Posted in Diaspora, Togo

Tabi Album Review – “Fresh” (2010)

The audience for this album seems to be mostly for the dance clubbers; although, as is the case with other Bonney albums there is such a variety it is difficult to put it in one category. Even though Bonney does not mention immigration, the song, “Go Away” could be referring to getting out of Africa; he mentions it is 98 degrees and he not breaking a sweat and needs to leave. On the same cut he asks ‘garcon’ (French for waiter), to bring the check so he can leave, and unlike most of the songs the background sounds are very mixed and convoluted almost sounding like noise. But, then on the song “Yeah Go” he refers to himself as “this Togo kid is bigger than anything you ever did” proudly identifying with his African heritage, and says he has a plan like Obama. In this song I can hear the congo drums, and the voice undulations used in a lot of African music.

The dance club sounding cuts, “Radio” from a previous album, “Nuthin’ But a Hero”, “Sunlight”, “Blending” and Galaxy” sound focused on a mainstream dance audience; however, on “Sunlight” the African influence is heard with the bells and wooden blocks used as instrument, the big bass beat, and the French spoken in the beginning of the song, “como talle vous” (how are you).  Both “Blending” and “Galaxy” are not as rhythmic, and seems geared to a young crossover crowd. The softer “Winner’s Tourney” has a kind of old school European dance hall sound in the background with whistling and sticks percussion, and he says in French he wants “beaucoup” (many) good things.  The French language is an influence from living in Togo.

The two songs on the album that I prefer sound more like reggae, “Killer People” and “Fever”.  On “Fever”, Bonney collaborated Raheem DeVaugh, an African American singer,  and on “Killer People”  the background singers sounded Caribbean and Bonney had help from  Wale, a Nigerian American rapper from Washington, D.C. ( both his parents are Nigerian).

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