REVIEW: Iba Mahr – Get Up and Show

Bursting into the international scene In 2008, Mario Greaves, known as the artist Iba Mahr appeared on a track called, “Had It & Lost It”, Iba welcomed great interest from international journalists and radio deejays and then later on “Where You Are” was dropped by Xterminator Productions to be followed by “Black Youth Of Harrar”.

By Liam Monaghan

One of my personal favorite tracks is his smash hit ‘Diamond Sox’, an uplifting riddim and the remix welcomed Tarrus Riley and that version still gets spun around the globe today. The success of the track propelled Iba to travel and he started to get his name further up the billing on events and festivals. Following the 9-track cd called “Great Is H.I.M.” and “Diamond Sox” and extensive touring and some time spent in the UK, Iba has brought us some new tunes.

2017 was full of big albums and maybe some would say it is sensible not to bring out an album with big hitters such as Damian Marley dominating the charts but its early in 2018 and the time is right for this project to drop. Produced and promoted by Oneness Records from Germany who’ve put out a range top-notch riddims in the last few years, The Get Up & Show EP is ready. The EP’s themes tick Love, community, peace, and oneness alongside some collaborations with Agent Sasco and Patrice.

Get Up and Show
First track and its what I expected. An upbeat riddim with a smooth bassline and some nice drum arrangements accompanied by some soulful backing vocals. The message in this track is about standing up and showing your thoughts and opinions. The riddim isn’t complicated and it allows Iba to do his thing.  If you haven’t heard Iba perform before he has a very unique style of singing which is addictive! Watch the Get up and Show video here.

One World feat. Patrice
Some nice acoustics and flute sounding soothing tones bring us into this track. This track is soulful and just simply a nice listen. One World & One People and unity is the mission statement. I like the change in tone from the previous track, this is very stripped back and Iba varies his delivery style which keeps things fresh but shows us versatility in his artistry. Patrice has quite a solid and bold voice which sounds smooth over the riddim.

Dollar Sign 
We get the pleasure of listening to the “Body & Soul” riddim this time around which is a chilled riddim with a soft bassline produced by Unga Barunga and Jason ‘Bass’ Welsh. “No love for no money” an anti-establishment track combined with a female persona that Iba is serenading. The principle in this track is sweet, the riddim is smooth, its a nice listen overall. I’m a big fan of Unga Barunga’s production and artistry direction, There’s a modern riddim but always that homage to the core structure and sound of foundation music.

One of a Kind feat. Agent Sasco
I was interested to hear this track, Iba Mahr has a soft and fragile voice that can be soulful and sometimes at time choppy. In contrast, Agent Sasco who has one of the most distinguishable voices in Dancehall has a raw and dry voice with an upbeat delivery and style. It works in this track, a love song obviously and the voices work perfectly together. The riddim is relaxed and not too chaotic allowing the chaps to serenade the persona and create a lovey-dovey track.

Family Not Friend 
I’m a big fan of the “Nice & Easy” riddim, it has some nice horns which instantly gets the foot tapping and definitely is a set opener for a live gig. I like the wandering bassline on this riddim and Theresa. Breakdown halfway through with some wicked drumming which creates a nice upbeat vibe! I’d say this is my track of the album so far, it’s funky, vibrant and upbeat. The mission statement of this track is see me as family than a friend! One Love! A really positive song which is probably one of my favorites of 2018 so far.

No Vanity 
Apart from the dub mixes, we land at our last record on this collection of music from Iba. We go back to a nice riddim which consists of a traditional guitar style strum with some nice offbeat drumming and a subtle piece of brass that joins us occasionally. Iba discusses moving forward and being positive with no vanity and just humanity. The concept of the song in nice and positive and a nice way to finish off the collection of tracks, its positive, uplifting, spiritual and There’s variation throughout the track of Iba’s delivery which makes the track nice!

It’s an easy listening collection of music and I’ve enjoyed listening to it. Iba has a unique style of singing his songs and the riddims don’t sound exactly the same but they do just enough to keep each song sounding differently. The production on the tracks is high and give that modern Reggae feel, it will be nice to hear some of this tracks across stages at an array of festivals in season.