Friday, July 29, 2011

Gentleman Set to Release Diversity in U.S.

With six albums under his belt and over one million collectively sold in Europe, the German platinum and award-winning singer Gentleman is long overdue for his U.S. debut. 'Diversity', set for release on Sept 13, 2011 on VP Records, charted at #1 in Germany as well as #2 in Switzerland and Austria and is the follow-up to his Europe platinum-selling record 'Confidence'.

Gentleman is currently touring Europe in support of the album and plans to embark on a U.S. tour beginning in mid-October throughout the Midwest and West. Details and dates will be announced shortly.

On Diversity, Gentleman stays true to his first musical love - roots reggae - and teams up with top Jamaican recording artists, including reggae lyricist and singer Tanya Stephens, Studio One veteran and dancehall pioneer Sugar Minott, Christopher Martin (Season Two winner of Jamaica’s televised talent competition, Rising Stars ) and producers Don Corelone, Red Roze, Shane Brown, Xterminator and Firehouse Crew.

With new vigor and passion, Gentleman feels renewed on this 14 track set and is ready to take the U.S. by storm. “That fire you feel as a newcomer does not keep up for very long. It is up to you to stoke the embers and this (album) has much more force behind it,” he notes.

One may not assume that the Cologne native and son of a Lutheran pastor would become an international reggae superstar, but Gentleman (born Tilmann Otto in 1975) has been drawn to reggae’s revolutionary spirit and truth-seeking lyrics ever since he was introduced to the island’s sounds. He immersed himself in the culture and music at the age of 18, making Jamaica his home away from home.

In 1997, he eventually got his first break with German hip-hip group, Freundeskreis, after delivering a verse on single “Tabula Rasa” with his distinctive singjay style. Since then, Gentleman has had a string of solo hits and platinum-selling records in Europe. He won Best National Artist five times for three different award shows (Echo Award 2003 & 2005, Comet Award 2005, 1Live Radio Award 2004 & 2005) and has been nominated twice for Best Reggae Artist (Martin 2004 Awards and Reggae and Soca Awards). He has collaborated with artists ranging from pop superstars Pink and Destiny’s Child to reggae legends Michael Franti & Spearhead and Barrington Levy. After over a decade under the label Four Music, he moved to Universal in 2010 and will release Diversity in the U.S. with VP Records this fall.

Track Listing:

1. The Reason

2. Changes

3. Hold On Strong

4. Tempolution

5. To The Top ft. Christopher Martin

6. Lonely Days

7. In A Time Like Now

8. Moment Of Truth

9. Another Melody ft. Tanya Stephens

10. I Got To Go

11. Good Old Days ft. Sugar Minott

12. Fast Forward

13. The Finish Line

14. It No Pretty

Monday, July 04, 2011

Alborosie '2 Times Revolution' Review (Greensleeves/VP)

Alberto ‘Alborosie’ D’Ascola, the Sicilian-Jamaican, returns with his sophomore record for Greensleeves/VP, the forcefully titled ‘2 Times Revolution’. “Two times because it’s more powerful,” says Alborosie. “You could say it one time but second time you have more experience.” Well stated because one thing is a certainty- this is a powerful record.

A thumping, bass-forward riddim is the back drop for the opening track Rolling Like A Rock. Alborosie states what has been obvious for any who’ve ever heard his music- his skill and talent speaks for itself, and he’ll conquer any who get in his way. “Rolling like a rock, please step away…..Rolling like a rock, don’t get in my way.” Great start!

Respect Yourself, featuring Junior ‘One Blood’ Reid, rides a hip-hop infused riddim. Alborosie and Reid’s styles complement each other nicely, with both reminding listeners, particularly the youths, of the need to love and respect themselves.

A wicked riddim with similarities to Bob Nesta’s ‘Zimbabwe’ serves as the underpinning for the instant classic Who You Think You Are. Pupa Alba is at his absolute best here, musically and lyrically. He asks, almost indignantly, “Who you think you are? I’m not a superstar….Me na drink the gold wine or smoking cigar…and I don’t drive in Satan’s car, with Jesus me a par…I’m just a revolutionary fighting my own war.” He’s most definitely his own man, and his revolution is not a violent one but spiritual in nature. Absolute Boomshot! This one rivals ‘Still Blazing’ from his debut record ‘Soul Pirate.’

Diversity is definitely present on ‘2 Times Revolution.’ For instance, Alborosie experiments with Latino influences on La Revolucion, utilizing a Spanish guitar and horns. He even sings much of the song in very polished Spanish. On International Drama, featuring Giuseppe Tarantino, the Sicilian incorporates musical elements of his birthplace with the roots music of the place he has called home for the last 11 years, seamlessly fusing opera with the pulsating reggae beat. Ragamuffin is another track having a hip-hop flavor with reggae as a solid foundation. The catchy hook is only overshadowed by the first class lyrical delivery. The old-school horn solo is perfectly placed.

Tax War pays tribute to the great King Jammy, as Alborosie rides Jammy’s riddim made famous by Junior Reid’s ‘Higgler Move’. Rude Bwoy Love, featuring Perfect Harmony, sits a top a re-working of Digital-B’s ‘Boom Bye Bye’ riddim, while What If Jamaica longingly describes a nation absent of the ills that have plagued it and the world for so many years.

You Make Me Feel Good, featuring songstress Etana, is another stand-out tune inna combination style. The slow paced riddim is bubblin’ heavy, as Etana’s crisp singing alternates perfectly with Pupa Alba’s throaty singjaying.

Soul Train is a roots reggae classic! The opening guitar riff sets the stage for one of the records finest moments. Alborosie proves, yet again, that he has mastered the roots-reggae sound, passionately singing “Over the hills and over the valley, me work the land an push up the trolley….International train, you got to have a ticket….and if the road get steep pon you, push your feet dem an jus go through…. Soul train….You got to have a ticket.” Beautiful music, beautiful lyrics, beautifully delivered. Boomshot!

‘2 Times Revolution’ continues what Alborosie started with 2008’s ‘Soul Pirate’. Like a fine red wine, he continues to get better as he ages and matures. This is truly a top-shelf record! With it, Alborosie firmly establishes himself as one of the premier roots-reggae artists among generations, past and present. Essential!

2 Times Revolution - Alborosie

Track Listing:
1. Rolling Like A Rock
2. Respect feat. Junior Reid
3. Who You Think You Are
4. La Revolucion
5. I Wanna Go Home
6. You Make Me Feel Good feat. Etana
7. International Drama feat. Giuseppe Tarantino
8. Camilla
9. Tax War
10. Jesus Is Coming
11. Ragamuffin
12. Soul Train
13. Grow Your Dreads
14. Rude Bwoy Love feat. Perfect Harmony
15. What If Jamaica