Tag Archives: Meta Dia

Superb new album from Meta & The Cornerstones

unnamedSenegal-born – nowadays U.S. resident – Meta Dia and his Cornerstones impressed on their superb second album Ancient Power, released in 2013 and reissued last year with two previously unreleased songs.

Their new album Hira is in the same vein as its predecessor – uplifting, empowering and sweetly skanking roots reggae highly influenced by Bob Marley & The Wailers. Listen to the monumental Addis State of Mind and you’ll get the picture. It has all the right ingredients – a rock-solid bass line, breezy horns and beautiful backing vocals.

Hira is a global effort mixing many genres – including bossa nova, flamenco, jazz and rock – with a backbone of roots reggae. Musicians from all over the world lend their talents to the album, which was recorded, mixed and mastered in the UK, the Netherlands, Jamaica, France and the U.S. Meta Dia produced the album and the great Shane Brown mixed the set together with Bonzai Caruso.

This could have been a non-cohesive effort because of its many influences, but Meta Dia manages to keep the perfect balance between reggae and other influences, just like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh did.

A number of the songs give goosebumps. The Fig And The Olive Tree is one such, Spirit of the Light, Zion Stereo, Bilal and Mind Your Business are four others. The list could actually go on and on.

Essential. And probably even stronger than Ancient Power.

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Solid roots reggae grooves from Meta & The Cornerstones

pochette_cartonSenegalese 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.

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