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It’s no secret that the music coming out of Jamaica is taking on fresh and new proportions. Purists may complain that the sound of authentic Jamaican music is changing, but I can personally vouch for the fact that there are many listeners who are hungry for fusions, remixes, and even collaborations with a Hip Hop/ Pop feel. If you want a fresh approach to local music, one recommendation I can make for you is Llyell’s new E.P, Eyes Wide Shut.
The three-track offering boasts music that can be played many years from now. As someone who is new to Llyell’s music, I find myself drawn first to his amazing use of lyricism. He makes sure he tells a story in every song. In Rent Free, he sings: “Can catch me living in ‘ar head, rent free, or walking overseas like “Jeezas Peez”/ Crying in the dark, smiling in the sun/ Smile when they see, never let them know/ The pain weh you feel, never let it show/ Tho the devil is real so mi nah form fool/ prefer farm herb tree, Mama still say you smoke too much and I still tell Mama one day imma stop.” This tune is a relaxant in itself, giving you the calm vibes you would get from sipping on some herbal tea and taking a few puffs on a breezy Saturday morning.
In his single After Life ft. Tahirah Elizabeth, we feel a sense of triumph. The song speaks to living one’s full life to the best of their abilities (Lord knows there is no trying, just do/ and sometimes your time just due). Tahirah’s vocals add the perfect meditative vibe to the track, as she softly croons in the background. It feels like a conversation between two creatives set on making their mark in the world, aiming to be remembered for greatness even after they have departed from this realm.
My solid favourite would be the acoustic version of Occasion. I had heard the full version of the song and gained appreciation for it, but there’s so much power in just hearing a voice over guitar strings. This was a very good move, and is an option I hope many more local acts will utilize. It fosters a deeper connection between the listener and the artiste, creating a bond that can last for a lifetime.
This fact is made even clearer as the song approaches the poignant topics of loss, greed and brutality: (Bigga heads tink too much, is like dem need fi bathe/ continue dem ya ways and wi set Rome ablaze/ lef’ wi branded and stranded, lock up in cages/ Only ting the youths wanted is a length a days). The track’s guitar lines are done courtesy of Almando Douglas, with supporting vocals by Ah-Drianna.
This is an excellent body of work, and I implore you to be immersed in the experienced. Production was done by echoBeats, and the E.P. cover art was done by DTR Designs with visuals by Anorak Productions Ltd.
Please feel free to contact Llyell and access his work at:
Blessings in abundance!