The Congos and Pura Vida - Morning Star | United Reggae

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The Congos and Pura Vida - Morning Star

The Congos and Pura Vida - Morning Star

The Congos and Pura Vida - Morning Star

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A new combination between Jamaica’s The Congos and Belgium’s Pura Vida.

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The Congos and Pura Vida - Morning Star.jpgIt is always a pleasure to behold when the rising youth recognise and even revere those seasoned campaigners who have gone before them. It is an even greater pleasure to behold when those elders assist and encourage the youth along the path that they themselves have travelled many years before. And that is exactly what Jamaica’s reggae elders the Congos and Belgium’s youthful Puraman and his formidable Pura Vida band have been doing of late.

When Pura Vida's debut album was released in 2009, Puraman (their lead singer and much more besides) met the Congos, who invited him to Jamaica. About one year later their coalition album We Nah Give Up was released on Puraman’s Lost Ark Music label. The relationship persisted and the same label released two more albums – Hard Road and Step By Step - under Congo Ashanti Roydell Johnson’s expert tutelage.  By 2014 Puraman had progressed to link up with the Congos’ own ‘godfather’ and living legend Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, enabling The Super Ape Strikes Again album.

The latest instalment in the Belgian-Jamaica roots reggae relationship has now been released. Entitled Morning Star this is another welcome and successful fusion of the Belgian youths and the Jamaican Rastafarian elders. Comprised of 10 worthy tracks, the collection opens with the appropriately titled and delightful Teach Dem, with Congo Cedric Myton’s vocals dominant. The track reflects both the groups’ relationship and the need for wisdom in the face of Babylonian ills, as ‘the whole world is in a deep sleep’. Jah love follows, leaving the listener in no doubt as to the groups’ spiritual allegiance. Next up comes Puraman’s Nobody chose life track, introduced and interspersed with straining horns set to philosophical lyrics. Thereafter Puraman’s Life can be hard eases in, bemoaning the prevalence of conflict and the paucity of common sense, with a neat guitar solo thrown in for good measure. Ashanti Roy’s title track Morning Star follows, with the 3 wise men en route to Bethlehem securing an honourable mention amidst plenty of percussion. The percussion serves as an entrée to Puraman’s invigorating and effective It’s all over now track, which is somewhat reminiscent of Paul Simon’s immortal Graceland. Then Myton’s vocals take over again on the In the ghetto track, set to some exquisite melodica inputs from Puraman.

Jahrusalem gives vent to Watty Burnett’s deep bass voice, in a manner that serves to remind us that the day of judgement is imminent. The compilation’s penultimate track Don’t stress it, with its brilliant brass opening and delicate delivery, allows Kenroy Fyffe to put his worthy wares on display, before Dub love winds up proceedings with plenty of percussion and echo effects, as befits many dub versions.

All round the verdict is ‘thumbs up’ to Pura Vida and the Congos for this alluring album. Long may their liaison continue.

Pura Vida

Morning Star was released on May 31th, 2018 and is available from Lost Ark Music on LP, CD and digital download.

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