Various World Reggae

Jimmy Cliff once said that when he went to Africa he realised where reggae came from. Since it was distilled in Jamaica in the ’60s, reggae has been adopted internationally by like-minded musicians. World Reggae features artists from five African nations, Europe, South America and India, each heavily influenced not only by reggae's sound, but also by its social and political discourse. The album starts off with relative newcomers Kana and their song "Pas de Problemes” off their excellent release, Entre Freres. Like many bands on this compilation, the French seven-piece make reggae their own. Brazilian Alê Muniz's track "Maguinha do Sá Viana" is a delicious mix of old and new. Cliff originally took reggae to Brazil very early in his career and was a superstar there several decades ago. The music has been popular ever since. Muniz has adopted the reggae style but uses it to reinterpret his own region's folk music, ending with a pop hybrid of the two styles. While Ivory Coast's Alpha Blondy needs no introduction, his "Lalogo,” recorded at Tuff Gong studios in Kingston, is another good example of an artist able to invent a new style out of cultural pluralism. To juxtapose this is Nigeria's Majek Fashek, an artist who never really got over his love for Studio One. Fashek starts his song "African Unity" with a direct musical quote from "Monkey Man" and proceeds with a Marley-approved lyric. Fashek has made his career on sounding like the Wailers, in particular his Marley-esque vocal style. World Reggae brings together many ways to interpret reggae's infectious music but is only the tip of the iceberg. Several box sets would be needed to begin to demonstrate the effect this music has had upon the world. (Putumayo)