American singer and songwriter Sahra Indio started her musical career in the Jahringa Reggae Band in 1993 in Hawaii, and since becoming a solo artist has been involved in several well-received releases. Thus we come to her third solo album ‘The Tru I’, from Olumeye Records and her new collaborators at Roots Lab Intl, drawing from songwriters in a number of different countries and involving several members of her extended family in the recording.
‘Big Fish’ invites us all to ‘wake up to conscious living’ with a strong soul-influenced melody, understated dubby rhythm track, tight production and economical instrumentation. ‘Humanity’ is very much in the roots reggae mainstream while ‘Testify’ again adds a certain feeling of soul. ‘Right Fight’, with its simple rhythmic drum pattern, is effective precisely because of its simplicity. ‘Roger Dat’ is an acoustic reggae tune around injustice and drug laws with sparse guitar and drums, and, as throughout, very strong vocals. The same theme is picked up in ‘Pro Marijuana’. ‘DNA’ directly references its African roots in both the sound and the words, while ‘I’m Not the Only One’ gives us the luxury of an additional ‘I’m Not the Only Dub’, a very fine dub which, to be given a fully sympathetic hearing, demands volume and bass indeed. ‘At the Awa Bar’ is an acoustic song, light and effective.
With strong songs and smooth production, the album – especially the vocals – could have come from a soul or R&B release, and the album is all the more effective and powerful for that.