Songbird Riddim

May 27, 2013

A rhythm with a song at its heart.

The one rhythm album is a much maligned beast in these times. Some reggae fans yearn for its heyday; some celebrate its decline.

Songbird Riddim

But now U.S. and U.S.V.I. production house conglomerate Zion I Kings have created the first in a series of backings that could revitalise the concept. The Songbird is a thing of beauty: a jazzy soulful smooth construction with a bittersweet mix of major and minor chords – where each of its 16 cuts stands its own against the last.

The music is written by two of the Kings David “Jah D” Goldfine (who plays bass) and I Grade founder Laurent Tippy I Alfred (keys). Yet the most striking arrangements are Balboa Becker and Daniel Casares’ horns and Jazzique’s cascading piano. In reggae – particularly where Zion I Kings are involved – emotions can be powerful without being visceral and hard.

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