Tag Archives: Meta & The Cornerstones

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Record reviews

Half-year report 2013 – 15 best albums yet

The first six months of 2013 have offered a number of glorious albums from Jamaican, U.S. and European artists and producers. My 15 favorites are listed below and if you’re curious about how it sounds you’re more than welcome to check the accompanying Spotify playlist here, where a majority of the releases are included. You can also check a review of each album by clicking the link to the set.

The list includes no reissues and is in no particular order.

Captain Sinbad – Reggae Music Will Mad Unu!
This veteran deejay made his musical comeback for Frenchie more than 20 years after his latest release. The LP and the version for digital platforms have different track lists, and I suggest you check out the vinyl version.

Cornel Campbell – New Scroll
The sweet high tenor voice courtesy of Cornel Campbell is set to magnificent music from the highly talented production trio Zion I Kings.

Jahcoustix – Frequency
German singer Jahcoustix wanted to make a more diverse album, but Frequency is his most consistent and cohesive set yet.

Trinity – Eye to Eye
Gruff voiced pioneering deejay Trinity teamed-up with Irie Ites for this retro sounding musical feast.

Malika Madremana – The Race
High school teacher by day and singer by night. Judging by this wonderful album Malika Madremana should focus on her music.

Meta & The Cornerstones – Ancient Power
Bob Marley-sounding Meta Dia moved from his home country Senegal to New York City and was exposed to an array of musical styles. His second album is roots reggae at its finest.

Jah Sun – Rise as One
Best album yet from this reliable U.S. deejay.

Lion D – Bring Back the Vibes
Rising star on the European and global reggae scene that has managed to make a catchy album full of foundation vibes.

Chezidek  The Order of Melchezedik
In 2010 Chezidek teamed-up with Dutch label JahSolidRock for his critically acclaimed album Judgement Time. In April this year the same label dropped Chezidek’s new album The Order of Melchezedik, and needless to say – they put out another powerful set of Rasta anthems.

The Lions – This Generation
13 musicians and four lead singers were involved the making of this soulful album that could be cherished by youths and elders alike.

Black Roots – On the Ground in Dub
One of the best UK reggae bands that reunited last year for the album On the Ground. This is the heavy dub version that contains some inspired mixing.

Etana – Better Tomorrow
Etana’s most cohesive yet and offers a soulful something for everyone.

Protoje – The 8 Year Affair
One of the leaders of the new generation of Jamaican conscious artists. This, his second album, is darker and heavier compared to his debut album The 7 Year Itch.

Jah9 – New Name
Debut album from the conscious Jah9. Her jazzy and breezy voice floats over hard riddims produced by Rory from Stone Love.

Lloyd Brown – New Veteran
Probably one of the most consistent artists – in any genre – in the world. Lloyd Brown usually drops at least one album per year and the quality is remarkably high.

Leave a comment

Filed under Columns

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.

2 Comments

Filed under Record reviews