MY HISTORY AS A MUSICIAN.
Belizbeha was a seven-piece band from Burlington,Vermont that played a fusion of acid jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop and R&B. The band consisted of 2 female vocalists, a rapper (Fattie B.) and a full rhythm section. Belizbeha enjoyed a seven-year run that spanned from 1993-2000. During this time, Belizbeha was indisputably the most successful band in Vermont not named Phish.
Their debut album, Charlie’s Dream (recorded in 1995), was a striking amalgam of cultural and musical influences. It showcased the band’s soaring soul vocals and full-bodied, boombastic flow of MC Fattie B. over a seamless rhythm section. The album was critically acclaimed (both regionally and nationally). The group also toured with The Giant Country Horns (of Phish fame), namely Dave Grippo and Joey Sommerville. Their follow up LP, titled Void Where Inhibited, was recorded in 1998. It too was a critical success.
Major labels came calling, but even without their support, the band sold in excess of 30,000 albums independently. For a time they were represented by publicist Susan Blond, a protégée of Andy Warhol, whose client list included Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. The band was the first independent act to be signed by the agency.
Belizbeha was a touring phenomenon – averaging 230 shows a year over their seven-year span. Shows included numerous treks all over the US, as well as venues in Canada, Europe, and a slot at the 1996 Summer Olympic games in Atlanta.
Here are some quotes about the band from varied industry folk:
“…all excellent musicians, they’ve created some music that’s both memorable and of artistic worth.” - Relix Magazine
“…Belizbeha plays with a vintage skilled musicianship…In a day when funky jam outfits are as common as coffeeshops [Void Where Inhibited] renews your faith in the funk.” -CMJ New Music Report
“…Inspired by the likes of the Brand New Heavies, Stevie Wonder, and Jamiroqui, Belizbeha not only cuts tracks with hip-hop flavor thanks to MC Fattie Bumbalattie, but they also go velvety smooth and sweetly sophisticated thanks to the excellent vocal stylings of divas Shauna Antoniuc and Kadiatou Sibi (‘Whenever She’s Around’). The result pays off as the cool beats (‘Invisible’), amazing rhythms (‘Inhibitions’) and tireless vocals meld together to make a quite noteworthy album…” - Improper Bostonian Magazine
“…candidates for the next-big-thing include Vermont’s Belizbeha, with its slow-cooked platter of funk, soul, hip-hop and jazz.” - Denver Post
“There is something funky going on in New England…the band plays with an energy and uninhibitedness that augurs well for its live show.” - Portland Oregonian
“[Void Where Inhibited] reveals the seven piece band’s live musical mix and match with audacity and authority…a stunning new CD.” - The State (Columbia, SC)
“…delivers a true polychromatic sound marked by superb musicianship. Hip-hop rhymes glide gracefully over swinging jazz-funk grooves. Add in soulful female vocals and the result is devastating.” - The Charlotte Observer
“…if you dug Incognito, Jamiroquai, or the Brand New Heavies, then Belizbeha has your flavor…” - Rock Around the World (internet magazine)
“…the next sure thing…phat beats, fab vocals + energetic, very likeable personalities to make you groove ‘til you sweat.” - U: The National College Magazine
Click the covers below to listen to and purchase their albums:
2. EYE OH YOU
EYE OH YOU was the trio of emcees Fattie B. and the mighty Konflik combined with the turntable wizardry of the legendary DJ A-Dog. Each and every Thursday night from 2002 through 2005, the 3 friends would take over the bar Red Square on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont and bring the feel good vibes. They released two live albums (Just A Typical Red Square Thursday and Straight Through 'Til Early Friday Morning) and one studio album (Slide G.G. Slide).
Click the covers below to listen to their albums:
3. SOLO LP
In 2009, Fattie hit the studio to record a slew of new songs and (along with hits from his Numbskullz, Belizbeha and Eye Oh You days) put out the album WHAT'S THE SMELLY LELLY? He began performing the tracks out live with a band that included sax great Dave Grippo, guitar wizard Nick Cassarino and remarkable vocalist Jennifer Hartswick (in what would later evolve into Fattie B.'s BEAT BITERS).
Click the cover below to listen to this album:
4. DA' NUMBSKULLZ
In the early 90's, 2 friends from from rural Vermont who grew up loving Tribe Called Quest and Run-DMC formed a hip-hop duo known as Da' Numbskullz. This twosome would become the emcees in Burlington's iconic 90's band Belizbeha. However, before the Belizbeha days, these 2 college stoners recorded 3 albums worth of material at Low Tech studios on Main Street in Burlington with the help of the jedi studio tech Gus 'The Fog' Zeising. This collection, LOOOPS, is the greatest of the worst. The recordings are primitive and sound-challenged, but you can hear and feel their love for the genre in each track. Humble beginnings bring experience and wisdom.
Click the cover below to listen to this album: