African Reggae Revolution

Tiken Jah Fakoly - African Revolution
Tiken Jah Fakoly

African Revolution (Indie Europe/Zoom, 2011)

I consider reggae one of those wonderfully sly genres where powerful messages are entwined with bright, feel good musical vibes. Well, Ivorian reggae singer and song writer Tiken Jah Fakoly pulls out all the stops for his latest African Revolution . Known for such recordings as Franafrique, Cours D’Histoire, L’Africain and Coup De Gueule, Mr. Fakoly has a history of fighting social injustices and oppression with his music and incendiary lyrics. Composing all but a handful of the tracks on African Revolution, Mr. Fakoly continues on his mission to change the political and social landscape all wrapped up in some delightful music.

Opening with a call to create an “intelligent revolution” on the title track “African Revolution,” Mr. Fakoly and a stellar company of musicians drenches this track with a masterful reggae blend laced with ngoni, balafon and electric ‘manding’ guitar against drums bass, guitar and percussion. Dipping into a plumy acoustic sound for “Je Dis Non” before slipping into a classic reggae sound for “Political War” with guest Nigerian singer Asa, African Revolution takes on a Malian griot sound against the meatiness of the Jamaican rhythms with the additions of kora, ngoni, soukou and balafon, making this recording extra special delicious.

Recorded in Kingston, Bamako and Paris, American Revolution’s sound beyond plush, especially on tracks like “Il Faut Se Lever” the flash of electric ‘manding’ guitar by Petit Conde on “Sinimory” or the balafon by Lassana Diabate, tama by Baba Cissoko and yabara by Mokta Kouyate on “Sors de Ma Tele.” Other gems include the breezy “Votez,” the funky coolness of “Je Ne Vieux Pa Ton Pouvoir” and the bright folk of “Laisse-Moi M’Exprimer.” Kudos go to producers Jonathan Qarmby and Kevin Backon from the Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong studio in Kingston, Jamaica because the sound and feel is rich.

African Revolution is simply stunning in its message and the pure joy of its music.

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Author: TJ Nelson

TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.

Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.

Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.


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