Tag Archives: United States of Africa

Luciano strikes twice in 2010

Luciano recently dropped his second album in 2010 and I must admit that I was a bit skeptical about Write My Name when I first read about it. Why? Luciano has put out too many mediocre albums in recent years. In my view the Frenchie produced set United States of Africa – released in July – was his first great album since Serious Times that dropped in 2004.

So I naturally thought that Write My Name would be a huge disappointment. But I was mistaken. Seriously mistaken. Because Write My Name is a great album. Maybe not as great as United States of Africa, but definitely one of Luciano’s better albums in the 21st century.

Write My Name is produced by Rawle Collins and was recorded in Atlanta, U.S. All compositions are fresh and written by Luciano himself. This is makes this set a bit different from the Frenchie album, which included some previously released tunes co-written by others.

Album starter Taking Off sets the pace. Its slow, almost musical, beginning is just a chimaera. After 20 seconds its driving chorus is in full swing and Luciano certainly shows who’s the man.

From there on it’s a very pleasant journey with some great one drop riddims, nyabinghi flavor and 70’s soul. Check Miles Away with its sneaking beat and sensual groove.

The one thing this album lacks though is some horns. Now these arrangements are handled by keyboard which is not nearly as good as the original thing.

Luciano has once again proven that he is a force to be reckoned with in reggae music.

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Luciano is troubled by the state of the world

Luciano is one of the most successful modern roots singers and has recorded several well-acclaimed albums since the 90’s. On his latest album – United States of Africa – he takes a political approach. Reggaemani has talked to him on the state of the world and his ideas for change.

One Way Ticket, Where There is Life, Sweep Over My Soul, Serious Times and now United States of Africa. The list of great albums from  Jamaican conscious singer Luciano is long,  probably due to his intense recording during many years and – of course – great voice and sense for melodies.

Luciano is in the UK with fellow singer Mikey General to do a concert in honour of the late and great Lincoln “Sugar” Minott. When in the UK he’ll also record some dub plates and new 45’s.

Personality shows on the new album
United States of Africa has received great reviews around the world and many seem to regard it one of his best albums yet.

− Even John Masouri said it had great vibes, laughs Luciano over the phone, and explains the success factors:

− I’ve been able to express myself more with these roots riddims and I think my personality comes out well. It’s a selection of original riddims that run right through my veins.

Luciano says he has matured a lot since the last album and that he has done United States of Africa for his people.

− You can’t always sing about going to Zion. Many young people see me as a messenger and I have to sing about what happens in the world, he explains.

Important message
Luciano is in a great mood and is keen to talk about the new album and the core message of it; a unification of Africa.
 
− I think there is hypocrisy in the world. You talk about one Europe and one world order. But it’s a shame and disgrace what happens in Mama Africa. Mama Africa is still suffering and no one is realizing it, he states and gives an example:
 
− For example, there’s no picture of me on the album. These are serious matters and I want a unification of our people.

“Corruption has gone out of hand”
Luciano is obviously interested in politics, so I asked him about his view of U.S. President Barack Obama.
 
− It was time for a change in the U.S. There have been too many plutocrats and bureaucrats and the whole world is affected by the U.S. For example, people turn a blind eye on the oil spilling. But it doesn’t only affect the U.S. It’s travelling along the waters and causes a big threat.
 
He’s now excited and talks considerably faster. It’s hard to follow all his reasoning. To get things even more interesting I decide to ask him about Jamaican politics.
 
− Brother Erik, I’m glad you asked. There’s a pressure in Jamaica right now. There’s financial strain. Every country that Jamaica owes money has come to collect it. This is therefore reflected in the streets, he says and continues:
 
− The corruption has got out of hand and I think it’s too late now. Sedentary is a word that describes the situation well.
 
To solve the problems he has a simple and illustrative idea.
 
− I think you have to straighten where it’s crooked.

Vote for the Almighty
Luciano is troubled by the corruption in the world and explains that there are at least three professions that need attention from politicians.
 
− Corruption is everywhere in the world and I believe that the governments need to pay more attention to sports, nurses and musicians – people who are not getting paid properly. Artists are due to get the respect they deserve, he explains in a serious tone and then adds:
 
− The government just turns a blind eye on musicians! It’s a joke!
 
Several of Luciano’s albums are religious so it’s no surprise who he votes for.
 
− I vote for the Almighty. A bureaucratic government doesn’t work; it has to be ruled by the Almighty.

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Luciano toughens up on United States of Africa

VP Records has almost sneaked out the new album from veteran singer Luciano and United States of Africa does not seem to have received the same promotion as I-Ternal Fire by Capleton or sensation Romain Virgo’s self-titled debut.

The new album shows a tougher side of Luciano compared to the smooth Dean Fraser productions on Jah is My Navigator from 2008. This time the production duties is mainly handled by Frenchie from Maximum Sound and the rhythms are provided by some of Jamaican’s top musical talents – Sly & Robbie, Dean Fraser, Robbie Lynn and Mafia & Fluxy

Frenchie utilizes some of his finest one drop rhythms. Among them I Know My Herbs, Vineyard Town and Zion Train. It also includes relicks of some great vintage rhythms, such as Creation Rebel, A Cup of Tea and the hard-hitting World A Music, probably best know for Welcome to Jamrock by Damian Marley. These strong rhythms combined with Luciano’s great voice is a perfect match.

On Luciano’s God is Greater Than Man album from 2007 he proved that he can handle rocksteady. On United States of Africa he proves it once again and actually even better this time. Moving On, produced by Chris Peckings, is a beautiful version of the Treasure Isle classic Only A Smile and makes a great soundtrack for the summer.

This is a powerful album that showcases Frenchie’s solid rhythms and Luciano’s vocal and lyrical capabilities. Don’t let this one slide.

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