Tag Archives: Alaine

Lots of love on Alaine’s Ten of Hearts

disc-3232-alaine-ten-of-heartU.S. born and Jamaican bred songstress Alaine rose to prominence ten years ago with the beautiful No Ordinary Love on Don Corleon’s Seasons riddim. Several successful singles for him followed, including Without You on Changes riddim, Sincerely on Love Potion riddim, Whine on Sweat riddim and Heavenly on the riddim with the same title.

She has dropped two albums and collaborated with a broad variety of producers. And on her brand new third studio album Ten of Hearts – actually scheduled for release last year – she continues to work with a number of different producers.

Ten of Hearts boasts no less than nine different ones – Shane C. Brown, Jordan McClure and David Hale for Chimney Records, Andrew “Anju Blaxx” Myrie for UIM Records, Craig and David Harrisingh for Daseca Productions, Andre “DJ Frass” Gordon, Tony Kelly and Dean Fraser.

Nine different producers is not out of the ordinary in reggae and sometimes is a recipe  for a rather non-cohesive effort, but Alaine and her manager Shane C. Brown have managed to put out a modern and well-balanced album offering a mix of melancholic reggae and dancehall.

Alaine has been singing and writing songs for ten years. Love has been a popular topic and still is. Ten of Hearts is a summarizing title and it’s mostly about romancing. She sings about love between people as well as universal love between mankind. It’s sensual and romantic with several slow and catchy whine waisters and bedroom teasers.

Alaine is a talented and gifted singer with a clean and stylish tone. And therefore it’s a pity that a few cuts are showered with auto-tune. Sometimes it works well, the moody Sidewalk Hotel, and sometimes it might have been better avoided, the Dre Island-combination Like a Drum.

Ten of Hearts is a solid set with a heap of infectious tunes, but none quite reach the heights of her work with Don Corleon.

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The second day of Uppsala Reggae Festival belonged to the veterans

Abyssinians performing live at Uppsala Reggae Festival 2010. Photo by Stefan Gunnarsson, Reggaefoto.se

The second day of Uppsala Reggae Festival was a night of highs and lows, from big acts to smaller ones. But the night belonged to the reggae veterans – from Abyssinians and Bunny Wailer who have been in the business since the 60’s to Midnite and Peetah and Gramps Morgan, who started in the later half of the 80’s.

The elderly gentlemen behind monster tune Satta Massagana made for Friday’s high point. Their concert was backed by a young and hungry band with live saxophone and trombone who treated the audience to lots of great music from their well filled treasure chest, for example Declaration of Rights with its haunting organ and three versions of Satta Massagana. The last version bursts out into a bass pumping percussion extravaganza by Bernard Collins and the Manning brothers.

The big disappointment was VI roots reggae pioneers Midnite. Their concert began ten to seven, ten minutes ahead of schedule. This probably surprised many of the attendants, and although some rushed to the area, it never got crowded below the stage. This was perhaps also due to Midnite’s lack of energy, humour and vitality. Front man and lead singer Vaughn Benjamin seemed distant and may as well have been sitting in his car singing songs of freedom, oppression and propaganda to himself. Sure, Midnite’s music is introvert and unusually monotonous, which makes it difficult to convey live. However, it doesn’t get better when they insist on playing all their songs at full-length, which means no more than ten songs in 70 minutes. Not surprising, the audience decided to do something else.

This evening’s biggest surprise was Voicemail, a dancehall outfit on European tour to honour their recently deceased member O’Neil Edwards. The group tours with talented songstress Alaine who charmed the audience for the first part of the concert. When Voicemail took the stage they showed amazing energy and skilled showmanship, and got the entire audience to follow almost every move or call and response they made. It actually seemed like a very few wanted to leave the tent scene when Bunny Wailer entered the main stage.

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Reggaens drottningar tar allt mer plats

marcia_griffithsStora delar av musikbranschen är mansdominerad. Tänk bara på sådana tokmanliga genrer som hip-hop och hårdrock (glamrock naturligtvis undantaget).

Reggaen är inget undantag. Det finns ytterst få – om ens någon – världsberömd reggaesångerska.

Den jag direkt funderar på är Rita Marley, och hon är egentligen mest känd som Bob Marleys hustru snarare än sin egen karriär. Visst, hon var en tredjedel av I Threes och gjorde även gräsklassikern One Draw, men inte mycket mer än så.

En av de första reggaesångerskorna var framlidna Anita ”Marguerita” Mahfood. Hon spelade inte in mycket, men hann bland annat göra Woman a Come som släpptes i mitten av 60-talet. Marguerita är inte mest känd för sin musik – ärligt talat var hon en rätt usel sångerska – utan för att ha bragts om livet av Skatalites-trombonisten Don Drummond.

Efter Marguerita klev ett antal riktigt duktiga sångerskor fram i rampljuset. Marcia Griffiths tog täten och bär i dag ibland titeln The First Lady of Reggae. Hon hade under 60- och 70-talen hitlåtar som Feel Like Jumping samt Bob Andy-duetten Young, Gifted & Black.

Tillsammans med Marcia Griffiths fanns även Joya Landis, Nora Dean och Phyllis Dillon. Den här kvartetten utökades med åren och sångerskor som Judy Mowatt och Susan Cadogan tillkom.

Men där slutar listan över 1900-talets mer kända kvinnliga reggaeartister. Visst bjöd både 80-och 90-talen på några mer uppmärksammade talanger, men ingen som kom i närheten av 60- och 70-talets drottningar.

Det finns dock positiva tecken på en att något har hänt, eller håller på att hända, inom den moderna reggaen. Alaine, Etana, Tami Chynn, Dezarie, Tessanne Chin, Tanya Stephens och Ce’Cile samt de båda drottningarna Omega och Ifrica är bara några namn som klättrat på topplistorna.

Antalet sångerskor som klivit fram under 00-talet är nästan större än under hela 1900-talet.etana

Det är en fantastisk utveckling som jag hoppas fortsätter och inte låter sig stoppas av den rådande manliga dominansen inom reggaen.

Nyfiken hur reggaens drottningar låter? Ladda in den här Spotify-spellistan så får du höra klassiker som Champion Lover med Deborahe Glasgow och Hurt so Good med Susan Cadogan samt mer okända guldkorn som Shining Light med Queen Omega och Woman of the Ghetto med Hortense Ellis.

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