Sweden isn’t necessarily known for its huge reggae scene. But there are a great number of producers, artists, musicians and sound systems that have started to make themselves heard in the last couple of years. The most well-known is without a doubt dancehall star Million Stylez, who scored a huge hit in 2006 with Miss Fatty.
A more recent talent is female singer Hanouneh, who dropped her debut album Love & War in February. This album contains a healthy 12 tunes, several of them firmly rooted in one drop reggae, but with obvious influences from hip-hop, RnB, dancehall and some Middle Eastern flavour.
On top of these riddims are Hanouneh’s patois infused, laid back, almost nonchalant, voice. She sounds remarkably relaxed. Just listen to Getting Ready for War. Hanouneh doesn’t care. She just does her thing, whether you like it or not.
In November last year she got some attention in Jamaica because of the Promoe duet Real Gaza Me Seh, a tune about the real Gaza, and not the Gaza Vybz Kartel and many other Jamaicans refer to. Real Gaza Me Seh is one of the several highlights on Love & War and was supposedly an anthem during Ship to Gaza last year.
Love & War blends the work of seven different producers, six of them from Sweden. This could easily boil down to an inconsistent album. And sure, Love & War might not have a clear thread. But that doesn’t really matter when the material is so strong that you continue to push your fingers red on the repeat button.