All About Life
Lion Bobmano
Lion Bobmano
September 7, 2015

Track list
  1. All About Life
  2. Nobody feat. Zaak Is Zaak & Senka
  3. Mariwhana
  4. Jah Will Guide Me feat. Nosje
  5. Babylon Eyes
  6. Mi Nay Feelih
  7. Money Pon Mi Mind
  8. Jah Is By Your Side feat. CJ
  9. Falling In Love feat. Bestman
  10. Youths Of Today feat. Zaak Is Zaak & Senka
  11. Falling In Love feat. Leffy
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 4 Production : 3 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3
Lion Bobmano is a Surinamese, but Rotterdam (Netherlands)-based reggae artist. Born in 1982 in Suriname, he in time made a name for himself, first when he was 24, as singer of the band Livin Fire, followed by the band Liberty Shine, where he was also lead singer. Inspired by "conscious", Rastafari-inspired reggae artists, he continued to develop his solo career, eventually resulting in this debut album as a solo artist, released in 2012, called "All About Life". Though this CD is seemingly spread semi-officially or on a small scale, the album is a good showcase of Lion Bobmano as upcoming Dutch reggae artist.

Meanwhile, since 2012 up to now, Lion Bobmano gives concerts regularly throughout the Netherlands, and is releasing new singles, such as through the Indie-platform CDBaby. It is therefore interesting to review this debut album by Lion Bobmano of a few years back. It contains several collaborations with other upcoming Surinamese artists.

The title track, "All About Life", is catchy and rootsy, with some of the energy and crisp sound of the New Roots of Jamaican artists like Warrior King or Turbulence, and others, who perhaps influenced him. Lion Bobmano has a pleasant, medium-high clear voice with an inherent liveliness. His English has a somewhat mixed Surinamese and Jamaican accent, which takes a bit getting used to, but adds an original touch.

So, the title track is I think nice and also has a memorable melody. The following song, "Nobody", is a collab with Zaak Is Zaak and Senka, and is more in the Dancehall mode. It is a simple, but effective and catchy song. The digital riddim is groovy enough, the toasters/chatters have a good flow. It all could have been a bit more adventurous, though. The language here is partly Surinamese Creole. The ode to marijuana, called "Mariwhana", has a riddim that is a bit too digital and stale, but Lion Bobmano's nice and varied vocals - a nice mix of singing and chatting - keeps it entertaining enough. "Jah Will Guide Me" (with Nosje), is a rootsy, and okay, mellow song. Again it is partly in Surinamese Creole. "Babylon Eyes" is even stronger, on the "Love & Life" riddim, with also good, creative lyrics. The song "Mi Nay Feelih" (in Surinamese Creole) moves into dancehall territory: dynamic, but the riddim is a bit too simple, in my opinion. Also in a dancehall mode is "Money Pon Mi Mind", which is a bit too chaotic to truly convince, I think. It is one of those song on which you hear the willingness to experiment and creative potential, but miss, well, structure.

"Jah Is By Your Side", with the emotive-voiced CJ, is rootsy, and good, with a light-hearted vibe. In a mellow, lovers rock-mode is "Falling In Love", again multilingual (besides English and Surinamese Creole, also parts in Dutch). The singers are okay on "Falling In Love", and the accompanying riddim is likewise fine, though there is a bit of a mix/production problem: the sound could be "denser" or more balanced. The second version is too similar to the other one to truly add something. "Youths Of Today" (again with Zaak Is Zaak and Senka) is dynamic and Rootsy, and quite catchy. It sounds fuller than other songs on this album, and is again in different languages (including Surinamese and Dutch). It is a bit unstructured, though.

Overall, I think the album has a nice, lively vibe, and several good songs. "All About Life", "Babylon Eyes", and "Jah Is By Your Side" are among the better tunes, I think. Besides these, there are some pleasant but not very impressive songs (like "Nobody"), and, frankly, in my opinion, some weak and bland moments - or let's say: some songs that needed to be worked on more. All in all, though, the nice parts outweigh the weak ones, and it gives a glimpse of Lion Bobmano's original, good and versatile singing style and songwriting.