A few weeks ago veteran reggae artist Mikey General introduced me to a new artist, IfaTunde Orunmila. Though he currently resides in the UK, I met IfaTunde while he was visiting loved ones and hanging out with Mikey in Jamaica.
Upon meeting him I was given a complimentary copy of his new album “Melanin.” I promised both men that I would listen to the CD and give my honest opinion.
While listening to it I was struck by how different it is from other recently released Rasta-reggae albums I’ve had to review. The difference, I felt at the time and still do, is in the lyrical content, the message. I was honestly expecting to hear a lot of praise and acknowledgement for Rastafari, but I didn’t get that at all.
The album starts with IfaTunde introducing himself by letting us know that he is a “Struggler.” He gets into his background and laments on why he won’t give up. From there, the next few songs are all about educating his listeners on the importance of loving and respecting each other and not neglecting and/or mistreating our youths. There is of course the title track “Melanin,” which highlights the uniqueness of the black skin, as well as a couple of tracks in which he is thanking the ‘Creator’ for all his blessings.
All and all I’m fascinated with this album because I find that it has an inexplicable power. Maybe it’s IfaTunde‘s spirituality that’s quietly on display. In the early 2000’s, he traveled to Nigeria and Ghana where he was initiated into the ways of the Orishas (Òrìṣà), which is a Yoruba way of life/tradition. It is there that he got the name Ifa-Tunde; meaning the oracle has returned.
Musicians featured on this project includes: Trevor Bonnick (Skatta), who is the lead singer for Inner Circle. He played various instruments, provided harmonies and mixed the entire project; Benje “Donovan” Belnavis (bass guitar); Paul “Titus” Green (rhythm guitar); Steven “Lenky” Marsden (piano) and Shanti (harmonies). It was mastered by Delroy “Spider” Thompson at Anchor Studio in Kingston, Jamaica.
As if all the aforementioned isn’t enough to solidify “Melanin” as a great record, it also boast collaborations with Mikey General, Skatta and Shaddu. All songs were recorded at Cube Music JA.
Review by @MariaJackson27