A Different Age
I Grade Records
June 18, 2005

Track list
  1. Light Of Jah
  2. Angry Mother Nature
  3. Fullest Confidence
  4. Clowns Around Us
  5. R.O.C.K featuring Ickarus & Kimbe Don
  6. Mama's Son
  7. Sandy Weekend
  8. Positive Herb
  9. She Said
  10. Twisted Atmosphere
  11. Black Smokey Mountains
  12. A Different Age
  13. Thinking About My Life
  14. Concrete Jail Cell
  15. Perfect Timing
  16. Reality Check
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
In recent years we have been treated to some great reggae music coming from the small islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John, all being part of the Virgin Islands. Artists such as Dezarie, Ikahba, Pressure, Abja and Army along with bands like Midnite and Bambu Station are continuously evolving and pushing the roots music and sound back into the foreground. With their releases and tours they have managed to gain many devoted roots fans. The latter are now treated to the third album release within I Grade's New Release Trilogy... NiyoRah's "A Different Age".

NiyoRah (real name Nigel Olivacce) was born on October 9, 1980 in the coastline village of Pointe Michel, Dominica. At age 4, he moved to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, with his family, and cultivated an interest in music through listening to artists in his father's and uncle's roots reggae collections, including Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Burning Spear and Lucky Dube. By age 16, NiyoRah began chanting on the streets about the life experiences of the Savan ghetto in downtown Charlotte Amalie.

At age 18, NiyoRah decided to pursue a career in reggae music. He took on the name NiyoRah - a combination of his nickname growing up and out of respect for the omnipotent power of the sun. Music was a natural career choice because of his musically gifted family. His grandfather is an award-winning vocalist who sings Negro spirituals and gospel, while his aunt, Ophelia Olivacce Marie, is an international French-speaking artist heralded as "Dominica's Songbird" for her style of cadence and calypso. In 1998, he was introduced by local reggae radio personality Ras Manny to Black Juice Records, a Virgin Islands-based recording company. He joined with six other reggae artists under the company to co-found Star Lion Family. His voice can be heard on Star Lion Family's EP "Brighter Days" released in November 2003.

Almost two years later Niyorah delivers his first full-length album, which features 16 notable tunes. Lyrically he comes up with a wide range of issues including cultural living, love for nature, strengthening of all peoples, especially Africans, and spiritual growth, underpinned by a diverse collection of all-live roots, hip hop influenced reggae, and nyahbinghi roots - with jazz, soul and African influences throughout.

The album opener, "Light Of Jah", is a very strong roots tune delivered over a nyabinghi riddim flavoured with some real nice keyboard parts. Next drops the awesome "Angry Mother Nature", with live horns played by James Smith (trumpet) and Micah Robinson (trombone) -- actually 2/3 of Burning Spear's touring horn section -- and Billy Ramirez (tenor sax). Musically and lyrically this is one of the stand outs on this set. This horn section is also featured on the uptempo "Fullest Confidence" and the excellent "Thinking About My Life". "Mama's Son", a beautiful moving song, is truly worth of hearing, and the same goes for "She Said". The slow-paced title track, "A Different Age", is another stand out tune with nuff lyrics to keep you involved. Another great effort is "Concrete Jail Cell", a tune that immediately grabs your attention.

NiyoRah's "A Different Age" is a strong, well varied debut set, fully showcasing that this up-and-coming artist is worthwhile checking out!