Meet Hilight Tribe, Trance in its Most Natural Form

hilight tribe saluting the crowd
Image by @bc_visual_

Playing what they call “natural trance,” Hilight Tribe is an instrumental trance group active since 1995 and still blowing people’s minds.

When the Goa psy trance scene was peaking in the late 90’s early 2000’s, a group of teenagers learned to play psy trance riffs on multiple instruments and loaded them with FX and triggers.

Natural, organic trance from Hilight Tribe

The result is natural or organic trance that is, according to their latest Trancentral interview, “a crisp alchemy of vocals, string instruments, percussion, glitches and psychedelic effects.”

Currently on tour, we delve into the band to learn about their amazing display of musical skill, their greatest hits and where you can see them play next.

A message of peace and unity between all cultures

Hilight Tribe and a few of their instruments
Meet Hilight Tribe and a few of their instruments

Hilight Tribe are and always have been a bridge to other cultures. Inspired by their travels, their music is an interpretation of traditional music from around the world into an electronic format. To us, it sounds very much like “live psy-trance” and believe us, it works.

The band is made of five members Greg (aka Greg Hilight), Ludo Ji, Seb, Roots, and Rishnu, including their sound engineer Mathias. With all of them playing live, they use a sound mixing desk to make just about anything possible.

The types of instruments they use include digeridoo, djembe, guitar, congas, drumsets and bass. All of these, played without metronome or time clock, allow them to switch rhythms, surf between tracks and improvise.

Some Hilight Tribe history leading to their biggest hits

Maha Wave album cover 1999
Maha Wave was their first album recorded in 1999

Recording their first two albums Maha Wave (1999) and Stellar Rain (2000) “on top of a mountain in Ibiza” gave them global recognition in the community. And the timing was perfect.

It allowed them to perform at huge events with big names and take part in psy trance festivals Boom and Ozora from their very beginnings. Their travels through the Himalayas, West Africa and elsewhere inspired them to then release the 3rd LP Love Medicine and Natural Trance (2002) resulting in ‘Free Tibet’ becoming a huge hit.

The remix of their track “Free Tibet” by the psy duo Vini Vici has over 79 million hits on Spotify and 136 million views on YouTube.

Another one of the big hits online was via the Armin van Buuren vs Vini Vici feat. Hilight Tribe “Great Spirit” ranking at 172 million views. It’s the traditional meeting modern style that fits surprisingly well and feels so good to hear.

Luminessence (2023) album release

Hilight Tribe have 9 studio albums including their latest album Luminescence released in March 2023.

African, almost Sahelien, vibes kick the album off. Smart sounding flutes, vocal interjections and slapping live bass courses through your headphones. Luminessence allows you to travel “from Africa to India, Mongolia and beyond”.

It is mixed and arranged by Morad Bensaoud, a producer that has been working with Hilight Tribe since 2007.

Here’s a few YouTube comment excerpts which impeccably sum up the album:

@st33lz0r: “Puts a nice smile on. Classic vibes.

@aurel-bad5051: “Y’a pas un track à jeter c’est banger sur banger”

@egcowling9657: Futuristic human tribal

Catch Hilight Tribe playing live summer 2023

Hilight Tribe album launch tour dates 2023
Hilight Tribe album launch tour 2023

Hearing them live at Earth Garden Festival in Malta was the blessing of the start of summer. Dancing comes easy with Hilight Tribe. Before you know it, you find them amongst the top of your favorite live performances.

I would personally like to see them again. In my opinion if you aren’t familiar with trance there is no better introduction and if are someone that already enjoys psy-trance this will be a treat. In any case, their concept of live instrumental trance quickly turns skeptics into dancers.

Find their announced 2023 tour dates above. They are originally from France so that explains all the shows there. Rave on!

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Written by Luc Rouffaud

Luc Rouffaud is the founder of Underground Sound and has six years of experience in the music industry, particularly running a music publication and marketing events.

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