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“New territory in the collusion of art and Jamaican music.” – Jamaica Gleaner

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After combing the hills of Jamaica, the ocean lapped shores of the Pacific, the wide open spaces of North America and the far reaches of Europe, Soul of the Lion and Zoolook have unearthed a treasure trove of tunes. From roots and culture to dub,this is just the beginning of a musical voyage to accompany the adventures of Dread and Alive.

* * *

01: Mutabaruka – “Dis Poem”

Noted by Billboard Magazine as “Reggae’s premier dub poet”, Mutabaruka is a an internationally acclaimed poet, reggae performer, radio host on Jamacia’s #1 station IRIE FM, actor, social commentator, cultural spokesman and former visiting professor at the University of the West Indies. “Dis Poem” was one of his first to receive worldwide attention.

02 Turbulence – “On And On”

“On and On” is a special international effort in which a Jamaican contemporary reggae vocalist meets US-based record label (Itation Records) meets French production team (Tune In Crew). The result, a captivating ode to the Most High by one of Jamaica’s finest conscious vocalists, is part of Itation’s World Go Round riddim set and a crucial reason why the riddim won the 2008 United Reggae Roots Riddim of the Year.

03 Perfect – “Mount Zion”

Blessed with endless stores of lyrical creativity and a warm vocal presence, Perfect is comfortable in any situation. This is why linking with Jamaican-based French producer Sherkhan (Tiger Records) has been so rewarding. Taken from their recent release, French Connection, “Mount Zion” is a monumental achievement with poppy guitar riffs and seductive reggae drum-n-bass.

04 Abijah – “State of Emergency”

A focus on uplifting reality music has made Abijah one of Jamaica’s most well known cultural ambassadors in recent times. “State of Emergency” is signature Abijah with a poetic lyrical and ebb and flow matched by catchy hooks over a quintessential reggae riddim track.

05 Kiddus I – “Different Strokes”

A leading political activist of the 1970s, Kiddus I launched his international career with a guest spot on the hit 1977 reggae film, Rockers including a stunning live performance of the conscious reggae anthem “Graduation Unto Zion”. Fast forward to 2010 and hear Kiddus sing a new tune on “Different Strokes”, one far from controversy and recorded on Naya Records’ groovy, soulful riddim track produced by Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith and Nathan Sabanayagam for the album Green Fa Life.

06 Freddy Locks – “Wake Up”

Portuguese reggae singer Frederico Pedro Ferreira Oliveira, aka Freddy Locks, is keeping the conscious reggae vibe alive with a roots rock reggae flavor that belies its time and place. “Wake Up” is Freddy’s passionate call to all to “wake up and start living”!

07 Kenyatta Fire – “Keep Off My Enemies”

Kenyatta Fire’s eerily cool vibe on “Keep Off My Enemies” puts a contemporary R&B and Hip Hop spin on modern roots reggae with magnetic results. Ambient production that test the electronic boundaries of the music rounds off the edges of Kenyatta’s hard hitting lyrics for an inspiring and innovative sound.

08 Odel – “Fire In The Hole”

Rockers unite! “Fire In The Hole” carries the swing of conscious reggae music from the golden era. An official song of the non profit MgM (Menschen gegen Minen/ People against Landmines), “Fire In The Hole” is also a poignant reminder of the power of reggae’s message in music today.

09 Bunny Rugs – “Curfew”

Bunny Rugs, of international pop reggae group Third World, has built a career on, and dedicated himself to, using music to highlight and bring attention to issues of human rights. Recorded in 2010, “Curfew” creatively intersects popular culture and current events, for a rocking tune that gives a voice to the voiceless.

10 Jahmali – “World Spins Round”

Roots reggae music has long had a close relationship with soul. Jahmali is an excellent example of the current generation of Jamaica’s soulful leanings. On “World Spins Round” Jahmali holds nothing back, going toe to toe with both wide ranging guitar riffs and piano solos for a rewarding journey from reggae to soul to rock and back.

11 Erup – “Trample Dem” (featuring Nature)

Billboard charting dancehall reggae artist Erup (“Click Mi Finger”on Truckback Records Gearbox Riddim) returns with a superb example of modern reggae vibes. Erup’s edgy modern-day message of resistance is complemented perfectly by the soaring vocals of Nature over a bubbly reggae beat.

12 Lady Saw – “Lord, Lord”

Considered reggae royalty for years, Lady Saw she wears her crown well. No nonsense from beginning to end, “Lord, Lord” is a wild whirlwind of reggae, gospel and dancehall from the international smash Gearbox Riddim.

BONUS TRACKS (CD ONLY)

13 I Octane – “Stab Vampire” (bonus track, CD-only)
I Octane represents the current generation of conscious reggae vocalists driving the development of roots reggae in Jamaica. And “Stab Vampire”, which was one of a clutch of hits recorded over Arrows Records’ Tears Riddim and topped local and international charts when first released in 2007, is widely recognized as the tune that propelled I Octane into the leadership role.

14 Lutan Fyah – “Jah Will” (bonus track, CD-only)
When conscious reggae music needed a spark, Lutan Fyah (born Anthony Martin) re-energized the genre with hard-hitting messages softened by catchy hooks and a magnetic lyrical flow. Recorded over Tune In Crew’s supernatural drum and bass lines, “Jah Will” is an Itation Records release on the Clearly Riddim that captures the very same dread and ‘fyah’ principles of Dread & Alive’s super hero, Drew Mcintosh.

15 Toussaint – “Be You” (bonus track, CD-only)
With a husky tenor that is the epitome of soul, and musical influences that range from roots reggae to gospel to hip hop, Toussaint carries a sound true to his nickname, “the Liberator”. Recorded for the Virgin Islands-based I Grade Records, “Be You” demonstrates Toussaint’s amazing reggae/soul vocal range but also the importance of I Grade’s critically acclaimed musical foundation.

16 SOJA – “Rest Of My Life” (bonus track, CD-only)
Jamaican reggae music unites people of all countries, all races, and all religions with a sound that is dedicated to searching for the answers to life, to conflict, to humanity, to the world, to love. From their base in Washington D.C., SOJA is on the forefront of this revolution and the song “Rest Of My Life’ is a fitting example of how reggae music crosses all boundaries while not losing sight of core musical and social principles.