Senegal-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.