“Now don’t you call me no freaky, freaky dread, cos’ it’s only words of reality that me spread”
So goes the opening line in the track “Get Down to it” from the soon to be released debut album by Snypa Levi. Those few words probably best express the entertainer’s philosophy on life. He’s making the point, that although his dreadlocks reach the floor, he in no way wants to be thought of as freakish or gimmicky. He wishes to be seen for who he really is, just a simple family man, grounded in reality, who carries a message burning within him that he MUST share with all humanity.
Snypa Levi defies the current trend in pop culture towards decadence and fantasy. He instead, chooses to expose the emptiness of rampant materialism and self-centeredness, bringing to remembrance what the gift of life is really worth.
Born David Feci, (pronounced, Fetchy) in the city of San Jose, California U.S.A., of Italian – Portuguese heritage, the seeds of his musical interest were sown early in life. At age fourteen when he first heard the album Exodus by Bob Marley and the Wailers, his destiny was sealed. Moving to the seaside town of Santa Cruz, California while still in his teens, his love for reggae music was further cultivated through the local abundance of reggae both live and on the radio and also through his contact with the West Indian community. He would feel so inspired after attending shows by his heroes; Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Dennis Brown, Third World, Steel Pulse, Aswad, etc., that he would shut himself away in his bedroom for hours learning their songs on the guitar. At age 22, Snypa made the pilgrimage to Jamaica, absorbing the culture of the country districts as well as the streets of Kingston, event making it to the top of Blue Mountain Peak, Jamaica’s highest point.
In 1988 he immigrated to New Zealand, eventually settling Auckland. Not long after arriving, he became a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, an international Rastafarian organization with a branch in Auckland. With other Twelve Tribes members he formed the band Vision Africa, performing at venues and outdoor festivals in and around the city.
In June 1992, Snypa Levi and his ever-growing family shifted back to the
U. S. for 2 ½ years. During this period he teamed up with Jamaican M.C. “Mellow Max” Anderson, forming two bands; Mellow Maxx and the Mellow “D” Posse and the Enforcers. They played the various venues in the San Francisco – Monterey Bay Areas, occasionally being the support act for international touring groups; The Wailing Souls, Jimmy Cliff and Yellowman to name a few.
In 1995 his love for New Zealand brought him back. Full of inspiration from his California experience, he became determined to make his mark on the national music scene. In February 1996 he recorded 2 tracks at York St. Studios, Auckland; Rasta ...Be Militant and Deliver us Jah Jah. A later 1999 York St. session yielded 5 more cuts, which, with the material from the first session made up the E.P. One Desire.
In 1997 Snypa shifted to the Bay of Plenty, where he is now based. Soon after arriving in the Bay, he formed a reggae quartet, “DLB” (David Levi Band) and began playing the local pubs and maraes. He was presented with the Best Album award for the One Desire E.P. at the 2000 Bay of Plenty music awards and the Best Song
award for Every Youthman Stand Strong at the same event 12 months later. Both awards were judged by Midge Marsden and Eddie Rayner (Split Enz).
In March 2001, he began his involvement with Christchurch based Dubwize Soundsystem, performing as Papa Levi. In 2002, he got a taste of what it’s like to play to huge crowds, supporting Salmonella Dub on their Outside the Dubplates tour. At the end of 2002 Dubwize released the album To the Control Tower and 12 months later released Reality Chant, with Papa Levi as chief vocalist. Both albums were distributed in New Zealand by Festival Mushroom Records.
Following the release of Reality Chant, Dubwize has kept busy playing the major outdoor festivals around N.Z.; Kaikoura Roots, Raglan Soundsplash, Destination, Alpine Unity, Rippon and Parihaka. They’ve also supported acts as diverse as Lee Scratch Perry, Mad Professor, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Black Seeds, Trinity Roots, Solaa, Scribe and Blindspott. A video for the tune Dancehall State of Mind was shown on T.V. music channel C4.
Since the beginning of 2005, Snypa Levi has been steadily recording the songs that will comprise his upcoming solo album with producer/engineer Gabriel ‘Messenjah’ Calcott. Aiming for an early 2007 release, Snypa wants to take this album as far as it can go, seeking distribution not only in New Zealand but all points international. The positive feedback he receives from international visitors to New Zealand towards his music is fueling his desire to take his unique sound abroad.
Look out for Snypa Levi’s history making debut album in all major record stores...Blessed Love.