Journey To Foreign
Nurture Projects Music
December 14, 2008
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4/5||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
It took about 4 years before Clinark's debut studio album "Journey To Foreign" finally hit the streets, and then quite a few weeks more to reach our mailbox, but the long wait has been truly worthwhile.
Bermudian reggae artist Clinark aka The Reggae Torch is no newcomer in the music business, but it has been a difficult journey for Clinark to reach to this point in his career. As a child growing up in Bermuda, Clinark was heavily influenced by his Seventh Day Adventist upbringing and his love of reggae music, particularly Bob Marley and the group Aswad. His father encouraged him to sing and he learned to play the piano.
Clinark first came to prominence in the early 80's with local Bermuda based band called Youth Creation. The band was successful, leading to touring overseas. They disbanded in 1990. Clinark then joined a new band called Studio Six. They did the full circuit of clubs and hotels in Bermuda, with a broader spectrum of music, including soca, soul etc. The band broke up in 1993. Clinark joined Bermuda's top reggae band called Jahstice in 1995. They backed most of the visiting reggae acts including Freddie McGregor. They also represented Bermuda at the Caribbean Song Festival in Barbados. Clinark left Jahstice at the end of 1999. But this proved to be a most unfortunate and desperate time. Clinark was on the verge of a big break in the music industry, but he was suddenly struck down with a mysterious debilitating illness. After years of being incapacitated with sudden bouts of dizziness and inability to walk and unable to work, he was finally diagnosed as suffering with a severe vertigo symptoms. Meanwhile, Clinark's voice remained in full form. In 2003 He was asked by his life long friend, neighbour and former Jahstice keyboard player and songwriter, Antwon Pitt to form a duo called African Descendants. Their demo of co-written songs proved to be a success, being played on national and nternational radio. Offers from producers in Jamaica, and the reggae fraternity in Europe and USA came in, but Clinark was not yet fully recovered and was unable to travel until 2004.
Internationally Clinark is best known for the hit single "Dem Come", which he sang under the name of Dillinjah on the Dread Unity label in 2004. It was a modern day cyber production with Clinark writing and voicing tracks in his native home of Bermuda and the production being done in the UK. A planned trip for the duo to record in Jamaica was postponed. So Clinark decided to take up an invitation to record a couple of tracks and travelled to the UK in December 2004. Clinark met up with drummer and producer, Tony 'Technical T' Edwards, brother Rob Edwards Jnr and his sister Juliet Edwards who have now come together to form the Nurture Projects music publishing house and record label. Clinark's visit produced a buzz of excitement in the studio and a plan was hatched to record an album at a later date. Clinark and Juliet Edwards immediately got to work on creating songs for the project. So throughout 2005 and early 2006 the team worked on. Eventually, by the end of 2004, Technical T had produced a demo of an 18 track album called "Journey". Clinark and the team continued to work on the "Journey" album project and started recording with UK top producers Mafia & Fluxy. Meanwhile, in 2006, a 9-track live album with Dutch reggae band Poor Man Friend, "Clinark Live In Holland", was released featuring live versions of a couple of songs from the forthcoming "Journey To Foreign" album.
And now, after the final production was done at Stingray Studios in London UK with involvement of 'Dilly' McLeod as production engineer and also Gussie P, there's the official release of an album that features 20 entertaining tunes. Besides Clinark's solo efforts there are no less than 9 collaborations with artists from Jamaica, Bermuda, Hawaii and the UK including top artists like Luciano, Richie Spice and Maxi Priest to name only three. The quality of the tracks ranges from solid to excellent and it's obvious Clinark and the people that have supported him in the creation of this album have put much time and effort in the compositions, arrangements and lyrics of each song.
With so many tracks on an album it's almost impossible to write something about every tune, so let's solely focus on the standout efforts, split into solo tracks and collaborations. To start with the latter, it's the poignant "Life In The Ghetto" done in combination with Gramps and Peter Heritage that proves to be a truly excellent song with a strong roots vibe. It's followed by another great effort, "No Where TV", the combination with Fantan Mojah in which they warn us about the doctrines of TV and video games. For "Living In A Concrete Jungle" Clinark teamed up with Richie Spice and the final result is simply great. Both artists deliver their lyrical goods over a wicked riddim track and are accompanied by fine female backing vocals. Maxi Priest is the next big name to collaborate with Clinark, whose vocal delivery on "As A Man I Weep" reminds us of the late great Garnet Silk. Killer tune! And also "Sign Of The Times" with fellow Bermudian Troy Anthony deservedly takes its place among the standouts, while Luciano does a great guest appearance on the awesome "Glorify".
In contrast to what one could think the quality of this album doesn't depend on the many collaborations as Clinark fully shows to be capable of delivering songs on his own that are also worth of hearing. We've already mentioned Clinark's 'Garnet-esque' voice utilized for "As A Man I Weep", and the same will be witnessed when listening to the great "Ain't That Something", which is underpinned by the same riddim that is used for "Living In A Concrete Jungle". "Choices" is a wonderful song that deals with the less pleasant side of love affairs. Next drops the heart rendering track, "Angel Eyes", which happens to be an outstanding lovers tune. "Colonized", with Henry "Tenue" Buttons on trombone, is an excellent message tune with great lyrics.
If you want designer labels
And you'd rather thief than buy
Then check your situation
Your mindís still colonised...
Why should we flee a paradise?
Why can't we make our own life?
Just get up and rise!
Don't be demoralised!
On the remake of his hit single "Dem Come", Clinark blesses the listener again with that 'Garnet-esque' voice. It's still an outstanding effort that demands for repeated play. Clinark has worked on a reggae version of the "Lord's Prayer" for a couple of years on and off, and it pays as he has turned it into a truly great song.
If you're a fan who goes for quality reggae music, then you shouldn't overlook this very satisfying debut set.