I-Fire "Spiel Mit Dem Feuer"
Europe is possibly the strongest region/continent in the world for reggae. Every one of it's countries has prominent artists & bands. For example, France has Dub Inc. & Danakil, Germany has Gentleman, England has Steel Pulse, Spain has loads and the biggest reggae festival in the world in Rototom. Italy has Alborosie, Turkey has Satta who signed with Sony, Russia's most popular reggae band is Alai Oli, Poland has Izrael one of it's earliest reggae bands and all have reggae festivals. These are the top 8 countries in Europe by population. So is it a surprise anymore that people who can't even speak English, much less patois, sing reggae? It still has a shok factor. The top 3 of these 8 are France, England (UK) and Germany. The difference between Germany and the other two is the roughness of it's native language. English, French, Spanish, and Italian are great in reggae as languages. German to put it lightly is a bit harsh. The game changer is the 5th album from I-Fire. I-FIRE is a Reggae band from Hamburg, Germany. The 10 members combine Jamaican roots with German lyrics, hiphop with great melodies. six musicians on bass, guitar, drums, keyboards and blowers as well as the three singers Rawbird, Free and Dub-Ill-You, who jump back and forth between vocals, rap and get audience hyped. Hip-hop influences are unmistakable, but the music has the flair of Jamaica. Coupled with the urban desire to celebrate. I-Fire sing mostly in German. The new album "Spiel Mit Dem Feuer," which means 'the game with fire,' has changed the fire game in reggae. They are still very German and have made it smoother around the edges for the non-German speaker. Their reggae is not so rough around the edges and still blaze the fire because the fire has to burn. The albums first song is dancehall, the title track & third single. 'Ich Brauch Nicht Viel' is rub-a-dub, with a great trumpet solo and the band is grateful for the sounds of Jamaica, which has a lot to do with the feeling. This one is a 'warning' as it has raggamuffin sounds & lyrics on the Jamaican patois titled 'Pyaka.' It's a combo of German, English & patois. It has an old Jamaican, feeling keyboard phrase too (It might even be a sample). 'Der Bass Schiebt' has that real Jamaican one drop sound in German & English. One thing I forgot to mention is that most of Europe can understand, at least, a little bit of English. So I think we all can relate to one of the better songs in my opinion: 'Highgrade.' I think it's also part of the universal language of Jamaican music. '38 Grad' is another dancehall influenced tune. We do dancehall again on the next track 'Gyal Inna Night,' which samples the intro from Simpleton's 'Cocoa Cola Shape.' This is their best dancehall tune on the album, maybe you too can back it to the max. The next tune is my favorite reggae tune because of two reasons: it has 'Good Vibes' as in 'irie' and it's 'positive' sound. The albums first single & video 'Einfach So' is the best reggae song in German, maybe it's their choice of words in German. Not sure what it is, I- Fire takes the harshness out of German when singing reggae especially on this tune. That makes 3 of the best in a row on this album. 'Jamaica' is, obviously, a big influence on the band and their music and sound. They pay tribute in the tune and represent well. I love the sound in 'Uh Na Na' musically, lyrically and the melody. The song starts out almost with a kette & a trumpet breaks into the harmonies of the song title and then into a simple song of a nice reggae skank and smooth lyrics in German, believe it or not. Then take back to the chorus of 'Uh Na Na.' Great tune might be tied for the best one in German. The band is headed in the right direction to go 'Outernational.' I think they need more of the songs that are easier on the ears. They should never leave their German sound and their fan base that made them. Maybe consider more of that 'Outernational' sound. In the end & for the band, it's about reggae, which is the most important. It is an attitude to life in itself in order to be able to perform it in this way. They are not a political band and they do not want to paint it black, instead to spread hope.