We Are Three

Joi, 2000

Tragically, in July of 1999, Haroon Shamsher died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of thirty four. After a period of mourning, Farook completed work on their second album for Real World, much of which had been recorded by Haroon earlier that year, when he travelled to Bangladesh to make recordings with local musicians.

‘We Are Three’, created in just thirty two days with Spring Heel Jack producer John Wells, is released in October 2000, its title a reference to Joi’s belief in the powers that surround us. A tribute in every sense to Haroon, ‘We Are Three’, like its predecessor, takes the form of a journey: its opening track (the aptly titled ‘Journey’) immerses the listener in the sounds of the brothers’ village in Bangladesh, and the album takes in Asian vocals, funky riffs, dub ragga, mellow vibes and tabla rhythms, before the closing plea of ‘We Need Your Vote’, which is Farook’s exhortation to believe in his band, and sign on the dotted line if you do. Farook says: “Haroon’s vibe is not only still there, it’s there on every single track. It’s his legacy. His tribute gig that Summer was to benefit the Community Workshop and get other Bengali kids into mixing up traditional music with Western electronica – and this record is a testament to that.”

Reviews

  • ...a fascinating hybrid of tradition and modernity... ...west competing with the east. It's also a cracking album of dance music which should appeal to the clubbers.' Ambientmusic.co.uk
  • ...colourful palette of electronica catapults... 'This music may be rooted in the Bengal countryside but a colourful palette of electronica catapults it into the club, particularly on "Deep Asian Vibes." Farook has honored his brother well. Great for dancing, driving or cooking!' Rhythm (USA)
  • ...best when played loud...overall striking stuff. We Are Three is this summer's crank-in-your-car, sing-from-the-rooftops, outdoor party (bonfire and body paint optional) CD...Perfect for headphones...best when played loud...overall striking stuff. Press & Sun-bulletin (USA)
  • '...shines with an uncommon exuberance for breakbeat music...' Ucla Daily Bruin (USA)
  • One of the most dynamic worldbeat releases of the year, 'We Are Three' is a brilliant synthesis of state-of-the-art electronics and traditional Bengali rhythms and instrumentation...the collection was written as a journey, so take the whole tour. Wired (USA)
  • Following on from their superb debut album 'One And One Is One', Joi have fused the sound of the East with the attitude of the West making this an album well worth checking. There are some really good up-tempo tracks like 'Journey' and 'The Holy Side' combining a great spiritual feel with the drum 'n' bass and nu skool breaks vibe. Nice. Snoop (UK)
  • "This is not the sound of the Asian Underground, this is music" ...intones Farook Shamshar at the beginning of 'Tacadin', a track on Joi's new album. Too right, on their follow-up to last year's 'One and One Is One', the original Asian breakbeat fusionists (basically Farook, since the death of his brother Haroon last year), create a sound where traditional Bangladeshi musicians rub shoulders with crunching digital beats, twangy guitars, rumbling basslines and all sorts of funky business. They create a thoroughly global dance experience, albeit with its roots in Anglo-Asian culture. Whereas the sound on Joi's first album had a glossy sheen to it, 'Now We Are Three's' producers John Coxon and Ashley Wales have gone for something harder. The music still sounds thought through and layered, but there's more edge to it this time round. Standouts include the opening 'Journey', with its insistent groove and floating flute, the moody, dubby 'Flying with You' and 'The Holy Side' (featuring Susheela Raman's multi-tracked vocals). A fitting tribute to the late Haroon. Folk Roots (UK)
  • British Asian dance pioneers Joi have been truly inspirational since their early 1990s sound system origins. Last year saw both achievement (their excellent, full-rounded album 'One And One Is One') and tragedy - the untimely death of Haroon Shamsher, one half of the outfit. 'We Are Three' is a sensitive tribute from his brother and remaining Joi member, Farook. Taking influences from traditional Bengali roots, Joi continue to blend intricate instrumentation with sturdy club rhythms, to elating effect. 'Deep Asian Vibes' is funky, string-laden house, a 14 year old vocalist lends concentrated tones to 'Prem', and both brothers are sampled chanting on 'Don't Cha Know That'. The pounding 'Tacadin' repeats a pointed statement: "This is not the sound of the Asian underground...this is music" - essentially always Joi's stance. An absorbing, exciting and genuinely touching homage. London Metro (UK)
  • ...hard house beats are decorated with flutes, sitars and whispered Asian vocals.... We Are Three continues Joi's sampledelic lineage - hard house beats are decorated with flutes, sitars and whispered Asian vocals. Rich in sound and texture, this album will appeal to both Goa veterans and armchair travellers. Hmv Choice (UK)
  • ...it's a real audio-sensual mindbender of an excursion. Propelled by Western dancefloor rhythms and coloured by flutes, sitars, chants, nagging guitars, bicycle bells, Bollywood strings, you name it, We Are Three is a veritable K2 of a record that, if the world was a fairer place, might easily pick up some of Moby's more adventurous overspill. Right from the massively funked-up journey, it's a real audio-sensual mindbender of an excursion and a worthy tribute to Haroon who died last year. Rating: **** Q Magazine (UK)
  • A work of great originality. This follow up album to the critically acclaimed One And One Is One takes their East West fusion a stage further. Sadly one of the Shamsher brothers, Haroon, died during the making of this set, but the resultant album will stand as a testament to his skill and ability. Tracks include sounds recorded during a rickshaw ride through Bangladesh villages, modern loops and fine house rhythms. A work of great originality. Music Week (UK)
  • Album of the Month This album is...an absolute blistering fireball of an album. Much of the backbone was recorded early last year by Haroon on a trip to Bangladesh, by local musicians. The results are a refreshing lack of self-indulgence and instant vitality with tracks such as 'Journey', 'Don't Cha Know That' and 'Deep Asian Vibes' all hitting that classic eclectic breakbeat Joi vibe comfortably...seek this album out at all costs and witness first hand triumph over adversity. 10 out of 10 Wax (UK)