist's first Yuletide album, recently released by Tad's International Record. It has 16 Christmas songs, driven by traditional Rastafarian rhythms. Fraser began production on the instrumental project last year with co-producer Tad Dawkins Jr.

"Nyahbinghi is Jamaican music, an' I want to bring a new instrumentation to these songs. Wi keep it musical but with a different vibe," Fraser told the Jamaica Observer.

Some of the popular songs that receive the 'binghi' treatment are 'When a Child is Born', 'Christmas A Cum (Mi Waa Mi Llama)', 'Long Time Ago', 'Santa Ketch Up Inna Mango Tree',' Merry Christmas', 'Feliz Navidad' and 'Auld Lang Syne'.

For the authentic Nyahbinghi feel, Fraser brought in percussionists Congo Billy, Hector Lewis and Denver "Feluke" Smith. The sessions were some of the last for Smith who died in September from colon cancer.

Bassist Mikey Fletcher, guitarists Dario Morgan and Lamont Savory, keyboardist Andrew Marsh and flautist Zoe Mcintyre also played on the songs.

Fraser has done several albums, including instrumental tributes to Bob Marley and Dennis Brown. He also played on Christmas albums by other artists, but the thought of doing one for himself never came up until last year.

"I wouldn't say Christmas is my favourite time of di year; only thing I love about Christmas is di songs...they are well-written and worth listening," he said.

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