Album Review: Talawa Reggae Army - #ReggaeRevival
According to the Happy Planet Index, a global measure of well being, citizens of the small Central American nation Costa Rica are supposed to be the happiest people on earth –due to their high level of satisfaction. Might this be a reason why the songs of Costa Ricas Reggae band Talawa sound so positive and uplifting? As it seems, their interpretation of Reggae music and Rastafari is to focus on the positive aspects of life. Vibra positiva!
Talawa was founded in 2006 in Cartago, Costa Rica, hometown and base of the 7 band members. Their debut LP Inity, released in 2010 was received with great response. After five years of working intensively on this new project, they have just released their long awaited second LP named #ReggaeRevival in November 2015.
#ReggaeRevival offers 10 tracks plus six dubs and one acapella version. Throughout the production process the band gave great importance to authentic old-school Reggae sound and a high quality mastering. In order to achieve their goals, the album was recorded in studios around the world: In Costa Rica, Jamaica, the USA and France. The final mastering was done completely analogue at Rolling Lion Studios in England by Daniel Boyle.
By singing in both English and Spanish, lead singer A Roar Selah creates a special fusion of cultures and gives a wonderful insight into Latin Reggae. The code shifting from one language to another is remarkable from the opening track Cool & Calm. The track deals with representative Reggae subjects such as love, unity and Rasta identity. Second song When Me Seh is an international combination between Talawa and French singer Patko. Here, the two singers heat up the vibes with their dancehall style. In the third track named Ganjaman, the band honors the holy plant and supports the legalizing-movement. The featuring of Amlak Tafari, bassist of the legendary band Steel Pulse turns the song into a real highlight. Your Love is also a great gain for the album. The strength of this tune lies in its spiritual energy transmitted through atmospheric dub effects and the melodica melodies in the background: absolute balance and tranquility as the result of a pure sound. The love to Jah is the thematic emphasis in this tune, as it is also in one of the following tunes, called El Amor de Jah. The topic of love is also a fundament in Love to Love feat. Dax Lion, True Love and Waiting for You. An acoustic guitar line at the intro of True Love and the singers romantic feelings deliver a message to the person he fears to lose. Waiting for You tells another love story where the feelings for somebody will be everlasting no matter the time until love is fulfilled. Talawa Reggae is the rockiest track on the album and “hits you really strong”, as it is stated in the lyrics. This one shows us the real values of a live band: the clear sound of instruments interacting and the warm quality of sound.
The last two songs Missing You and bonus track Missing You Acapella are combinations with Rica Newell, who is well known for singing with Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers and Stephen Marley and for her recent solo projects. Missing You was pre-released in 2014 as the first single of #ReggaeRevival and turned out as a big international hit. It is a romantic duet, determined by outstanding vocal performances and a hook line that gives the song a catchy character, too. The combination of English and Spanish here is just perfect since the message is: “Nuestro amor va mas allá que los palabras” [span.]: “Our love goes beyond the words”. The acapella version even drops one on top when it comes to the heat and the announced romantic style.
The result of the album demonstrates that the ongoing tendencies of Jamaican music, the Reggae Revival motto, has reached the Latin American continent and these works surely keep up with the Jamaican productions. More likely, Talawa can be compared on an international level to young roots bands such as Raging Fyah or Pentateuch. With regard to the choice of the album title #ReggaeRevival, it can be notified that the band members identify themselves as part of this movement.
Talawa Reggae Army is the full name of the band. Considering that Costa Rica is one of those countries in the world that do not officially have a military army, is there anything more overwhelming & inspiring than to know that this country is protected by a musical force - a Reggae army?
Talawa Reggae Army - #ReggaeRevival
DIGITAL RELEASE [IRATION Records]
Release date: 11/15/2015
01. Cool & Calm
02. When Me Seh feat. Patko
03. Ganjaman feat. Amlak Tafari
04. Your Love
05. Love to Love feat. Dax Lion
06. El Amor De Jah
07. True Love
08. Talawa Reggae feat. Ali Amiri
09. Waiting for You
10. Dub & Calm
12. Your Dub
13. Love to Dub
14. El Dub De Jah
15. Talawa Dub
16. Missing You feat. Rica Newell
17. Missing You (Acapella) feat. Rica Newell