Multi-talented reggae artist Layne Tadesse has blessed us once again with his new EP, All I Know, available today. This album reminds us of the African roots of reggae music, as it intertwines the native tongue of Eritrea with traditional African rhythm. Tadesse not only brings us back to our roots, but also adds lyrics that are universally recognized as a sign for world peace, love and harmony.
For Tadesse, the connections between reggae music and his native country of Eritrea run deep.
For Tadesse, the connections between reggae music and his native country of Eritrea run deep. Shortly before Tadesse was born in the early 60s, war broke out between Eritrea and Ethiopia, forcing his family to move. Eritrea is an example of triumph against the colonizer (Italy) which parallels many themes reggae touches on among in their music.
The connections between Eritrea and reggae are painted all over the album, best exemplified through his first track off the album, “Nsemama’e”, where Tadesse uses both the Eritrean language and English to bring the message of working together for the greater good to light with lyrics like, “We need love, We need love, We need love, Africa need love… We’re today, We’re gone tomorrow, so let’s get together for right now.” Tadesse also has more RnB and dancehall poppy music, best exemplified through his love songs, like “Lovin You”.
Tadesse also touches upon more serious topics, best shown in his song, “Emergency”. Musically, the track is a fusion of traditional reggae music with the dub rhythm, as well as elements of newer musical electrical elements heard in popular music today. The lyrics act almost as a warning to the youth, for them to “wise up” due to all of the horrors that are happening around us: “Everywhere I go, we see more police, everywhere I go, rioting in the street, everywhere I go.”
The album also features three additional songs, “In My Soul”, “Broken Promises” and the title track, “All I Know”. Nothing off of this new album is anywhere near what you would typically hear on a reggae album. Tadesse uses his knowledge of various genres, as well as his own background, to create an album that is not only a mediation of reggae roots, but also a compilation of Tadesse’s current musical position.
Purchase or stream All I Know EP:
- All I Know
- Broken Promises
- In My Soul
- Lovin You
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.