Nicaragua's Soul Vibrations provide ample proof that non-Jamaican musicians are capable of putting out reggae that is as straight-ahead and rootsy as that of their island cousins. Philip Montalvan and Raymond Myers, both of African-Caribbean descent and hail from Nicaragua's Atlantic coast -- which unlike the Pacific side, once held by Spanish colonists, is made up of many Caribbean transplants and is heavily influenced by early British colonialists -- provide the driving forces behind the band. Personality-wise, the two men are opposites. Myers is the charismatic, playful front man while Montalvan is the intense, serious songwriter noted for his thoughtful songs of love, harmony, and hope that call for Africans everywhere to unite. Many of their songs promote the teachings of Marcus Garvey, whom they regard as one of the 20th century's greatest black leaders. Though many of their songs are not political per se, they do point out the hypocrisy, egoism, and injustice they see surrounding political leaders. Still Montalvan considers himself apolitical, something that may stem from his experience of having been kidnapped and imprisoned at different times by both the Contras and the Sandanistas during Nicaragua's revolution. Originally, the Soul Vibrations were a seven-piece band, but after the release of their first album, trimmed themselves into a five-piece band.
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