Review: Pacha Mama ft Strawl – A Luta Continua

Straight of of the Nederlands in the Den Bosch Region, a sound system is bubbling away and has been since 2011. Whilst building a brand they’ve released their first piece of production via their own label Pacha Mama Music. Sometimes, with releases from sound systems  you’ll find that because there is a few people involved, that theres different producers or ridders, all sound very different due to different inputs but on this piece the majority of instruments were played by Cartes Selah.

By Liam Monaghan

The complication was released on the 24th November 2017 and they have teamed up with Strawl. Strawl is an artist I’m a fan of due to his unique delivery style and tone. The concept of this compilation is Roots Reggae whilst taking influence from the modern revival sound.

A Luta Continua
Title Track from the album which sets the tone for the rest of the album. We get a stripped back rootsy vibe with jumping keys and some relaxed drumming with the occasional guitar pluck. Its a very chilled song which allows Strawl to come in and delivery his messages. I really like Strawls voice, it has an element of the lighthouse family in it. Its husky but gritty. He knows his limits with his vocal range and plays it like a pro.

Backbiters
Continuing with a chilled out ridden for this track, the ridden is slightly more, lets say full with more consistent guitar work and evidently some nice hand drumming. Its nice to think that one guy pretty much made all these riddims from scratch on his own. Strawl brings that wise voice and discusses back biters fighting jan youth and denying the truth. A very much anti establishment record but an easy listen and the riddim is fresh enough for the track not to be dull.

Hard Time
Slightly a different track with Hard time. The riddim I feel just never really gets going, you know if you listen to drum and bass and theres a huge build up and then theres that point the bass and the ‘drop’ kicks in, well that split second of the before the drop drum, is what we have here consistently, I’m not massively a fan of the ridden. The mission statement in this track is quite simple, Strawl discusses suffering and youth oppression and how people are living in hard times in this day and age.

No Weak Heart
Back to a Roots riddim with this track. We start with some nice relaxed guitar strumming and the drumming is minimal. The riddim isn’t a big riddim with lots happening. This ridden has fell into the dull section for me unfortunately, the songs a little drab and not so entertaining. You can talk about listening to something spiritually or on another level and Reggae isn’t about ticking boxes… discuss war, tick, poverty, tick, politicians, tick, we’ve got a reggae track! Thats not the case, but riddims can be spiced up!

Big Disaster
Rasta no surrender is the statement here. Strawl questions Babylon’s intentions and discusses profit for negativity. If theres a disaster then whats Babylon after? Well Strawl takes us through what he thinks they are. The riddim has some nice sax work later on in the riddim which is refreshing and bring s anew element tot the track. There isn’t really too much to say about this record as theres not much too it, its an easy listen though that provokes some thinking.

Ethiopia
I like this track as we get to hear some of benefits of Strawls voice, we’re greeted at the start of the recording with a high pitch release from Strawl which we haven’t heard so far on the album. Strawl chants about Ethiopia and the land in which the king comes from and the land of the forefathers. Theres also a section where Strawl talks about land being raided and people being run out of communities. A good track that has a fair amount of substance and a nice riddim.

Where Dem Gone
On a roots tip, Where Dem Gone echoes throughout as Strawl chants away before discussing this plastic computer world which I found was an interest lyric, I didn’t know if it was a dig at plastics and computers or plastic computers but either way both are huge social issues. Towards the end of the track we’re greeted with some exquisite horn playing which finishes the track off nicely.

Bun Dung Rome
As we head towards the end of the album we’ve an interesting title with Bun Dung Rome. I like this riddim! Its very steppas style. Its refreshing to hear Strawl on different style because after hearing his previous works with Judgement, his vocal capability is extensive. Theres all the hall marks of a track that suits this album on this track with mentions of Selassie and sitting on thrones, Africa is home. Theres a really nice drum breakdown in this track which creates an airy tension but definitely great for a live show.

Zion Gates
Last track on the album is Zion Gates. The ridden is upbeat with guitar plucking throughout and some drums and bass that will encourage you to sway or tap your feet. We don’t have an aggressive riddim here, just upbeat vibes. Strawl continues his messages of positivity and pushing youth to prevail, anti babylon and in this time of struggle, stick together. I nice way to finish off the album.

Overall, this is an ok listen, I expected a little more variety especially working with an artist like Strawl. The messages are the same on every riddim near enough and it could be a little boring at times but you have to appreciate the craft and one or two guys making all these riddims. The messages make sense and I know the tracks are supposed to be upful however just a mix up of riddim would be nice.


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