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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean


By Adrienne E. Gusoff
Published March 17, 2006

Soul Taker

When a friend—strictly a classical music buff—stopped by and remarked how nice this music was, it underscored the universal appeal of this South African artist. Singer/songwriter Lucky Dube is Africa’s “King of Reggae.” He discovered Rastafarianism as a child, reading encyclopedias in the school library. Before long, every penny he earned was going to buy Peter Tosh albums. Although he began his career playing traditional Mbaqanga music, he eventually switched to his first love, reggae, for which his talents are perfectly suited. Dube’s rich, melodic voice wraps around his spiritual, romantic and often political lyrics. Each song tells a story from the singer’s point of view, textured with deep emotions for lovers, family, friends and the world in general. The harmonies are reminiscent of ‘50s doo-wop; the beat is soft reggae, the narration is almost Dylanesque. Every song is imbued with a sweetness and longing, which reveals his soul in each word.