Tag Archives: Bring Back the Vibes

Alborosie brings forward a rootsy side of Lion D

unnamedItalian/Nigerian artist Lion D – one finest talents on the contemporary European reggae scene – has recently released his new album Heartical Soul, which follows the super solid Bring Back the Vibes, released two years ago.

About a year ago Lion D flew from Europe to Jamaica to hook up with fellow Italian musician Alborosie, who resides in Jamaica. He spent a month in Alborosie’s Shengen Studio in Kingston and the first cut from the collaboration was the uplifting title track, a song later followed by two other singles – the bouncy early 80s flavoured Ruff inna Town and the rootsy ganja anthem Blaze Up.

Heartical Soul is Lion D’s fourth album and his most rootsy set so far. His previous efforts have been hip-hop infused contemporary European one drop, while Heartical Soul is more Jamaican sounding.

Lion D is at the top of his game deejaying rather than singing as showcased on Ruff inna Town and Be Strong, on which he borrows from Anthony Red Rose and King Tubby’s smashing Tempo riddim.

This album comes with two standout Italian artists – Alborosie being one of the leading reggae artists today and Lion D who has now come on strong on two consecutive sets. With their passion for music and reggae they have created a Jamaican reggae album with sounds of roots, dancehall, ska and dub.

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Seriously deadly vibes on Lion D’s third album

liond-bringbackthevibesItalian/Nigerian singer and singjay Lion D’s third and latest album Bring Back the Vibes is a perfect example of how great contemporary European reggae can sound. It has the usual blend of one drop riddims, hip-hop, soul and dancehall, but this album also incorporates gospel and blues, mostly in the form of a sweet harmonica provided by Lee Jaffe, who played with Bob Marley and The Wailers.

The album aims to bring roots reggae and dancehall from the 80’s and 90’s into the spotlight. And the result is very successful, even though Bring Back the Vibes has a very contemporary feel with its high energy and hip-hop flavored beats.

It’s positive and conscious and Lion D deals with spirituality, romance, unity, equality, struggle for work – something German roots reggae singer Uwe Banton also did on his latest album Mental War – and self-respect, as in one of the album’s several highlights – No Bleaching Cream.

The tasty and tight riddims are mostly supplied by the Livity Band and composed by Magista. Onboard is also talented Jamaican singer Nikki Burt, who provides excellent harmonies on several songs, and a number of guest artists – Ras Tewelde, Gappy Ranks, Skarra Mucci and Blacky Grace.

The album collects 18 songs, of which two are short interludes from the cult motion picture Rockers and one a cappella intro and one acoustic outro. There are actually several acoustic efforts, and the ukulele-led So Beautiful sounds like someone has put Bruno Mars in a studio in Kingston.

The set mixes unreleased and already released material as well as relicks and fresh originals. A lethal hip-hop fueled version of Inner Circle’s monster hit Sweat (A La La La Long) turns up surprisingly, whereas versions of Carl Meeks’ Weh Dem Fah, Eek-A-Mouse’s Wa-Do-Dem, The Techniques You Don’t Care and Jackie Mitto’s Mission Impossible are more expected choices.

Lion D’s deep voice and phrasing sounds a bit like dancehall superstar Busy Signal, and where he uses the catchphrase “hotter” Lion D favors “wah dis” in a similar manner. Lion D is also – just as Busy Signal – a versatile performer that can go from singing to gruff deejaying in just a few.

The press release describes Lion D as one of the most promising talents on the international reggae scene. Not sure that’s true, but he’s definitely – along with artists like Skarra Mucci and Gappy Ranks – one of Europe’s most interesting individual artists and one to keep an eye on.

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