Radikal Expressions
July 7, 2006

Track list
  1. My Bredren
  2. Eretrians
  3. Natural Is Jah Mystic
  4. Gonna Be There
  5. Never Forget
  6. Jah Children
  7. A Little Love feat. Kulcha Knox
  8. Melting Pot
  9. Tricksters
  10. Poor Man feat. Kulcha Knox
  11. Rock And Grove
  12. Passa Passa
  13. Things To Do
  14. Stand Up
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4/5
The well respected French Makasound label -- at least amongst fans of vintage reggae music -- has set up a branch label named Makafresh, which is dedicated to release new roots music. The very first release is "Radikal Expressions", the full length debut album from Doniki, a somewhat under rated and under recorded singer with a sweet voice. Doniki released his debut single, "Hicky", in 1985, but it lasted until the mid nineties before he attracted some attention from reggae followers with 7" singles (including "Trod One") he recorded in collaboration with his friend Steady Ranks for Richard 'Bello' Bell's Star Trail label. In 1998 the duo teamed up with Ocho Rios based Kariang label for which they recorded the album "Give Thanks and Praises". However it didn't bring them the success they were longing for, so they decided to bring their collaboration to an end.

In recent years Doniki started to record again which led to the release of a few 7" singles including "Rise Up", "Obey", "Life", Put It On Me", "Your Love" and his most recent single "Burning Fire" on the Everything Natural label. For his first full length solo album Doniki has returned to producer Jah Mikes from the Kariang label. Not a bad move at all we would say, because Kariang is known and appreciated for working with conscious artists, real musicians and fresh original riddims. And indeed... it's nice to see that the Kariang production crew have maintained these standards on this enjoyable album.

The listener is treated to several strong moments and a few real good conscious tunes, which benefit from the well arranged and expertly played riddim tracks with on top the captivating baritone voice of Doniki. Truly excellent are "Eretrians", "Natural Is Jah Mystic" and "Never Forget", while "My Bredren", "Gonna Be There", the previous single "Jah Children", the acoustic "Stand Up" and the combination with Kulcha Knox "Poor Man" are matching cuts.

The only disappointing tracks are "Tricksters" and "Rock And Groove", which - lyrically spoken - are below par and thus fail to make a decent impression. Furthermore we're not overly fond of the hip-hop fueled "A Little Love", a track that sounds out of place compared to the strong roots oriented backing of the other cuts. However these minuses don't make this album less enjoyable.

Musicians who have contributed to the album include Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Bongo Herman, Benjy Myaz, Paul "Wrongmove" Crossdale, Donald Dennis, Andrew "Mr. Bassie" Campbell, Val Douglas, Wayne Armond, Christopher Birch, Melbourne "Dusty" Miller, Earl "Chinna" Smith, Junior Jazz, Khan Chin, Squidley Cole, Ian "Beezy" Coleman, Dean Fraser, Mikey Chung, and Lloyd "Obeah" Denton. Backing vocals are provided by Twiggy, "Iki", Junior "Steady" Joseph, Wayne Armond, Earl "Junior" Smith, and Maria Smith,

There's no doubt that this album is certain to propel Doniki's musical career several steps forward.