The outspoken and controversial Tiken Jah Fakoly is on June 2 back with a new album titled Dernier appel, in English Last Call. He was born in Côte d’Ivoire and has been the victim of censorship, persecution and exile thanks to his confrontational style forthright lyrics.
The main theme on Dernier appel is whether Africa as a continent will take off and increase growth or if the countries will be characterized by misery, chaos and war, as shown by the recent conflicts in Mali and South Sudan.
Dernier appel offers ballads, roots reggae and Curtis Mayfield styled soul. It was recored in Bamako and Paris with production helmed by Jonathan Quarmby, who has previously worked with Tiken Jah Fakoly, but also Ziggy Marley, Finley Quaye and rock band Del Amitri. Guest artists include Patrice and Alpha Blondy.
The German reggae scene has been thriving for years, owing much the success of global reggae/pop phenomenon Gentleman, but also thanks to artists such as Jahcoustix, Patrice and Sebastian Sturm. The two former dropped albums in June and September respectively and now it’s time for Sebastian Sturm and his band Exile Airline to unleash the Jamaican produced set A Grand Day Out.
This 13 track set was recorded in Germany together with Stephen Stewart and Sam Clayton Jr and then mixed in Kingston by the same duo. The result shows a more reggae-oriented Sturm. The rock influences on Get Up & Going from 2011 are traded for a more pop-concerned approach with traces of both ska and soul. His love for Bob Marley-styled tonality and phrasing is however intact.
This is not a roots reggae album. Not by a far. It’s actually rather lightweight, but the melodies are infectiously catchy and I find myself both nodding my head and stomping my feet, especially to the rocking and well-arranged Sand in Their Machinery.
Music writers – myself included – usually like to label an artist to a specific genre. This is however a difficult task for German singer and songwriter Patrice and his new album The Rising of the Son. This set is far from cohesive and mixes a variety of different genres, some more bass heavy than others.
Patrice has described the album as a rebirth. And it certainly is. It doesn’t sound anything like his previously roots reggae oriented efforts. With The Rising of the Son he embarks on a new journey.
Patrice’s captivating voice and singing style owes quite a lot to Bob Marley. He often has the same intonation and phrasing. The music is nowadays far from this reggae icon.
On the lead single Cry Cry he forays into rebellious punky reggae heavily inspired by The Clash, while One Day, which features Jamaican super producer Don Corleon, boasts a pulsating Sly & Robbie groove. 1 in 7 is Eastern European flavoured ska and God Bless You La La La, with Cody Chesnutt singing the chorus, is more or less straight up rock.
The Rising of the Son sounds like a major label release. Most of the radio friendly tracks have serious hit potential and will probably appeal to fans of Jason Mraz and Bruno Mars, although this is a little edgier.