Young Elderz,
Children of Rastafari
(independent, 2004)

My first impression of the Young Elderz debut CD, Children of Rastafari, was positive. The first track, "Revolutionary," covered a theme quite common in reggae music. The vocal harmonies created by the mix of male and female vocals are rather pleasant. The Elderz sing about how Jah (God) is love, life and the strength above. The reggae beat is unmistakable.

The second song, "He's Calling," is dominated by female vocals backed by males. Again, the topic is Jah. This fits with what the promotional material states about how the group is "dedicated to Afrika/BLACKNESS in the spiritual, emotional and physical sense." The female vocals are quite nice. I started to believe that this was going to be a better than average CD.

The third track should have given me a head's up. "The Crossing" is led by male vocals, but isn't as polished as the previous female leads. More singing about Jah. OK, we know the theme of the CD. I had to listen to several more tracks before I realized that none of the male vocalists can truly stand on their own. When the group harmonizes, their weaknesses are disguised. But when one of them leads a track, the singing is not very good at all. At least the reggae beat is catchy, right?

Alas, after 15 tracks -- or just over an hour of music -- I had a hard time listening to the weak male vocals. There was also very limited topic variation. Most songs are about Jah. The other topics include revolution, Rastafari and how the evil white man has or is enslaving the black man.

The band has five core members from all over the Caribbean. Elder Kwa (Bahamas), Elder Kes (Trinidad and Tobago) and Elder Clarence (Grenada) play guitar. Elder Avita (New York with roots in Barbados, Africa and Native America) sings. Elder Chris (unknown origin) plays drums.

I've listened to Children of Rastafari by the Young Elderz several times. The group, in its promotional material, compares the music to Black Uhuru. I must respectfully disagree. I don't think the Young Elderz are up to Black Uhuru's level. Chopping half the songs off this CD (all the male-dominated ones) would be a start at improving their sound. Maybe singing lessons would help. Expanding the topic to give the music a little variety would also be nice. Until then, I won't be recommending their music.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 11 June 2005

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