Ginjah's got soulMonday, May 17, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Contemporary dancehall/reggae albums or EPs usually have a similar formula — multiple collaborations, recycled rhythms and covers. Ginjah was determined not to go that route on his sixth album.
Ginjah The Reggae Soul Man is the title of the 15-song set which is released today by Natures Way Entertainment, an independent label in South Florida. It is the artiste's sixth album and one he hopes will finally place him among the heavyweights.
According to the 42-year-old singer/songwriter, “Everyone should take a listen. It's the album every authentic reggae lover should have.”
'The Reggae Soul Man' drops one year after Survival, Ginjah's previous album. It was shortly after that set came out he met Garfield Cowan, head of Natures Way Entertainment, and they agreed to work on a comprehensive project.
This is the third artiste album for the label which has released several 'riddim' compilations over the years, including the successful Sweet Personality. This time around, Cowan took a different direction, one that projected Ginjah's artistic prowess.
“There are no collaborations or anything like that. This is a studio album. Straight!” he said.
One song, Pressures of Life, has been released to date from Ginjah The Reggae Soul Man. Procastinate is expected to be the follow-up.
The purists long for a return of the classic reggae album. Some point to 1995s 'Til Shiloh by Buju Banton as the last Jamaican set deserving such a tag; Halfwaytree by Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, released six years later, also packs that quality.
When 'Til Shiloh came out, Hanover-born Valentine Nakrumah Fraser (Ginjah's real name) was a budding artiste living in Central Village, Spanish Town. His recording career took flight at the time of Halfwaytree's release, when he was part of Beres Hammond's Harmony House label.
The past 15 years has seen Ginjah cut a series of well-received songs including Never Lost my Way, Guilty Conscience, Prayer, Sweet Killer and Music Alone. He admits he has been knocking at the door for some time; Ginjah The Reggae Soul Man may be the album that takes him over the top.
“It's very important for a singer/songwriter to be recognised for his or her hard work and dedication, so it would be rewarding for the world to finally accept my music the way I visioned it,” he said.
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