New Name: Vaughn Benjamin Returns as Akae Beka

Words by Kaya.lah
Photo by Martei Korley

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For better or worse, artists and music are always evolving. It is especially pleasing to see the positive movements continue for those artists we look to for music emanating positive and conscious energies. As lead singer for Midnite, the legendary roots band from St.Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vaughn Benjamin holds a special place in roots music, with an expansive lyrical catalog of righteous tunes and haunting vocal tones. Now stepping out on his own and claiming the title Akae Beka (the ancient name for the “holy players of instruments” in the Book of Enoch), he shows no sign of slowing down following a brief but noted hiatus over the last year.

With an album entitled Homage to the Land set for release on November 6th through Fifth Son/VPAL Records, the newly re-minted artist has announced his new project with a single by the same name. A modern-age ska track with dynamic, jazz-inflected instrumentation and arrangement, “Homage to the Land” sounds like Vaughn, but accompanied by Bryon Lee’s Dragonaires. In the usual fashion, Akae delivers seething lyrics on a topic of much importance.

In celebration of this new evolution, Akae Beka has been on the road since early last month covering the East Coast, and has quickly become one of the hottest tickets in Roots music. The West Coast leg of his “unveiling” series starts in November, timed to H.I.M.’s coronation celebrations. You can check out tour dates and all other Akae Beka info here.

LargeUp met up with Vaughn, alongside Pressure Busspipe, in St. Croix last year for one of his last interviews before the hiatus. Watch “Vaughn Benjamin and Pressure Busspipe Hold a Vibes” here.

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