Saturday, May 22, 2010

Takana Zion ‘Rappel a l’Ordre’ Review (Makafresh)

The international scope of Reggae music is staggering. From the streets of Kingston, to the cities and countryside’s of Africa, to the bustling metropolises of Tokyo, New York, Paris, and London and everywhere in between, Reggae has captivated and influenced listeners with its infectious riddims and uplifting, positive lyrics. In particular, the nations of Africa have maintained a strong presence in Reggae music for many years, reason being: Quality. Alpha Blondy, the late Lucky Dube, Majek Fashek, and many others have contributed some of the finest Reggae made in the last 20+ years.

African Newcomer Takana Zion, from French Guinea, in West Africa, made his mark on the reggae landscape with his 2007 release ‘Zion Prophet’ (Makafresh). His sophomore effort, ‘Rappel a l’Ordre’ (Call To Order), is even stronger than his debut. His partnership with French label Makafresh is a natural one, considering Guinea was a former French colony. The combination with Makafresh and Paris-born producer and mentor Manjul has proved to be a fruitful one.
‘Rappel a l’Ordre’ is full of high quality music, lyrics, and melodies. Takana Zion shows his versatility throughout the album. He is equally adept at singing and deejaying, and comfortably combines the two on many tracks. (His style is similar to Jah Mason.)
Impressive also is the fact that the album includes songs in French, English, Malinke, and Sousou (Susu). In particular, the songs in Sousou and Malinke add a beautiful, intrinsic quality to the album.
Mikhi Kobie is one of those tracks. Takana Zion’s delivery is passionate and strong as he skillfully rides an excellent riddim. Sekou Ko Non is another gem. Set to a bubbling riddim, he delivers one of the album’s best tracks, that is, of course, if you had to choose. I Want To Be Free is a simple, yet incisive song about the desire we all share to be freed from the bondage that we all experience, in one form or another, in the chaotic world we live in.
Celine, co-written with Erwan Seguillon (He co-wrote Jeune Fille, also.), is another stand-out track. Takana Zion truly shows his diversity and creativity on a track overflowing with evocatively precise lyrics.
‘Rappel l’Ordre’ is an exceedingly well-balanced album. Takana Zion displays a maturity well beyond his 23 years. Admittedly, this album may take some getting used to simply because only 3 of the 13 tracks are in English. However, after a few spins, you’ll begin to recognize and appreciate not only the overall talent of Takana Zion but also the high-quality, original music found throughout the album.
Definitely recommended!


Takana Zion - Rappel à l'ordre

Track Listing:
1. Nasalife
2. Abiri Na Samba Khine
3. Mikhi Kobie
4. I want to be free
5. Jeune Fille
6. Reggae Donkili (feat. Victor Démé)
7. Mama Africa
8. Sekou Ko Non
9. Jah Kingdom (feat. Winston McAnuff)
10. Anawafe
11. Céline
12. Ithiopia
13. Rendez à César