Hearing Aide: Barika ‘When The Time Comes’

When is it time to take a step back and reflect? At what point amidst the violence, protest, argument, and confusion perpetuated by the media is it ok for twenty-first century human beings to come to halt from information absorption? Barika, a psychedelic West African influenced band from Burlington, Vermont, aims to satisfy those questions with their album, When the Time Comes.

Immediately from the beginning of the project, time seems to slow and the reflection begins. Each song in the album is different from the next which at first listen seems disjointed, only connected by the reoccurring horn lines, however when listened to more than once, it is easy to see what Barika is trying to accomplish within this forty-three minute album. Instead of a chronological storyline, as many albums try to convey, When the Time Comes has the aim to come at listeners from all angles with instrumental tracks mixed in with R&B flavored ones and even songs completely comprised of African drumming. There are also strong messages within the album.

In “Find My Way”, instances of police brutality are highlighted by using examples of Eric Garner’s words “I can’t breathe” said over and over. In addition, Craig Myers, the leader of the band cites Ferguson Missouri and the fatal shooting of native Michael Brown. As the track in the center of the album, Barika chooses to focus on issues that are the most important. This symbolizes the need for society to reflect while at the same time remaining conscious enough to keep a grasp on the harsh and unjust realities that are plaguing society.

In When the Time Comes, Barika transforms the traditional model of an album by keeping each track different from the one before and after but still tying them all together in the end. It is not music that can be casually listened to but needs to be thoroughly digested to understand what the motives behind it are. Catch them at Funk n Waffles in Syracuse on March 10. Check out additional shows here.

Key Tracks: When The Time Comes, Find My Way, There For You