SHOK WAVE is your weekly new REGGAE music blog. SHOK WAVE finds music that is out there in the form of Reggae, Dancehall, Soca, Ska, Dub, Reggae Rock & anything else musical with a Caribbean origin and in any language.
Here is what we found this week.......Enjoy!
Ras Michael "Live By The Spirit"
Ras Michael is a testament and father to nyabinghi drumming. Nyabinghi is actually the name of a legendary Ugandan Queen who resisted African colonial authorities and it inspired Jamaican rastas to celebrate groundations with nyabinghi chants and the 3 drums accompanied these chants. The bass, funde & ketteh and this is rooted also in Ashanti dance. This album is a documentation to save the art of nyabinghi. The album opens with the Gospel of 'Nicodemus' in a very traditional & slower nyabinghi drumming style that emphasizes giving Jah love and you will see Jah Glory. A subtitle for this album could easily be the 'History of the Drum Music.' The RAS explains it in this song, so to truly learn one must listen. There's a hypnotizing feel and sound to nyabinghi drumming. The reason is to put ones in a meditative state. Witness that in the 'Nyabinghi Instrumental.' I love the flute in this song as well: it is very soothing. The music can be very melodic as well as heard in 'Press Along Saints' which breaks into the traditional, classic rasta hymn 'Babylon Burning.' This style of drumming syncopates the hearts and minds of those involved to 'Be As One' and Ultimately, it's about 'Thou Art Worthy To Be Praised' and the glory of Jah as we praise him....haleluJah!!! 'By The Rivers Of Babylon' is a Rastafarian song adapted from the Psalms 19 & 137. It was originally written & recorded by The Melodians in 1970. Many of the prophecies of Marcus Garvey are revealed and sung here. One of those is to 'Take Me Back To Africa.' Lastly, it is the title track and the wise words of RAs Michael 'Live By The Spirit.' Just listen to the drum and be taken away as these are your typical songs and typical timely tracks, these are a sample of the nyabinghi sessions that go on for days & songs can go for hours.
Having released 26 albums, Ras Michael collaborated with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, and more. Now the legend returns with his 27th release, “Live By the Spirit.” With hand beaten rhythms again providing the foundation for this nine track journey invigorates the Rastafari spirit. Santa Davis (drummer for Peter Tosh, Ziggy Marley), Black Panther soundtrack drummers Magatte Fall and Malick Sow, Alphonso Kirk (alto sax), Junior Milton Smith (bass guitar) and more all join Ras for an almighty resurrection of the Nyabinghi form.
Devi Reed "One Vibe A Week" Autumn & Winter editions
This is a very aggressive musical project that started in the spring of 2019. So if this project is going past a ear then we will see more. Otherwise these are the last 2 installments. In retrospect, I have not counted them all yet, Devi would put out a song (vibe) a week in 4 installments: Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter. That is 52 songs on four albums. In other words that would be 13 songs on each album. I know of Devi Reed for reggae, his Autumn version has only 3 reggae tracks and are all decent to good. The other stuff is at least decent as well, so the purpose of this blog we only really speak of the 3 reggae songs, which are all in French. A French artist, so it makes sense. The key to this artist is his melodies, Devi always finds good ones. The first reggae tune 'Les Voleurs' is an acoustic styled reggae tune that has a great melody, while 'A Chaque Fois' is more of an upbeat reggae track and straightforward modern reggae as his reggae is 'everytime.' 'Le Secret' with Ryon is not a secret that French love reggae and have caliber artists in the genre as well.
The winter edition is all reggae like most of the other 2 editions. This album is one of the better and starts off with the 'Soom' track and I quote 'wuss real wuss not, wuss cold wuss hot.' This song & album are real and are hot. Upful, upbeat, truthful and full of energy with Soom T killing it. This is not a soul album its a reggae album yet it has soul and Devi has 'Soul Train' as it's driver, for good reasons. It has a light steppas feel yet reggae. It all feels like 'Home Sweet Om' for Mr Reed as he sings 'You give me the light you give me true love you make strong.' If we do not create & nurture the 'Children Of Joy,' we have not served our purpose, spread the love and spread the joy. Devi Reed's sound is a 'Warrior Sound.' She did so well on the first track, Soom T returns to blaze it again on 'Twinkles.' At this point, there is 'Nuff A Dem' as it concludes the album. The album is a reggae album and incorporates lots of sounds and offshoots into the reggae, especially those that evolved out of Europe.
Lion Heights 'Smile'
This song opens with a great, even classic horn line. The band played together while in school, in 2014 they formed the band and moved to Austin. Now with an EP & full length album, their latest release is 'Smile' and I feel apart of their next album, since it's the second new single. The songs opens with 'you must have come from up above, the way that you give me love beautiful fit like a glove.......I'm addicted to your smile.' What more do you want from a partner. Simple and sweet is all you need.
Christos DC "Self Evident"
Greek American reggae artist Christos DC releases his fifth album "Self Evident." I took notice on his fourth and realized the talent of this artist. I had heard the name from time to time prior to that. "Self Evident" makes it 'evident' to the masses that Christos is here to stay with consistency and talent. The man is solid in everything I have heard. There's an old saying: your actions speak louder than words and on "Self Evident" it is so true. So much that 'Silence' speaks your point of view, what you do speaks more than the words you choose,' and this is just the first song. 'What A Crime' is a testament to 'what a shame how easy his talent comes out. The other notable characteristic is how much, at moments, Christos sounds like Vaughn Benjamin., especially on this song. There's moments throughout the album. My favorite song is 'Better To Be Free' in a foreign land than to be a slave at home. 'Maybe' is an interesting word and even more so in song especially the way Christos explains it. 'I Reserve The Right' to basically do what I want and Christos does it well on his path. 'Upward Looking Down' is another creative use of words from the introspective man from DC. It's his use of words and the way he uses them that make his songs stand out and different. 'Foot Catch A Fire' is about your journey and the challenges you face in life. The nyabinghi start opens up to solid horns and xylophone with the voice saying 'it's no use looking back' in the title track. Lastly, 'In Peace' is more uptempo and lively than most and really sounds sweet. It's Christos plea that we can live 'In Peace.' Probably my second favorite song.
Christos is an artist in the tradition of subtle, contemplative roots singers such as Pablo Moses, Bim Sherman and, more recently, Akae Beka, (the latter a one time resident of Christos' hometown of Washington DC). This is audible in Self Evident’s very organic instrumentation - particularly the omnipresent live horns, lacking in many modern productions. The songs are quite philosophical in nature dealing with themes such as the connection between our heart and mind. As well as the meaning of silence in our human engagements." Unified in sound and steeped in feeling, Self Evident dwells in that increasingly rare enclave of soulful, restorative and replenishing cultural reggae music. It's an album that gently ushers you into a deeper, more introspective world. And, as its name suggests, it only needs to be heard to make its truths clear...
Leon Coldero 'Coming High'
Surprised we have not gotten more soca songs with this topic. It's actually rare. Now that it is being legalized everywhere Trinidad's Leon Coldero has now taken that step. He incorporates Rita Marley's 'One Draw' into it too.