Roots & Culture
Mt. EFWA Records

Track list
  1. Yaba Guide
  2. Dread Not
  3. Tricky Youth
  4. Roots & Culture
  5. She's Gone
  6. Run Around Girl
  7. Lion To Zion
  8. Good Ganja Weed
  9. Silent River
  10. Arise
  11. Lion Of Judah
  12. Holy Mountain
  13. Roots & Culture (Dub)
  14. Ganja Lion (Dub)
  15. River (Dub)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3/4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
From Brooklyn, New York, comes this 1999 released "Roots & Culture" album, recorded by a new and upcoming artist wo calls himself Ababa, which actually means "New Flower". Ababa was born on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. Growing up as a child he predominantly listened to the conscious reggae music of artists such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear and Jimmy Cliff to name a few. No wonder Ababa counts them to his strongest influences. He started singing at an early age in church and began writing songs after being exposed to a local reggae band in his area in 1981, the same year he eventually migrated to the US. In 1985 he got his first experience as a member of a reggae band. After 12 years of band hopping and small studio recordings, Ababa decided to do his first major recording. It became a two year project which finally led to the release of this self-produced "Roots & Culture" album.
This set features twelve straight vocal tracks and three additional dub tracks with a strong modern "roots & culture" feel. When listening to the album from the start one experiences that Ababa's efforts are literally getting better as the next track is loaded. The album opener fails to make a serious impression, the uptempo "Dread Not" is a better effort and by the time "Tricky Youths" and "Roots & Culture" are playing one is treated to some solid roots rock reggae. Then "She's Gone" and "Run Around Girl". Both tracks feature a guest appearance of the deejay Major Danger, and are delivered in a totally different mood. Not exactly roots & culture music, but nevertheless entertaining efforts in their own right. With "Lion In Zion" and the herb tune "Good Ganja Weed" - both utilizing the same riddim and the latter again in combination with Major Danger - Ababa returns to the roots rock reggae side. Two good deliveries which are followed by the standout track "Silent River" and the haunting chant "Arise", which solely utilizes the riddim of the bass thunder drum, african drum, bongo, conga and tamberine. With the renown rastaman chant "Lion of Judah", which gets a great interpretation, and also the solid "Holy Mountain" one captures the spiritual side of Ababa. The dub tracks are a nice addition and round off an album of an artist who debuts with some noteworthy efforts.