Album review
El Shaddai

Tracking list

  1. Let Me Live Intro
  2. El Shaddai
  3. Cry People
  4. 21st Century
  5. Zion Awaits
  6. Mother's Cry
  7. Real Issues
  8. Hungry People
  9. Politics
  10. Dry Bones
  11. Babylon
  12. No Water
  13. Conscious Lover
  14. Don't Blame It On Me
  15. Time And Space
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4

Ryan Thomas - born 5th April 1972 in Race Course, Clarendon Jamaica - started his early recording years as the singer Ryan T, a stage name close to a reggae star from the same parish Cocoa Tea who was one of his main influences. After some years he decided to change his name to Jahmali (mali means "free") and from this time on he definitely started to establish his name and got the chance to do recordings for some of the biggest name producers in the music industry in Jamaica such as King Jammy, Bobby "Digital" Dixon, Barry O'Hare and Donovan Germain. After attracting attention with some real notable singles like "El Shaddai"and "Politics" for the latter he finally delivers his eagerly awaited debut album.
From the moment the goosebump including accapella sung intro fades into the glorious thump of El Shaddai, Cry People and 21st Century in quick succession the listener is aware that he is listening to a singer who has one of the best voices one has heard in a while. Unlike many of his contemporaries with natural talent but untrained voices this young singer sounds like he has spent quite some time working on perfecting his voice. Since the tragical death of the still sorely missed Archangel Garnett Silk several singers have percolated through with something of Garnett's flavor, but it is this Jahmali who has so far raised expectations highest and this superb debut album unmistakably confirms such hopes.
It's hard to point out the highlights of this album as almost every song is a gem in it's own right. But - besides the aforementioned tracks - it's more than fair that the nyabinghi flavoured Zion Awaits, Dry Bones with its infectious refrain, the superior remix of Politics and Babylon - across an absolutely lethal cut of Augustus Pablo's "East Of The River Nile" - get an honorable mention. Highly recommended !!

Teacher & Mr. T.