Senegalese singer Meta Dia started his music career rapping in the streets of Dakar. After a move to the U.S. and New York City in 2002 he fell in love with reggae and formed his band The Cornerstones and together they released their acclaimed debut album Forward Music in 2008.
Their second set Ancient Power – recorded in Jamaica with a number of notable musicians and produced by Meta Dia and Sidney Mills from Steel Pulse – arrived today after being delayed for almost a year.
I received a copy last year and instantly fell in love with the uplifting, warm sound, Meta Dia’s Bob Marley-tinged singing, his positive lyrics and approach and the soulful roaring groove. Unfortunately the track list on the almost flawless promo I received and the actual release differs a bit. Included now are at least three tracks that doesn’t belong there – the rock ballad Without Heart, its piano version and an odd live recording with poor audio quality.
Fortunately the rest of the album is dynamite and includes ten roots rocking minor masterpieces that would have made Bob Marley proud.
Ancient Power is solid and bright and manages to balance influences from the Caribbean, the U.S., the Middle East and Africa. Highlights include the upbeat Bound to Glory with a rocking slide guitar, the pumping Damian Marley combination My Beloved Africa and the mystic, nyabinghi-inspired title track, definitely one of the fiercest and greatest single tunes this year.
A great set that manages to excel the debut album. Available now on CD and digital platforms worldwide.