Mutabaruka

Outcry

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A combination of the spoken word approach of the Jamaican DJ style, the sonic reductions of dub and the art of the written word, dub poetry was initially defined on the late-'70s recordings of journalist/poet/playwright Linton Kwesi Johnson. The early years of the 1980s, however, saw the emergence of the music's next significant practitioner in Mutabaruka. From the moment the voice of the DJ was crystallized on recordings by U-Roy, the style paralleled similar social/political trends in roots reggae, tackling increasingly conscious themes as each year passed. So, while dub poetry is continually criticized, at the time, it seemed like an entirely logical development. While Mutabaruka may have made his definitive statement with his 1983 debut Check It, the albums that followed maintained the standards of that set. Though the sound of these productions has dated, and Mutabaruka's dub poetry has grown increasingly awkward with time, the singer's message has lost little of its power. Outcry offers dread-serious looks at colonialism, slavery, sexism, and violence that remained relevant long after being put to tape. "Land of Canaan" is particularly potent, tackling the seemingly ceaseless conflict that continued to plagued the Middle East. Elsewhere, "Remembrance" delivers a bold-faced attack on centuries of institutionalized oppression, and "Saga of Too Kool" recounts a chilling tale of violence in the dancehall. In the end it will be up to the listener to decide whether the dub poetry style is to their liking. For those that are convinced, Outcry is a fine example of the genre.

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