Dancin' Shoes
July 29, 2013

Dancin' Shoes - MALIJAH Track list
  1. Going On Ward
  2. 2 Shy 2 Speak
  3. Like How The Water
  4. Food Man Ah Look
  5. Free Morning Bird
  6. No Peace
  7. Pressing On
  8. Ruling Sound
  9. Mama
  10. Gave U My Heart
  11. Things Won´t Be The Same
  12. Dancin’ Shoes
  13. Rastafari Clear The Way
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3/4
ReggaeLand Productions is a Barcelona based production house, which was and originally conceived as a radio show under the name of Reggaeland FM in 1997, it eventually became a recording label in 2004 and was renamed Reggaeland. Productions started out in Jamaica and involved Spanish vocal artists Nano Bravo, Queen Smiley and Supah Bassie, recorded over Jamaican riddims and eventually released as 7". It was in 2009 that the label finally begun to publish albums from mainly upcoming Spanish artists, who voiced Reggaeland's own produced riddims. Jah Nattoh "En Buenas Manos" was the first official release, followed by Miguel Arraigo "La Esencia Vital" and shortly after by Maia "La Llamada". The year 2011 marked a turning point with three very solid releases: "Cultura Accidental" from the Catalan reggae band Txilum, the first one riddim album "Dem Talking" riddim featuring Jamaican artists and another 'one riddim' album by the name of "Reggae Reasoning".

A growing interest for Reggaeland corporative riddims from overseas and the existing link with the land of reggae – Jamaica – led the team to start serious recordings with Jamaican artists. Eager to rescue the original Reggae values and to promote conscious productions, Reggaeland decided to turn its focus on new generations of Jamaican worthy upcoming artists – alongside the brilliant Spanish ones it already involved – with the aim to help establish a new breed of conscious Reggae artists. In 2012 the label released the successful "Cultura" riddim, the one riddim set "Hold Di Trinity", and 2 more albums, "Warrior of Jah Army" by Singer Jah and "No Fear No Man" by Anthony Que. March 2012 saw the release of Malijah's album "Dancin' Shoes", being Reggaeland's first official album with a Jamaican artist.

Born Naval Lee Bennett, Malijah grew up in a household where music was the essential soundtrack of daily life as his mother, Cecelia Allen, was an excellent singer. So when he grew up, destiny's hands nudged him gently into the entertainment business. However, it took a few years for him to immerse himself fully as he started out doing Michael Jackson sing-overs before he found his own voice. He scored with several singles, such as the Anthony B duet "Hills Farmer", "One More Spliff", "Gideon Soldier" and a version of Lorna Bennett's "Breakfast in Bed" called "No Combo".

His vocal delivery reminds us of Romain Virgo, but with a wailing edge. The Rastafari inspired song Going On Ward opens this solid album. The same theme returns in the last track Rastafari Clear The Way. Malijah is also at ease doing lovers orientated tunes. Check out Give U My Heart and 2 Shy 2 Speak. The single Like How The Water is a celebration of his homeland and its 50th anniversary. Great tune, well worth spinning more than once!

The title track, a ska flavoured tune, is a musical tribute to the Island's musical wealth inna retrospective perpective - Dancin' Time! On the other hand Malijah shows he can handle serious themes as well. Listen to Things Won't Be The Same, a cut across Reggaeland's "Reggae Reasoning" riddim, the flawless No Peace, delivered across a sober riddim and Food Man Ah Look that comes across a dancehall/hip hop styled riddim. Top tune here is Ruling Sound, a song across Reggaeland's "Dem Talking" riddim.

Highly recommendable set!