Various Artists: Putumayo Presents: African Reggae

[25 January 2009]

By Deanne Sole

One thing you might notice, looking at the track listing for this compilation, is that the middle of the continent is missing. African reggae is concentrated mainly in the West and South, and it shows in the lineup. Another thing is that two major names are absent. No Lucky Dube. No Alpha Blondy. Good, I say. Let’s see what the less-knowns can do. As it turns out they acquit themselves well. Mo’Kalimity & the Wizards rock along sweetly. South Africa’s Zoro punches up the beat. Ba Cissoko and Tiken Jah Fokoly pull off a good reggae/kora mix, while Majek Fashek lets his Nigerianness hang out all Kuti-like on “Man of Sorrow”. Fashek’s lyrics are preachy but faced with horns like that I can get over it. This is Putumayo, so you know the compilation is going to be suitable for children, unless, of course, you object to your child being told to love Jah and hie itself tout de suite to Zion. A good-natured introductory disc. For a more eccentric mix, search your secondhand stores for a copy of Hemisphere’s Reggae Africa. For a more aggressive sound, try out|here’s African Rebel Music.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/67168-various-putumayo-presents-african-reggae/