Irie ites bar

Life Squared Life Squared
Label: Heartbeat Records
Format: CD (HB256)
Release Date: June 11, 2002
Producer: Mutabaruka
Time: 60:03
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Sista Irie Review

A few days ago, I received my copy of Muta's new release "Life Squared" and I joyfully say it is his best cd ever. Praises of the highest are in full order due especially for his recognition and notable tributes to the role and status of women throughout the cd. His respect is felt on the purest and most intellectual level, a refreshing addition to the annals of reggae history.

I easily feel Muta's pain in losing his dear friend, and business associate, Pele Lanier, for whom the cd is livicated and with the inclusion of her beautiful photo on the back of the cd liner. The poetry livicated to Pele is a worthy and elegant tribute. Anyone who knew or met Pele can feel Muta's loss so easily through his loving and delicately chosen words.

The cd includes powerful commentaries on capitalism, racism, religion, spirituality, and more. I love the remix of 'Dis Poem' which carries a dynamic percussion rhythm flirted by Muta's voice over-dubbed in a haunting and mystical African meditation. "The Monkey Speaks" contains sufficient irony reflecting the arrogance of human attitudes in their vision of hierarchy and natural order. Mutabaruka has professionally and artistically created a masterpiece that is indeed timeless, universal in message, and cuts deeper than the rest.

When asked "Muta, all the while I hear Rasta speak about I and I, what does the I mean to you?" Muta responds, "the I is that space not enclosed by walls" Muta never ceases to amaze me. This cd is a true collector's item and a reference for Rasta and reggae for many years to
come.~ sis irie

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Reggae Vibes Review

Dub poet, radio host, and author, Mutabaruka is Jamaica's voice of the people. He's an internationally acclaimed dub poet, social critic, performer and actor. Hailing from Jamaica, he is influenced by Rastafarianism and his work focuses on themes of social justice, human rights and black liberation. As a musician, he has released several outstanding albums of dub poetry, a spoken word art form which grew out of the toasting style of early reggae DJ’s.

Mutabaruka also played the lead role of Shango in Haile Gerima’s award-winning film Sankofa. He's blessed with a deep and booming voice and his intelligent poems reflect a pure and outspoken point of view, flavored with a kind of militancy that is quite unique. To be honest, whether you agree with his opinions or not, you will be captivated by the man's speechmaking abilities.

Spanning a recording career of 21 years, Muta now releases his first album since 1994, "Life Squared". A true individual, Muta's lyrics still are insightful, intelligent, and powerful, as he comments on all aspects of human nature. "Life Squared" features the single The Monkey inna ska and mento remix. The song is the Dave Bartholomew poem "The Monkey", marking the first time Muta has recorded another's works. Also featured here is the title track to Life and Debt, the acclaimed Stephanie Black film that documents real life experiences in Jamaica. The song speaks of the plight of Jamaicans under the IMF and World Bank. He uses the riddim from from Marvin Gaye's classic song 'What's Going On' on The Confusion Today as he asks 'Wha A Gwan'? Further highlights on the album include the poem Spirituality on which Mutabaruka uses a speech from Haile Selassie to point out the differences between religion and spirituality and Mother Divine, a song dealing with women's perspectives.

All recordings were done at Mainstreet Studios and Music Works Recording Studio except Dis Poem which was recorded in New York.

Review by Teacher & Mr. T
Reggae Vibes

Reggae CD Review

Back in the mid-'80s, when guntalk and slackness turned the dancehall into a cesspool, a new crop of reggae vocalists emerged to (briefly) wrestle the mike away from the don dadas and bring reggae back to its roots. Calling themselves "dub poets," artists such as Jamaica's Oku Onuora and Britian's Linton Kwesi Johnson combined the deejay's spoken word acrobatics with live backing bands to breathe fresh life into conscious reggae. One of the most memorable artists to emerge from this short-lived movement was Mutabaruka, who combined classic Rasta themes with proletarian polemics on such classics as "De System" and "Dis Poem."

Now, after an eight-year recording hiatus, Muta returns to the scene with a whole new batch of conscious "poems" called Life Squared. A lot has changed in Jamaica and its music since Muta's last release (1994's Melanin Man), and Muta -- who's spent the intervening years working as one of the island's most popular disc jockeys -- has kept pace. His current set is more mature than his previous work; though the absence of bomb-throwing and incendiary anthems doesn't mean that he's mellowed much.

Instead, on tracks such as "Life and Debt" and "The Confusion Today," Muta trades in apocalyptic Rasta metaphors for very specific critiques of Jamaica's dire economic and political realities. He also resorts to sly folk humor on the mento-inflected "The Monkey" -- a wry take on Darwinism and man's inability to measure up to mere monkeys. While Muta's continuing spiritual and human growth is evidenced on tracks such as "I Truly Believe" and Spirituality," both of which find him as a man struggling to definite his individual humanity under the weight of Rasta orthodoxy. Most interesting of all, though, are "Mother Divine" and the touching ode "Pele," which put Muta's feminist beliefs on full display -- something that doesn't happen very often in the macho world of Rastafarianism.

Review by Tom Pryor
CDNOW Senior Editor, Reggae/Ska

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Mutabaruka album covers

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