Reggae from the Virgin Islands is often equated with highly productive Midnite. But if you scrape the surface, there are several golden nuggets. NiyoRah from the tiny island of St Thomas is such a hidden gem.
On the new album Feel Your Presence – his third – he has outdone himself. Feel Your Presence sees the coexistence of creativity, new rhythms and talented musicians such as Earl “Chinna” Smith with NiyoRahs distinctive expression – he is an almost equally good singer as he is singjay. However, it is in his explosive singjay style he is at his best. Listen for example to his clattering delivery in the political Propaganda or singing in beautiful Capture the Moment.
Feel Your Presence is in contrast to his earlier works recorded in Jamaica. Actually at the famous Tuff Gong studio. In the producers chair you don’t find former partner Laurent “Tippy” Alfred of I Grade Records, but Jamaican Andrew “Bassie” Campbell, producer and musician who, among other things, has toured with Junior Reid and Yami Bolo. And he has done an excellent job with this album.
The production is smart and creative. I tend not be particularly fond of guitars in the forefront of the mix, but this time it works really well in several tracks. Stolen Legacy is a vague remainder of the sad guitar loop in Don Corleone’s rhythm Heavenly and Indigenous World is based solely on percussion.
As the crown of the work, Feel Your Presence features legend Sugar Minott and the angry Jah Mason on one track each. A dub version is also featured. No One Go Round the Track is just over six minutes and the last two and half is dub produced in Jamaica. Yep, you read it right. Hope it will become a trend.
Feel Your Presence is available through iTunes and eMusic. The physical cd release is on June 29.