Tag Archives: Raphael

Solid second album from Raphael

unnamedItalian singer Raphael returns with a new album following his 2013 solo debut Mind Vs Heart. He has been active on the reggae scene for about 15 years and has with his former band Eazy Skankers dropped two sets.

Reggae Survival is a strong follow up and much more cohesive than its predecessor which was somewhat more eclectic. This is straight up contemporary and uplifting roots reggae with live instrumentation – including a brass section supervised by legendary Jamaican sax maestro Dean Fraser – and infectious melodies.

The album and its 14 tracks, including four skits and one dub version, was recorded between Jamaica, the U.S. and Italy and produced by Don Sugar and Raphael supported by Italy’s own Bizzarri Records and France’s Irie Ites.

Raphael turns his eyes on social rights, human values and universal love. On Who Dem a Pree he and Lion D criticizes an emerging Big Brother society and on Joka Soundbwoy Raphael teams up with Triston Palma for a rendition of the latter’s Joker Smoker. Best of the bunch is however Sweet Motherland, with its strong appeal to Raphael’s African origin, along with Rise Up and A Place For Me.

Italy’s reggae scene has obviously lots of talent. Alborosie is the most well-known example, but others, like Raphael and Lion D, are gearing up to face a global audience too.

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A positive solo debut from Raphael

CD101Italian singer Raphael has been on the scene for more than twelve years, but most people away from the Italian reggae scene has probably not heard much about him.

As part of Eazy Skankers he has put out two albums – To the Foundation in 2008 and Changes in 2011. And last year he dropped his debut solo set, a EP produced by Bizzarri Records and titled My Name is Raphael.

Apparently he has done something right because now he’s signed to IrieVibrations Records and his debut solo album Mind vs Heart has just reached the streets.

This 15 track set – 18 if you include three bonus cuts – is a catchy effort and very similar to IrieVibrations’ previous productions. It has a taste of R&B, soul, hip-hop and, nyabinghi and one drop reggae.

His singing style owes quite a lot to Bob Marley. He also tries to rap in the appropriately titled In Every Style. You have to give him credit for trying, but Raphael should stick to singing or maybe singjaying, as he also does on the same track. It works very well and he rides the bouncy riddim effortlessly.

Mind vs Heart is a rich, organic and mature solo debut with some crossover potential. Be sure to check it if you like well-produced European one drop.

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