Here’s the second album from five-piece French band Ryon, comprising thirteen tracks of reggae music in the mainstream roots tradition. The title track rocks along at a leisurely pace, while ‘Gaia’ kicks off in a dubby style before taking us into another moderately paced thoughtful track, melodic and instrumentally interesting. With live dates in France from April there is an early chance to hear this positive reggae music in a live setting.

Ryon: Zephyr, release on CD, digital and vinyl, 16th March 2018

From Bordeaux here comes the forthcoming third album from Alam, featuring Glaswegian Soom T (see reggaemusic.org.uk February 17th, 2013) along with personnel from French reggae band Danakil who also help out with the production. With the female vocals of Marie and Soom T set atop the tight reggae rhythms of the band it’s mainstream reggae at its best with hints of hip-hop from time to time amidst strong instrumentation.

Amongst the tracks included here, the single ‘Someday’ is a faster-paced politically informed song. Dealing with a range of contemporary world issues the album is nonetheless feel-good and optimistic, and the pace of the music makes seeing the band live an inviting prospect.

Alam: Sounds of Freedom; release 2nd March 2018

The new album by King Kong entitled ‘Repatriation’ is due at the beginning of March and will feature top rated reggae musicians including Roots Radics, Sly & Robbie, Naram & Art, Russ D, Bongo Herman, Leroy Mafia, Dwight Pinkney. It also includes Burro Banton and none other than Eek a Mouse so should be well worth hearing. In the meantime we have the first single release from the album in the shape of ‘Gwaan’, an easy-going dancehall-influenced reggae track. Back to the 80s!

King Kong is scheduled to tour in mainland Europe from January to May, backed by Irie Ites with what is billed as “a brand new live concept” called Irie Ites Live Mix comprising a trombonist and the in-house producer who will play and dub the rhythm tracks. Different!

King Kong: Repatriation, release due 2nd March 2018 by Irie Ites Records in CD, vinyl and digital formats

Long-established Jamaican singer and actor Peter Lloyd has released his cover of John Lennon’s ‘Woman’ in a soft melodic reggae-lite style. Described as the ‘Love Messenger’, Peter Lloyd believes that love is the ‘greatest revolution’ that creates unity. His personal Rastafarian philosophy has influenced his music and he states that the purpose of his music is to ‘heal the world’. He also tries to give back to society as much as he can through a programme of philanthropy, delivering his message through a programme called Yutes Rise, where he seeks to inspire participants through a reggae/motivational workshop and live performances. On this single, Peter Lloyd teams up with legendary Jamaican producer and saxophonist Dean Fraser who has worked with the likes of Dennis Brown, Sly and Robbie, and Joe Gibbs. Widely known on the international reggae festival circuit, he has come up with a track that is leagues away from angry powerful drum-and-bass or dancehall sounds. Not the first time this song has been treated to a reggae makeover, this track stands as a thoughtful and gentle reggae version of Lennon’s sweet song which somehow seems right in the run-up to Christmas as we remember John Lennon’s murder in December 1980.

With tour dates coming up in Britain, France, Holland and the USA, plus a forthcoming new album due for release, things are on the up for Hollie Cook (see reggaemusic.org.uk 15 October 2017, 9 July 2014, 29 April 2012). Here’s a video for ‘Angel Fire’ in a gig she did for Amnesty International this Autumn in London. Great stuff.