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|Ben Harper at the Eurockéennes in 2008|
|Full name||Benjamin Chase Harper|
|Birthday/Birthplace||(1969-10-28) October 28, 1969
|Genre(s)||Folk rock, blues rock, alternative rock, soul, funk rock, gospel, reggae, jam rock, neofolk|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, lap steel guitar, slide guitar, keyboard instruments, piano, bass, drums, percussion, vibes|
|Record Labels||Virgin, EMI Records|
|Worked with||Ben Harper and The Blind Boys of Alabama
Vanessa da Mata
Fistful of Mercy
Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals
|Official Website||Official web site|
Ben Harper (Pomona, California, October 28, 1969) is an American musician.
He grew up between Claremont and Pomona, both located in the Inland Empire region, in a family of musicians of very diverse origins: his paternal grandmother was half-black half Cherokee Indian and his maternal great-grandmother was Jewish Russian, from Lithuania. It was to her that he dedicated his album Welcome to the cruel world.
He grew up listening to soul, folk, blues, r & b, reggae, hip hop, jazz and country among others, giving a very particular style to his music. His evolution has led him to introduce urban rhythms and ethnic sounds, reaching recordings of Led Zeppelin, The Verve or Marvin Gaye. As far as their influences are concerned, we can find among them musical groups and artists as diverse as Bob Marley, Robert Johnson, David Lindley, Chris Darrow, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Jeff Buckley, without forgetting the influence of the blues of Jimi Hendrix and jam bands like the Blues Traveler or Hootie & amp; The Blowfish. It can also be said that he was a student of the black singer-songwriters of the 1970s Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield. His lyrics deal with topics such as peace, God and religion, the environment or politics, at a conflictive level and with a vindictive connotation.
Harper signed with Virgin Records in 1992, year in which he recorded Pleasure and pain along with Tom Freund, an album that was limited to 1,500 copies on vinyl. In 1994 he published Welcome to the cruel world, which will not receive the attention of critics until two years later. In 1995, the politician Fight for your mind comes to light. Its third album, in 1998, was The will to live, that was oriented towards the blues and the alternative folk, beginning to sound in several radios and counting on the appearance of its group of support: the Innocent Criminals. Meanwhile, he wrote for other artists, collaborating with Beth Orton, John Lee Hooker and Government Mule.
In 1997 and 1999 he played in the Tibetan Freedom Concerts and became the opening act for groups like R.E.M., Radiohead, Metallica, Pearl Jam and The Fugees. In 1999 he published Burn to shine, a collection of songs that go through jazz, funk and folk. In 2000 he became the opening act for the Dave Matthews Band tour and in early 2001 he published Live from Mars, an acoustic and electric direct from last year’s tour.
In 2003 he released Diamonds on the inside and in 2004 he joined the Blinds Boys of Alabama on the album There will be a light. In 2005, and also with the Blinds Boys of Alabama, Live at the Apollo, a live album, went on sale.
In 2006 he released his seventh studio album, a double CD entitled “sides of the gun”. In 2007 it went on sale in Spain Lifeline, album recorded in the Studio Gang of Paris as soon as finishing the European tour of the previous year, in only seven days and next to the band The Innocent Criminals. Lifeline was recorded entirely with a classic 16-track analog mixer, without using computers or pro-tools at any time during the recording process. This last album was conceived, and its songs composed, practically during the tour of concerts of its previous album. The album includes eleven songs, and had the first single «In the colors».
In 2009 Ben Harper left his band The Innocent Criminals to bring to light his tenth album, White lies for dark times, along with the band Relentless 7, thus giving a genuinely rocker turn to his career. Composed of eleven other songs, the first single was “Shimmer and Shine.”
In January 2013 the album Get Up !, appeared in which Ben Harper is accompanied by the famous blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite.
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