* * * *2008 - Forward Recordings - studio - discs:1
Alborosie (real name Alberto D'Ascola) was born in 1977 in Sicily, Italy. His family moved to nothern Italy when he was young and he soon started to follow his musical interests. He becamed the leader (calling himself Stena) of the Italian group Reggae National Tickets. A strong presence inside the quite poor Reggae scene in Italy during the recent years, the group selled a lot and also featured in the Montego Bay based Reggae Sumfest. In 2001 the land of Jamaica was too much attractive to be missed, therefore he quit any business with his homeland and settled there. In Jamaica he meets Jon Baker (former Island Records) and starts to collaborate with the GeeJam Studios (Port Antonio, Portland Parish). Around 2007-2008 he creates the independent label called Forward Recordings and a recording studio. The singles "Herbalist" and "Kingston Town" become hits. The Jamaican musical community understands that this Italian dreadlocked man is going seriously and completely accepts him. Collaborations with Sizzla, Michael Rose (Black Uhuru), Jah Cure, Luciano, Kymani Marley and others start to flow. Alborosie produced the "XXL" rhythm, cut his own version that is also reprised by Beenie Man, L.U.S.T., Voice Mail, Tanto Metro & Devonte and Sizzla. After many hits the present set is released in 2008. Basecally a collection of previous successful singles, "Soul Pirate" is a great debut. With almost just a few concessions to the tough Dancehall sounds, the main atmosphere is some good and very confident contemporary Roots music. After an intro by no less than the great David Rodigan, the set delivers very strong tracks as "Diversity", the circular and mesmerizing "Precious" (featuring Ranking Joe), "Kingston Town" that was an immediate hit at the time, the praise to H.I.M. "Rastafari Anthem", the delicate "Still Blazing", the strong killer "Herbalist", the Lovers Rock of "Moonshine", the Black Uhuru spiced "Callin" (featuring Michael Rose), "Sound Killa" a tribute to Tenor Saw' "Ring The Alarm" from 1985 and originally based on the "Stalag 17" rhythm, the great Ska of "Patricia", and finally the tribute to Bob Marley's "Natural Mystic" featuring his son Ky-mani Marley. So what do we have here? There is some very strong material, indeed. The man is doing seriously. Alborosie, lives in Jamaica, speaks a very good patois, but most importantly he is not pretending; as some others singers in Europe that go around dressed as rappers and their success comes thanks to some good rhythms and a risible attempt to speak patois. No man. No sir. Most importantly Alborosie, believes in what he says and sings. He comes from Italy, and more than this he is also a dreadman. And those that read something about Rastafari, history of Ethiopia and its unfortunate period under the Italian dictator Mussolini should understand what I mean. Alborosie was accepted, is respected, and takes his mission very seriously. So respect to this tough and serious artist. Can we now finally say that Reggae can be written, produced, played and performed also by non-Jamaicans? So it seems!