Benin-born singer Joe Pilgrim spent his childhood in France and started to sing in church at a tender age. At the age of 17 he discovered reggae and has since worked with loads of artists and producers. And last year he was actually involved in no less than three full-length albums – The Good, The Bad & The Addict by Pilah & Joe Pilgrim, Maÿd Hubb & Joe Pilgrim’s Mellowmoon and Joe Pilgrim & The Ligerians’ Intuitions.
Best of the bunch is by far Intuitions and it sounds like nothing Joe Pilgrim has recorded previously. He has mostly voiced heavy and hard dub cuts. Intuitions is something completely else.
The album is divided in four chapters – Illusions and Crises, The Sparkling Light, Intuitions and Incarnations – and is a throwback to 70s Jamaica, especially the sounds of Israel Vibration, but also Culture and Burning Spear. We’re talking dread roots with sweet harmonies and spiritual and humanistic messages overcoming hardships of life and global social justice along with shortcomings contemporary society.
The musicianship on Intuitions is sublime – just listen to the marvelous break and the superb horns in Blind Civilization – and Joe Pilgrim has one of those up-in-the-hills singing styles. This album is yet another proof of the thriving and fantastic French reggae scene.
Rod Anton & The Ligerians are back with a new album, following their debut set Reasonin’ and its dub counterpart put out in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Wevolution is a visionary album with a critical approach set to militant riddims and beautiful harmonies. It’s largely focused on the importance and significance of individual actions in the struggle for changing the way people live in the industrialized world. Rod Anton cries for an ecological and environmental revolution and reminds us that we have a common responsibility to preserve and save the planet.
According to Rod Anton every step is important and every opinion expressed matters, and he criticizes the use of plastics, the oil industry and capitalism as well as pointing finger to news media for being one-sided and focusing on scandals.
Wevolution is a political statement and Rod Anton is a political activist, but he also shows other sides, for example the passionate Smooth but Revolutionary, about his love for reggae music.
Their debut album featured prestigious guests such as Max Romeo, Vaughn Benjamin of Midnite and The Congos. The latter two are also featured on Wevolution – Vaughn Benjamin makes an environmental statement on Agricultural Irony and Cedric Myton from The Congos, who is something of an artistic godfather of Rod Anton’s singing style, calls for unity on Come Together.
Rod Anton high and nasal singing style might be something of an acquired taste, but the skillful arrangements and the stripped down riddims and dubby mixing should appeal to a broader base.
On his debut album Reasonin’ Portuguese/French singer Rod Anton has received some guiding light from no other than the legendary Congos, a trio that with last year’s We Nah Give Up proved that they’re still in great shape.
On Reasonin’ they supply both backing and lead vocals, and I guess it’s no coincidence that they collaborate with Rod Anton – his voice is very similar to Cedric Myton’s distinct falsetto.
The album was recorded in France, Jamaica and the U.S. and the warm, solid backing is provided by The Ligerians and echoes of 70’s Jamaica. Rod Anton sings in English as well as his native Portuguese and has apart from the Congos also invited Max Romeo and Vaughn Benjamin of Midnite to share microphone duties with him.
Max Romeo’s emotional, rugged voice contrasts nicely with Rod Anton. He turns up on Mr. Richman, with a lead guitar that sounds like a stoned Dick Dale, and the excellent Holy City, with a sublime clavinet solo and a skanking rock solid bass line.
Reasonin’ collects 14 tunes of, which three are interludes with a reasonin’ theme and two dub versions. Three of the vocal cuts are also extended.
Rod Anton’s debut album was preceded by two strong EP’s – one in 2010 and one in February this year – and he has managed to excel once again. Reasonin’ is yet another example of the vital French roots reggae scene.