‘Liberation’ is a testimony of contemporary roots reggae bursting with passion, talent and serious consciousness. It also marks a turn for Ziggy Recado’s music and career
Country: the Netherlands
Artists Website: Ziggi Recado
Label: Self-released / free download
This is the first work of Dutch Caribbean (from St. Eustratius island) singer & composer Ziggi Recado (born Ricardo Blijden), where he feels free to take greater responsibility of the whole recording aptly titled ‘Liberation’. Of course, liberation refers mostly to emancipation from the fierce babylon system but it also marks the split with his label/management Rock(N)Vibes, with which he has been collaborating since the very beginning of his career back in 2005.
Ziggi Recado brought some real edge in this recording compared to his previous endeavours. This is roots reggae, top notch and hi-fi, the fruit of his collaboration with four European producers Silly Walks, Bost & Bim (Special Delivery Music), Oneness and Rootdown. The highly praised self titled album of 2011 ‘Ziggi Recado’ was remarkably diverse (e.g. with strong R & B, soul infuences) and that stands in contrast with this EP. ‘Liberation’ is straight-forward roots reggae composed and (partly) produced by Ziggi himself and his versatile voice brings the outcome to a higher level.
‘Rising’ is a fresh reggae tune, captivating, with contagious melodies and conscious lyrics – one of the standout reggae tracks of the last months. Ziggi lays down his views on the cultural and social violence of global domination and he underlines the necessity to ‘unlearn’ all the elements of cultural hegemony we all have been brainwashed with (’brainwashing programmes on the television’), to explore our own cultural roots and educate ourselves and the youth (’get the knowledge, educate the little ones’) with our own values (’tell the truth to your daughters and your sons, make dem know dem culture and which part dem come from. Can’t disregard your heritage can’t break the bond’). He precisely portrays the current state of the world as a ‘global corporation’ not a ‘global village’ where we all need to discover our creativity at a personal and collective level to withstand mental enslavement (‘Don’t get your mind enslaved.
Got to be aware in this here digital age’). That is the way in which we can create a world where cultures can really meet, not just where corporations expand to materialise profits by industrialisation, appropriation and subjugation of people and nature (’rising the taxes, rising the temperature’) . A well-articulated, passionate and clear message by Ziggy dressed with pervasive vocal melodies and an infectious reggae groove. This demands to be heard by all. Let us hold to Ziggi’s powerful words: ‘Every day is a blessing inna life cycle’
‘Cool & Humble’ is island reggae at its best. This is the sound of reggae that has been captivating audiences all those decades. The vibes of the sun, of the good days, the goodness of life – where people are still human, they feel part of their communities, not cogs inna babylon machine. This is the reality of the Global South, all those sunshine places that have been incessantly exploited by the Western profiteers and where people really suffer. Paradoxically, these are the places of cultural richness, where people are still hospitable, open and sharing. These are the people that need to take over and shed their light of simple, ‘cool and humble’ ways of living to the rest of mankind that has been trapped in the rat race of competition for material overabundance and overconsumption. We adhere to simple, humble living in togetherness in our communities – real life!
‘More than sometimes’ is a lovers rock number. Although it is not the type of reggae I prefer, this is well above the average with all those hooks that render it memorable and sticky. ‘Lurking’ is purely roots reggae with those extra emotional timbres carefully arranged and a militant heavy beat. This is a song where Ziggi is lauding rasta faith and spirituality as an uplifting stance to overcome wickness and obstacles. Whether rasta or not, spirituality is pervading all life, it is intricate to us all and we just need to notice, become attentive and tap into it. ‘Green Medicine’ is another rock solid reggae cut from Ziggi Recado, with convincing basslines and careful effects all along the song. ‘Merciless’ is a pleasant and soulful tune that bares some R & B elements of his earlier works.
‘Liberation’ points a turn in Ziggi Recado’s course in music in the most fascinating way. It is in my personal opinion his best work to date and a showcase of contemporary reggae with manifold qualities. One can appreciate not only Ziggi’s competent and versatile vocal delivery, who stands at the top among today’s reggae chanters, but also the breathtaking compositions, the inspiring and meaningful texts and the delicate song arrangements which are sensible to detail. One can also praise the production which is clear without losing the roots reggae edge without crossing out an array of diverse sounds. After successful three albums and one EP, ‘Liberation’ is Ziggi’s declaration of even better things to come. Welcome one of reggae’s most talented artists.
This is Ziggy’s best recording with the most tasteful cover yet – and because Ziggi just wanted to give his music directly to the people, you can download it for free from his website.
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