Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Double Culture
Famara
N-Gage Productions/Rootdown Distribution
CD
June 10, 2005

Track list
  1. Global Talk
  2. Mamah Fatuma
  3. Waka Waka Man
  4. Son Of Injustice feat. NZA
  5. Reggae Mondial
  6. Kumbi Saleh
  7. The Talisman
  8. King Matafale Tribute to
  9. Miss Kanuku
  10. Waka Beat
  11. Dark Shadows
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 3/4
"Double Culture" is the fifth album by Switzerlands's Thomas Nikles a.k.a. Famara, dubbed "the blackest man from Switzerland", and his third album in 2 years. On the heels of his in Germany and Switzerland critically acclaimed 2003 "Toubab Man" and 2004 "Famasound" albums, N-Gage Productions release this Afro-reggae album, distributed by Rootdown Music. Famara was born in Leimental (near Basel) in Switzerland, and was first caught by African riddims after joining a percussion workshop in 1984. After several solo-performances he was playing with many Afro and Latin-bands before becoming during a guest appearance with Basel's female rapper Luana a raggamuffin singer next to being a percussionist. In 1997 he released his first single "Sunshine Bubbler" that made some waves, but not enough to warrant the enormous recognition he got within musicians and press circles when he traveled to Gambia in 1998. The Gambia Weekend Observer in February 1998 headlined after a performance during the Gambia Independence Festival for 15.000 people Swiss Reggae Star In Town. His second visit to Gambia at the end of 1998 made him tour the country and record his first album "Natural Fact" there, released in 1999. In 2000 Famara did an Africa-Tour, playing in Gambia, Mali and Senegal. >From then his releases have consistently shown his musical direction, eclectic, cosmopolitic in African music rooted world-reggae. The best comparison is probably Alpha Blondy for the riddims, percussion and instrumentation, Famara's voice is a bit deeper, and his delivery in some tunes like Alpha Blondy's sing-spoken delivery, in others more directly dancehall DJ influenced. From the short yet beautiful intro "Global Talk" with its typical African-style guitars it's clear that this is a great Afro-reggae album. A more heavy rocking guitar dominates throughout "Mamah Fatuma", the one track sounding more like 80s reggae except for the vocal delivery that is a combination of Alpha Blondy's singing and old school Jamaican DJing, with beautiful female African-style backing vocals. "Waka Waka Man" is a keyboardstabs and percussion driven uptempo tune, followed by the beautifully arranged conscious "Sun Of Injustice" featuring NZA, except that it's a pity that some of the synth riffs haven't been replaced by real horns. "Reggae Mondial" with its Indian santoor strings has all the potential to become an afro-pop-reggae summerhit. "Kumbi Saleh" is about the former Sahel capital of then Ancient Ghana about 400 miles north west of modern Ghana, nowadays situated in western Mali, after an acoustic guitar driven intro, it's groovy upful Afro-reggae, percussion driven dubbed up midway through the tune. "The Talisman" is a partly vocodered and partly deejayed very nice tune, with the African-style guitars once again shining, followed by "King Matafale Tribute To", a heartfelt tribute to Evison Matafale, Malawi's 'king of reggae music' who died in police custody November 27th, 2001. "Miss Kanuku" is a beautiful catchy tune about a dancehall princess, grooving and uptempo, another potential summerhit, followed by the percussion showcase "Waka Beat" before this entertaining Afro-reggae album is closed with the almost bluesy gloomy ballad "Dark Shadows". This album deserves to be heard by everyone and especially those who like Alpha Blondy, Tiken Jah Foly and other African reggae singers.