First there was "Nemozian Rasta", then came "Assini" and now there's "Vijan", the much anticipated third collaboration project between one of reggae's best surprises in recent years, St. Croix's sensational roots band Midnite, and I Grade Records. Crediting the music on this cd to "A Midnite-I Grade Collaboration" means that it's not an official release by the group, even though it sounds a lot like Midnite. Some other musicians from the "I Grade" label have been involved in the recording of the tracks for this disc. The players of instruments on "Vijan" include Kenyatta Itola on bass, Dion "Bossie" Hopkins on drums, Tuff Lion on guitars, Eric Williams on keys alongside the album's producers Laurent "Tippy" Alfred and Midnite's lead vocalist Vaughn Benjamin, who both play a number of different instruments.
Teacher & Mr. T.
All 14 tunes have the outstanding vocals of the versatile and incredibly talented Vaughn Benjamin, a singer blessed with an electrifying voice - soulful, chanting and edgy. Furthermore he's also a multi-instrumentalist and great songwriter, known for his profound and innovative lyrics. As already experienced on other releases it's once again Vaughn's songwriting and unique vocal performance that provide ample food for thought and spiritual upliftment. Musically spoken this album goes in new directions from Midnite's usual sound. "Vijan" truly has a lot to offer. We're treated to a diverse collection of songs, ranging from the mystically melodic acoustic tunes "Days Come" and the beautiful "Blackson Rays" to the impressive heavyweight nyabinghi track "Structa". Also included are more traditional roots songs such as the outstanding "See Blah Sum" the wicked "Nativity" and the solid "Thank The Lord" alongside the soulful blend of genres on tracks like the entertaining "Cradle Of Joy", the wonderful "Far I" and "Scornful".
"Vijan" is an album that slowly unfolds its secrets. It's one of those discs that requires a few spins to get better and better. All in all it's truly excellent, on par with the previous two collaboration projects and further proof of St. Croix's growing roots reggae tradition. Worthwhile checking out!!