Yesterday and today I had a smile on my face when I walked to work. Why? I was listening to Rob Symeonn’s uplifting third album Indigenous, a set produced by Sweden’s Jonahgold, Hawaii’s Jah Youth Productions and New York City’s Ticklah.
Jamaican ex-patriot Rob Symeonn has been recording for more than two decades, but is probably not a household name in the reggae industry, perhaps because he hasn’t been terribly productive. But his singles and albums have been very solid, and so is Indigenous.
The set holds a healthy 15 tracks, of which two are previously released singles and one already featured on Jah Youth’s Indo riddim album.
Despite being directed by three producers from different parts of the world, Indigenous is surprisingly consistent. It’s partly deep, dark and dubby, for example the haunting Life is Precious and the smoky Respect Due, but it’s also positive and uplifting, as in the skanking Grass is Greener or the joyous Because of You, a version of Japanese crooner Kyu Sakamoto’s 60s smash hit Ue o Muite Arukō aka Sukiyaki.
Rob Symeonn is a confident and sincere singer and this is certainly a strong set from an underrated and under recorded artist.