Tap Nat Musik
February 21, 2011
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 4||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4/5|
Donovan "I-Taweh" Cunningham was born in the hills of St. Ann, Jamaica to Rupert and Ruby Cunningham. Growing up he played music with his family and friends, but his musical career started shortly after his move from the country to Kingston in 1992, where he was given the name Danny Gitz because of his growing reputation as an outstanding guitarist. He began his first tour with High Symbol in 1994. He then went on to become the youngest member of the original Nyabhingi group Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari and extensively toured Europe with them. During those years he was also doing significant work as a band leader for the original "Dance Hall King" Sugar Minott and later became the guitarist for Everton Blender. His work with Everton Blender brought him to the U.S. in 2004 where he then became the bassist for the Yellow Wall Dub Squad, a major backing band for headlining artists in the U.S. and the opening act for the artists they were playing for.
His act was billed as "Itawe" and often referred to as the "Reggae Lion". He quickly gained popularity as the singing bassist, and his voice was likened to that of the reggae legend Burning Spear. He has recorded for several major artists such as Sade, Capleton, Morgan Heritage, Sugar Minott, Luciano, etc. and on any given day you can hear his guitar licks playing on radio stations across the globe. For the past few years he has been a band member and the opening act for artists such as The Abyssinians, Richie Spice, Anthony B, Gregory Isaacs, Yami Bolo, Ini Kamoze, Half Pint, Sister Carol, The Melodians, The Mighty Diamonds, Junior Reid, Tanya Stephens and many more.
After 17 years of being a supporting musician, I-Taweh took a one year hiatus from performances to pursue his solo album "Overload. He has written and composed all of his own original music and independently produced his first album under his own label Tap Nat Muzik. His music is diverse and reflects his passion for Human Rights and Social Justice making him the perfect choice for the soundtrack featured in the award winning movie "African Rush / The Ultimate Ride" and the big wave surf film "THE FIND: Claiming the Nelscott Reef".
Lyrically the album is food for thought and the music makes one jump up and dance. All riddims are fresh originals and played by real musicians. The album opens with an excellent tune called Runaway. It's a mid tempo tune warning people to "find your dwelling place today, make sure it's the place that you want to stay..." Next comes The Prayer (Deliver Me), yet another strong outing with a huge vibe and featuring fine horns by veteran Dean Fraser. Jah Bless features reggae veterans Horsemouth and Chris Meredith on drums and bass. This awesome praising tune is one of the many highlights on the album.
Five of the tracks on the album I-Taweh wrote and recorded with Broussai, a French reggaegroup. The sound of these songs is different compared to the rest of the tunes. Babylon Bridge is a decent 'one drop' tune, but Freedom Fight (Holy War) fails to make a decent impression. Live Graceful is an uptempo dance tune, telling us "just hope and pray... be thankful and not ungrateful". Long Road is just an excellent tune.
A noteworthy song is Braveheart, calling out to the youths not to follow bad company and "run go thief". Rise And Shine is a moody love song with jazzy flavours... great effort! In the end Overload rounds off I-Taweh's fine debut album. The Nyabhingi version of Overload is also included on the album.