Ben Harper

Benjamin Chase Harper was born in Claremont (California, USA) on October 28, 1969. In the back of the Folk Music Center, a musical instrument shop owned by his maternal grandparents Charles and Dorothy Chase, his mother Ellen teaches little Ben to play the guitar. Over time, she specialized in the use of slide guitar, as well as learning how to adjust every type of instrument that passes through the store. In 1992 she recorded the album “Pleasure and Pain” with her friend Tom Freund, folk guitarist. Ben Harper then received a contract proposal from Virgin Records, which released his debut album “Welcome to the cruel world” in 1994. The following year he released “Fight for your mind”, musically less immature and above all full of political commitment. Two years later “The will to live” was released. Until 1999 Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, so his band presents itself, are engaged in an incessant activity from vivom that sees them collaborate with numerous artists including R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Radiohead, The Fugees, and John Lee Hooker. In 1999 the album “Burn to Shine” is released. In 2001, after a long tour, his first live album was released, titled “Live from Mars”, a remarkable double record that includes an electric and an acoustic part, in which you can notice how much Ben gives importance to the live dimension of his songs. In 2003 his fame is now worldwide when he releases “Diamonds on the inside”, a record that sees the special appearance of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and offers various diversifications of styles, from reggae to funk: “I have spaced a lot. I went from Lee Perry’s roots reggae to French music by Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg. I’ve listened to a lot of Pearl Jam, Wilco, Jack Johnson, Beth Orton, Gillian Welch, Sly Stone…”, he’ll have a chance to declare. In 2004 Ben Harper collaborated with The Blind Boys of Alabama to produce a marked gospel album, “There will be a light”, a Grammy winner. In 2006 he released a new double album, “Both sides of the gun”, consisting of a funk album (black) and a slower ballad and song album (white), on December 23, 2005, in Los Angeles, he married Laura Dern, an actress who had been engaged to him for a long time. In 2007 he collaborated with the Italian Jovanotti playing the guitar in his song “Fango”. Together with Jovanotti, as a guest, he took the stage of the Ariston Theatre at the Sanremo Festival 2008. In March 2009 he released his new album “White lies for dark times”, recorded with the band Relentless7. He then performed at the Blues Music Awards ceremony, where the song No Mercy In This Land, written with Charlie Musselwhite, was named “song of the year”.In March 2019, We Get By, an album by Mavis Staples containing eleven tracks written and produced by Harper, was released. The track that gives the title to the album, with Harper himself as lead vocalist and protagonist of the official video clip, is released on May 15, 2019.

Discography

1992 – Pleasure and Pain
1994 – Welcome to the Cruel World
1995 – Fight for Your Mind
1997 – The Will to Live
1999 – Burn to Shine
2003 – Diamonds on the Inside
2004 – There Will Be a Light
2006 – Both Sides of the Gun
2007 – Lifeline
2009 – White Lies for Dark Times
2011 – Give Till It’s Gone
2013 – Get Up!
2014 – Childhood Home
2016 – Call It What It Is
2018 – No Mercy in This Land