Tag Archives: Clive Hunt

Massive reggae anthems on new compilation

untitledReggae powerhouse VP’s popular compilation series The Biggest Reggae One Drop Anthems is back after a four year hiatus. And it comes with a new approach.

The previous editions included previously released material from several different producers whereas this new set is solely produced by Jamaica’s legendary top producer Clive Hunt, responsible for reggae classics from The Abyssinians, Peter Tosh, Max Romeo and a bunch of others. And the material included is also exclusive to the compilation.

The Biggest One Drop Anthems 2015 showcases a strong selection of established singers along with newer artists like Ikaya, Jah Vinci and Randy Valentine.

The new concept is brilliant and the compilation includes not a weak moment. Therefore it’s difficult to pick one track over another, but certified killers include Ikaya’s pounding version of Steel Pulse’s Worth His Weight in Gold, Luciano’s soulful and inspired adaptation of Rod Taylor’s His Imperial Majesty, which turns into a lingering dub version, and energetic dancehall singer Jah Vinci’s sincere King’s Highway on which he shows his full range as a vocalist.

Definitely the most consistent One Drop Anthems released yet and I hope VP will continue this successful new model.

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Etana keeps rising

disc-3241-etana-i-riseOn February 25 last year I wrote that Etana’s at the time recently released album Better Tomorrow included her finest work yet. And I’m happy to say that she keeps rising for every album and that she has yet again exceeded expectations and that she continues to raise bar.

Etana has come a long way since her acclaimed debut album The Strong One, released in 2008. She has always had a stellar voice and has often been compared to U.S. neo soul singers like Alicia Keys and India.Arie. And Etana certainly has a truly soulful voice custom-made for slick ballads, but she’s equally at ease with harder and more roots-oriented material. That’s a vein that she has started to explore more and more in recent years. She has gone from being a neo-soul diva to a strong force in the ongoing roots reggae revival in Jamaica.

On her brand new fourth album I Rise she continues to work with one dedicated producer. On Better Tomorrow it was Shane C. Brown, and on I Rise it’s no other than Clive Hunt. A real veteran and by Etana described as ”the great, great, the god father of reggae, super talented, creative, rough, bad, but also very kind at the same time, Clive Hunt”.

He has made remarkable music for four decades working with the likes of Stevie Wonder, The Abyssinians, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Grace Jones and a truckload of others. Onboard is also a host of Jamaica’s finest musicians, including himself along with Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare and Dean Fraser.

Etana has a vocal strength and melodic power that is almost unique in contemporary reggae, and she’s today Jamaica’s leading female vocalist with her blend of infectious love ballads and harsh roots anthems.

Clive Hunt has created a versatile, yet consistent, set with rich arrangements and multi-layered grooves. The discofied reggae beat on the spiritual Emmancipation (Spoken Soul 11) is one of the most memorable moments. Another is On My Way, with its militant intro that makes me want to salute the talented forces behind this excellent album.

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Break down the barriers and explore Pierpoljak

Award-winning French singer Pierpoljak was in August treated with a 16 track best of compilation spanning over his more than 15 years in the music business, which includes more than ten albums.

The Best of Pierpoljak includes songs from six of his sets – Pierpoljak, Kingston Karma, Je fais c’que j’veux, Stim Turban, Je Blesserai personne and Légendaire Sérénade, which was released only last year. Three of these albums were recorded together with Jamaican producer and musician Clive Hunt.

Pierpoljak has actually worked extensively with several prominent Jamaican musicians over the years, including Dean Fraser, Leroy ”Horsemouth” Wallace and Earl ”Chinna” Smith. In 2007 he also put out Tuff Gong Blues, an album that included combinations with numerous contemporary Jamaican singers and deejays.

Nearly half of the new compilation consists of songs from his breakthrough set Kingston Karma released in 1998. It was supposedly a commercial success with hit songs such as Pierpoljak and Je sais pas jouer, a single that sold more than a million copies.

Even though Pierpoljak has recorded in English this album is sung almost exclusively in French. His biggest hits are also in French, and that is probably why he is well-known in France and other French speaking countries, while rather unknown in the rest of the world.

He has a soft voice and a smooth tone that flows effortlessly over the one drop riddims. Lyrically he deals with politics, injustice, love and relationships.

Since this is a best of album there are several highlights. Some of these include the hip-hop tinged combination with Blackman titled Petite luminosité, Je sais pas jouer with its swirling saxophone solo and Maman, where he sings in a Gyptian-like nasal tone.

Some artists keep within their mother tongue when it comes to lyrics and information. Though French is a global language, keeping away from English can still leave some barriers when it comes to reaching a truly global audience.

Pierpoljak is one such artist, and living proof that it is certainly worthwhile for reggae fans to make an effort to explore music behind those barriers.

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