SNAPSHOT LINERNOTES If you haven't heard of Rahi High the question is, 'Where have you been hiding over the last 6 years?' During the second half of the millennium's first decade Rahi & the New High almost single handedly resurrected the soul music genre and burrowed from influences as varied as rock, world, jazz and classical - blending them into a soulful melodic stew. This retrospective covers the years 2004 to 2006, a year before the release of Rahi's freshman album classic, 'Pretty Rocks,' which helped usher in the pure eclectic soul movement. When I first met Rahi High on a rainy morning back in the Summer of '06, what struck me most about him was how shy he was in those days. He used to wear purple corduroy pants with a wild Hendrix-like afro and he'd stand busking on the corner of Queen & John, right across from Much Music with his future wife Nadia. He possessed an honest humility reminiscent of an unproven Bob Marley or Jimi Hendrix - Something rare in the star-obsessed pop world of the first decade. The second thing that struck me was how original the melodies and chord changes were that sprang from his guitar and how oblivious passing pedestrians were. Of course, by the end of that summer, crowds of 20 or more would often congregate on the corner to hear his sweet melodies. Back in 2006, I had just been promoted to full-fledge contributor at T.O. City Music Monthly, so I was looking for a meaty artist profile to secure my new position. I found it in Rahi High. I knew it immediately. Convincing my editor was a different story. Rahi was a total unknown at the time. He didn't even have a manager or a website. Not even a CD. What he did have were songs and lots of them. Songs of love - songs of war - songs of reconciliation and healing - songs that would be embraced the world over in the coming years. For the Rahi High fan, 'Snapshot' is truly a rare jewel - a rough uncut diamond. The retrospective gets it's name because these early recordings serve as a snapshot of an artist right on the fringes of soaring. Musically speaking, the hallmark songwriting is already present, but what's missing are the layers of intricate production that characterize each Rahi & the New High album. The tracks are sparse but energetic. The rawness that's still part of the Rahi High sound is even more so here. These were the tracks that were given to me by Rahi to prepare for our interview in December 2006. Almost all of the tracks except for four were recorded off of Nadia's XL1 video camera (solid microphone) in their bathroom and on the road in coffee shops across America. 'Page' and 'Summer Sun' are actually the first two Rahi High songs ever produced with a multi-track recorder - done in their 2 x 4 foot coat closet! As a body of work, the songs on 'Snapshot' work surprisingly well together and form a cohesive whole. When the Rahi High interview finally came out in January of '07, it was so popular with our readers that we did a follow up feature in our March issue. Most of us knew that '07 was going to be a great year for Rahi & the New High, but few were prepared for the impact that 'Pretty Rocks' would have on the industry later that year. So sit back, relax and enjoy a rare snapshot of a moment in an artist's early career. - Michael Yeates December 16, 2012 Michael Yeates teaches African and popular music studies at Arcata City College. He is the editor of The Rahi High Companion (Alpha Press). ------------------ RAHI HIGH'S BIO I was born about 360 months ago. Parents worked in a traveling circus group as tight-rope walkers. I was born one warm September night while my mother was in the audience waiting for my father to go on. Shortly after I was born, my parents retired from the road and settled in Minneapolis, where my old man started a career as a local thespian, gaining local celebrity. It was also here that they started acquiring one of the baddest vinyl collects in the twin cities area. I had an early diet of Stevie, Sly, Marvin, Lou Rawls, Sam Cook, the Spinners, the Impressions, Coltrane - This was my soul food. The great thing about living in Minneapolis in the late '70's/'80's is that they played some of the tightest white music on the radio - the Eagles, the Steve Miller band, Duran Duran. I started writing my ass off. Words @ first. I was 6 or 7 and I called them "Poems in the Key of Life," inspired by Stevie's beautiful double album. My poet career was short lived though (2 years), but with Michael Jackson's guidance I transitioned smoothly into words & music by 9. I played and analyzed "Beat It" about 1000 times to figure out what makes a pop song work. I even wrote a tired mid '80's sequel to it called "Beat It II." The summer before my last year of high school I heard 'Eleanor Rigby' on the radio. It blew my mind. I thought that all those boys sang were 'She Loves You Yeah, Yeah, Yeah,' and 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand.' I went out and bought the 'Revolver' Album. Which blew my mind even more (without the aid of LSD). It affected my songwriting, made it more ambitious. That summer I wrote 'River Round the Sun,' which replaced 'She's Dead' as my favorite Rahi song. Then I started college. Got deeper into the Liverpool group, and the Doors, Squeeze (these guys taught me a hell of a lot about pop structure), Pink Floyd. Learned a little Scott Joplin on piano. Started writing rags. After college I stayed in Montana and tried my hand @ being a cowboy. I sucked. The animals loved me, but I couldn't get the lass tie thing down. So I contacted my parent's old boss from the circus days, Russ Mayall, and he gave me a shot on the tight rope. Again, I was a favorite with the horses and elephants. I wasn't terrible as a circus performer, but I didn't display any extra talent. But it was here, on the road that I started playing the guitar for the first time. The world's tallest man, Jack Tigre (7ft'4), started teaching me Cat Stevens songs in the dressing room. I started writing again. I got the courage to pursue music full time. So I moved out to La La and started the band, the Four Hundred Blows. We played around in the late 90's. Mostly melodic punk. "Page" is one of the few songs that survives from that period. LA is the kinda town though, where you need money if you're serious about keeping your band together. So I started supplementing my music with a little pimping on the side. Which, in retrospect was totally naive, because there is no such thing as pimping on the side. Pimping is the equivalent of 5, 6 jobs. In my prime I had 2 and a half girls. I say half because one of the girl's real name was Bruce. The main problem that I had was that I couldn't stand lying, which is a serious flaw for a pimp. I'd do it, but I'd always feel bad about it after the lie would leave my mouth. So I started being brutally honest, "No, I'm not gonna beat your ass if you don't give me all of your money/ No I don't love you." This really affected my cash flow. But even as an honest pimp, I still made more than I did before. I just had no time for anything else. I had become a slave to the world's oldest profession. So I had to get out. After paying the girls severance pay, I only had $937 - enough for a fender acoustic guitar. This was late 2002, and I've been playing beautiful music everyday since. ___.
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