Kokoo Girl
Rootdown - Soulfood Music
August 28, 2009

Track list
  1. Natty Dread
  2. Pink Drunken Elephant
  3. Moonshine
  4. Kokoo Girl
  5. Land Of The Free
  6. Take It Or Leave It
  7. Take A Walk With Me
  8. Take The Train
  9. Voodoo Elephant
  10. Letter To Samson
  11. The Day B4 Last
  12. Healing Waters
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Rootdown Records' co-founder and in house producer Thilo 'Teka' Jacks recruited Jaqee initially for the Rootdown Records Cumbia meets Reggae meets 'the other Carribean' meets Afrobeat meets Mediterranean hip hop project Koalas Desperados and Teka and Jaqee continued the collaboration resulting in Jaqee's fourth and latest album "Kokoo Girl". Jaqee was born in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, she began her vagabond like life the moment she was born. During her childhood, she travelled the rural areas of her home country with her parents. This is where she collected her first impressions of the life as a nomad. From birth on, wandering the earth became a part of her destiny. In the early nineties she undertook a huge step and immigrated to Sweden. The city of Gothenburg would become her adopted home from where she was able to access all the different destinies and directions, which were on offer to her. Through all the borders Jaqee crossed, music has always been her steady companion whereas it never was a stereotype thing that let her get down with any special genre, than more like a special feeling. To do what I want in a particular moment is my motivation. I like to express myself in all kind of sounds. So above all, she became a true nomad in the world of music.

After several successful cooperations with numerous artists, in 2005 Jaqee made an impact with her debut album “Blaqalixious”, which was mainly a soul and R&B album. After further creative and fruitful collaborations, Jaqee released her second long player “Nouvelle d´Amour” in 2007. This time, the sound was more of a rocking, bluesy vibe. It seemed to be the total opposite to her debut album but for Jaqee it was only the next step on her path in the circle of life. One step further on, she encountered the songs of Billie Holiday, which lead to the album “A letter To Billie” recorded together with Bohuslänbigband, a lovely homage to the great American Jazz singer. Both of her first two albums each received a Swedish Grammy nomination and several appearances on Swedish national television increased her standing as a passionate and soulful singer. Then Teka, producer and creator of many successful riddims for his co-found German label Rootdown Records considered her to be part of his new project Koalas Desperados. Jaqee and Teka decided to combine both their talents into one album, resulting in her fourth release, this "Kokoo Girl" album, a refreshing mix of oldschool reggae sounds from the seventies combined with up-to-date beats, electronic twists and turns and of course her amazing voice.

From the upful umtempo almost ska-ish riddim of "Natty Dread" starting this album, it seems as if this is going to be a happy go lucky album, but that is countered by Jaqee's wonderful bluesy soulful voice and phrasing and intriguing lyrics (no more needs to be said about that if you know the second tune on the album is called "Pink Drunken Elephant"). The riddims are flawless and so is Jaqee's vocal delivery on next tunes "Moonshine" and title track "Kokoo Girl" ('Kokoo' being a word for a very special feeling that Jaqee however doesn't like to really explain) that was in its original version already a huge hit in Sweden. "Land Of The Free" is less uptempo and more standard reggae except for Jaqee's beautiful vocals, followed by the even slower beautiful acoustic ballad "Take It Or Leave It", the catchy "Take A Walk With Me" and the title track of Teka's latest riddim selection "Take A Train". It is great to hear a rather experimental electro-riddim as well on this album for "Voodoo Elephant" before the bluesy roots reggae of "Letter To Samson" and infectious umptempo "Day B4 Last" are the almost last strong tunes on this album. The album is however closed by the strange but powerful (despite its much lower volume) gospel-like "Healing Waters". This is an extremely entertaining album that may not be hardcore reggae, but should be bought by everyone loving music. A great cooperation between this Ugandese/Swedish female singer Jaqee and German producer Teka from Rootdown Records! Wholeheartedly recommended.