Wandering Monks’ music is unlike most hip hop you’ll hear, old or new. Their sound is a distinct, yet cohesive amalgam. Their lyrics – always deliberate, never convenient – inform and challenge without resorting to soap-boxing. Their captivating choruses weave gems of insight and truth through layers of danceable beats, producing sincere messages that convey anything BUT the hedonistic indifference found in most popular club music. The group depicts a wide array of well-researched social issues in their rhymes, but more importantly, their music portrays positive messages of gratitude and self-empowerment. Wandering Monks’ gift is appealing to audiences across many demographic spectrums: age, gender, cultural, and even habitual hip hop listeners vs. non-hip hop fans alike.
Joining forces in 2009, Wandering Monks was born from a handful of collaborations between MCAD and Linguístory, and they have spent the last three years refining their dynamics together in the studio and onstage. MCAD has been part of the Colorado music scene for over a decade. He began his musical journey playing guitar in rock bands as a teenager and DJ’ing as a young adult. Heavily influenced by his introduction to spoken word poet Saul Williams, MCAD made a drastic change in direction which led to his rap beginnings. MCAD found spoken word and rap to be more effective than direct dialogue to initiate conversations with his community about taboo, yet relevant topics such as Native American affairs. Empowered by his newfound platform for transformative communication, he founded the Freedom Movement and quickly diversified his skills in production, singing, and public speaking. With the Freedom Movement, MCAD has worked with several partner musicians, released two official albums, toured the West coast, performed in New York and played all across Colorado. Over the course of his musical career, MCAD has become somewhat of a hip hop renaissance man, with a thorough understanding of the creative, technical, and business aspects of the music industry.
Linguístory came across the Freedom Movement by chance via an online musician ad and identified immediately with MCAD’s political philosophy and authenticity. Just as Linguístory’s solo endeavors began taking shape, he started attending Freedom Movement shows locally. Soon the friendship that emerged between the two emcees led to collaboration. With a heart full of Brazilian music and a head ripe with underground hip hop lyrics, Linguístory brought his calculated writing style to the Freedom Movement mix; before long he dropped out of journalism school to focus on being a Lyrical Journalist. As his stage name implies, Linguístory’s style yields a notably linguistic quality, substantiated by his flawless execution of complex tongue twisters and his detailed narratives delivered smoothly within the metrics of each song. The Monks have achieved a mutually supportive approach to their live performances in which they consistently back each other up: Linguístory harmonizes to add fullness to the melodies and MCAD fills in on Linguístory’s overlapping lyrics. The balanced fusion of MCAD’s colorful, guitar-driven production and his soulful delivery together with Linguístory’s well-crafted, multisyllabic rhymes is what defines Wandering Monks’ music.
The self-titled debut album from Wandering Monks was released in November of 2011 at the Fox Theater in Boulder, Colorado. The album examines a number of issues from globalization and genetically modified foods to subject matter of a more intimate nature, such as relationships and personal growth. By the time their debut came out, the Monks were halfway through writing their second full length album. In April of 2012, the duo halted their progress on their second LP and began writing for a commissioned concept album entitled Jubilee. In less than three months they had finished creating the thematic Jubilee EP - a musical exploration of monetary freedom endorsing the concept of local currency. Jubilee shows significant growth in the duo’s cohesive co-creation. The group gracefully incorporates more complex song structures, intertwines the emcees’ vocal styles more frequently, and demonstrates their ability to turn an elaborate question into a consistent, digestible statement. The Monks released Jubilee in September of 2012 and are already putting finishing touches on their second LP, which will include crowd favorites like “Moon Goddess,” “99,” “Courage,” and “Love Yourself.”
Having garnered success and admiration among the activist community, the Wandering Monks have worked closely with members of We Are Change: Colorado. Still, their music reaches far beyond the scope of the typical “truther” agenda, integrating the political and spiritual realms and uplifting people’s spirits wherever they play. A characteristic blend of reggae, soul and funk sets Wandering Monks apart from their peers in the world of underground hip hop. Their infectious harmonies and unmatched lyrical clarity allow them to plant seeds of positive change in the minds of any and all listeners. Keep an eye out for Wandering Monks’ impending third release in mid 2013, which will excite eardrums, speak to souls, and shift paradigms!