Women has always taken a backseat when it comes to Reggae, way back in the day there where not a lot of female artists and out of the ones that existed few where all that good. Things change though and nowadays there is a multitude of female acts, good ones who prove they can do it just as good as the guys.
One of these artists is “Sista Awa” who I to be honest don’t know a whole lot about, from what I have found out online I think she’s Italian or at least residing there. I don’t know if there is a distinct Italian sound as the only artists I really know of is “Alborosie” and “Irie Souljah” but Iwa sounds more British than anything else, like some rootsy, steppers Reggae (u know, one of those artists who usually just release 10” and 12”s). I wouldn’t say it’s all that retro but I could definitely see “Mad Professor” produce her.
Anyways, first up is “Come away” and she comes out hard from the get go, she’s militant both when it comes to sound and lyrics. You don’t mess with Awa!!! This is modern roots at it’s finest, upbeat and energetic with educated lyrics sparing us the worst Rasta clichés while still being 100% Rasta. The third song “Angry” is one of my favorites on here and you better believe the title, she is angry and the song hits u like a punch in the stomach when she tells the listeners about all the oppression and wrong that is going on in the world. It’s an focused anger though, free from hatred. The chorus is simple and get stuck in your head in no time, I could easily see this playing on repeat in my head to the point where it almost get’s annoying.
More str8 fyah is served on “Roots & culture” where Sista Awa asks the listeners if they know their roots and culture? It’s also an personal reflection on her own life and experiences. While not being a soft tune it does not feel quite as angry and hardcore in it’s approach. She ends just as militant as she started with “What’s your problem” which is aimed at businessmen, the police and politicians oppressing the people of Africa etc.
There is not an song on here that is not conscious, militant and deals with serious subjects, Sista Awa goes for the throat of the oppressors and won’t let go. While she is clearly Rasta she does not deal too much with anything religious, this album is strictly about social issues and injustices. A lot of the time I find one dimensional albums like this a bit boring after a while. Usually it’s nice to have a few more easy going songs about love or chilling at the beach or something to break things up. I guess this album is the exception, one dimensional or not it works and is a very strong album. I look forward to hear more from this talented artist.