Roland Kemokai: Smile Again (featuring Roland and the Roots Riddim)

“Music was my first love. When bullets were flying in the streets of Monrovia, taking lives at random, my three-stringed guitar became my best friend and deepest comfort.”

From such adversity in his early life, what a pleasure to hear this gentle melodic reggae sound from Roland ‘Mista Muzic’ Kemokai, reggae artist and writer born in Liberia and now living in Austin, Texas. There’s nothing complicated here: just a nice optimistic vibe as we are almost at Christmas. This single, ‘Smile Again’, is taken from Roland’s new 12-track album ‘Set My Spirit Free’ and it’s definitely worth a listen.

Wishing everyone who reads these pages a very Happy Christmas. Let’s hope the world regains some sanity in 2019.

Shanty: Longtime

10406769_742438795862516_4518831551263925704_n (3)Being dubbed (so to speak) as the “best of British reggae” and “a very talented young band of players” by no less than David Rodigan gives any band a lot to live up to. Shanty’s reaction is to keep to the same successful course they have already embarked upon. Their new single is, as on previous releases (see reggaemusic.org.uk 29 September 2014), an upbeat brass-led danceable sound that captures the vocals of Ben Willis very effectively. This London band has established a formidable live reputation, playing alongside the likes of the Skints, Prince Fatty and Neville Staple, and they have captured that live feel in this new release. Instrumentally Shanty share the approach of the Specials but the mood is different: Shanty are a feel-good bunch. The sound of the band can best be described as the Specials without the doom and gloom.

Shanty: Longtime; release 18 September 2015