Album Review: Micah Shemaiah - Roots I Vision
by Gardy Stein
Visions are part of humanity since our consciousness started to rise above instincts.
Nostradamus predicted catastrophes, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King envisioned a world of equal rights, and, in fact, every single one of us can come up with a version of a possible future once we start reflecting and meditating.
With his very own vision, Micah Shemaiah has just released 8 brand-new musical prophecies of a better world. His album Roots I Vision is not just a mere collection of songs, but a very conscious message to his listeners, as the Kingston-based artist himself explains in the most recent episode of Wha' Gwaan Munchy?!? (watch the full interview here): "Roots I Vision is to show that we are going into a world where all races will be one, a fusing of the races, a fusing of all cultures, to just be one people and not some kind of separate thing going on. It's a whole vision of us going forward in a more collective, global, righteous way."
The first and title track sets the pace for what is to follow: a vocally mature Shemaiah delivers conscious lyrics spread onto an instrumental carpet of rich bass, piercing keys and crisp drums. Responsible for the magnificent sound are Genevian producers Evidence Music, a young Suisse label founded by Mathias Liengme and Nicolas Meury. According to Micah, meeting up with them created an easy energy to the point where doing works together was inevitable. And this is the result!
In Zion Trod, the singer continues his mission of preaching a back-to-the-roots, repatriational approach, again skilfully backed by the studio band who pay a special tribute to the Simmons Drum used by Sly Dunbar in the early 80s. "I stand with the conquering lion!" Spreading Rockers and love, Boom Shakalak is a beautifully arranged piece in which Micah mentions both important artists of the genre and elements of Rastafarian livity.
Zion, dedicated to his son by the same name and his wife, is full of emotions and combines the pain and joy a child's birth represents, while Soul Rider makes us feel the difficulty to balance between despair in view of the evil going on in our world and tireless hope for the good so deeply rooted in all of us. "Now I know why you love this Reggae so, it brings some comfort to your souls!" Seamlessly advancing the subject to his firm decision to Throw No Stone, Micah is inviting us again into his very melodic vision of Roots.
With A Breeze In The Shade, romance is coming into play as well before Death Trap turns to the serious effort of keeping aloof from Babylon's snares and temptations. Three mighty Dub versions mixed by Umberto Echo once more highlight the instrumental skills of the musicians involved, and make for a wonderful closing.
Roots I Vision might not be as innovative as former releases like Shalalak were, but that wasn't the mission here: "This is straight Roots. This album is about the teachings, about InI trod, where InI see Rastafari and Reggae music going." Thanks for the teachings, Micah!
Micah Shemaiah - Roots I Vision
DIGITAL RELEASE [Evidence Music]
Release date: 02/16/2018
01. Roots I Vision
02. Zion Trod
03. Boom Shakalak
05. Soul Rider
06. Throw No Stone
07. A Breeze In The Shade
08. Death Trap
09. Zion Trod (Dub Mix)
10. Soul Rider (Dub Mix)
11. Death Trap (Dub Mix)