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Ya Foy!

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Album Review

When you were born in Algeria, and have lived in various African and European countries and Canada before settling in Ecuador, you need an international musical language to communicate. In the case of Sarazino (the nom de musique for Lamine Fellah) that's reggae. He does a very good job with it, too. It's always there at the root of the songs, but is often just part of the overall sound, as with "Nadia," which also includes an Andalusian feel to transport it across oceans. It's very much a multi-national affair, with an African vocalist (who also lives in Ecuador), the excellent Revelino Aguidissou, featured on most of the tracks, with guest appearances from the legendary Toots Hibbert, who brings real reggae authenticity to "People," and King Changó's Blanquito Man offering his toasting talents on "Mundo Babilon 2." But the real star here is the music, which is comprised of simply good pop/rock and reggae songs with enough exoticism and class to stand out from the crowd. With a full, rich sound that's never crowded, Sarazino is almost an analogue for Manu Chao, who similarly uses that Jamaican offbeat style as propulsion for his music, albeit in a more stripped-down way (although the closer here, "On Va Tout Changer," comes vaguely close). This is a fully developed, very appealing, and distinctive sound, led from the back by Sarazino's own keyboards. On the basis of this, Sarazino has a very bright future.

Ya Foy!, Sarazino
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