EP Review: Memoria - What Goes Around
by Gardy Stein
Sometimes, it's the small things in life that make you glad. The new EP of Memoria entitled What Goes Around is one such happy-maker (it doesn't always have to be a full album!). A total of six tracks that caused me to smile as soon as I pressed play. Although, in the context of Memoria, speaking of "small" doesn't really seem to fit, given the sheer size of the group: Inti, Chaski, Alma, Greta, Eva, Emil, René and Rafael make up this multicultural band, playing music together since 2015 or so, when they were nothing more than a bunch of talented kids, and friends at that.
Well, the kids have grown into serious artists by now, and with this new release, they continue the focus on roots reggae which was so dominant on their last EP Three Corners. This time, they secured the capable support of Oneness Records, a Munich-based collective internationally known for their top-class productions. For Memoria, they created new, exclusive riddims that confer a consistent sound to the EP.
Starting with We Are One, the tone is set to optimism and appreciation. In a sweet blend of Inti's and Chaski's comfortable voices and the harmonious backings of sisters Alma, Greta and Eva, they stress the importance of each person's contribution to the world we live in. A lot of teaching in this one, and the songwriting is really top class! "Could a be a graffiti pon street or a painting inna die Louvre, coulda be a teacher, coulda be a student …"
Generally, the lyrics make a more mature impression here, a result of two years of introspection and reasonings during lockdown. The press release informs us that What Goes Around "stands for Karma and is a call to society to be tolerant, respectful and loving towards each other". Delivered on a less playful, more straightforward riddim, the teachings are continued, and whether you believe in Karma or not, it's a good idea to heed the advice brought forth.
Starting almost like the Wipeout riddim (drummmms!), History is probably the most serious tune of the release. It raises the important subject of establishing an honest version of the world's history, taking into account all contributions and achievements by ancient cultures which have been criminally neglected in the Western world. With Cali P, Memoria has found the ideal advocate for this cause, and together they bring a few striking examples to our attention. Good thing we are living in a time where information about African kingdoms and Arab scholars is just a click away!
We Work 9to5 is the outcome of personal experiences by brothers Inti and Chaski. As all music-related income broke off during lockdown, they had to take on any job to make a living, from washing dishes to cleaning to harvesting asparagus on a farm. The experiences gathered during this time shine through in the laid-back song, which also addresses working rights and the appreciation for hard-working people.
"Do yourself a favour and leave people business alone!" is the motto of Chat Too Much, a stand against those who like to spread rumours about others. Featured artist Jahcoustix is a perfect fit both vocally (oh, that tremor in his voice!) and in the authentic way he delivers the lyrics. The bubbling riddim is Oneness at their best, but it is the girls' harmonies that bring it to perfection. Beauty!
Last but not least, we have a love song called Love Me Like You Do. The initial idea was drafted in Barbados, where the band spent time with singer Mila and, one night, inspiration hit. Of course, she had to be on the final version, so that's another fine combination tune right here.
What Goes Around comes just in time to prepare you for the festival season, a small but impactful offering by Oneness Records and Memoria. If their live shows hold what this EP promises, we're all in for a treat‼!