2007 JUNO NOMINEE!!
2005 JUNO AWARD WINNER!!
MTI WA MAISHA
(TREE OF LIFE)
In Mti Wa Maisha (The Tree of Life), Professor Adam Solomon, who is featured on the Juno-award winning CD African Guitar Summit (CBC), combines the best guitar tradition of the early 1960s with modern East African big band sound from Congo, Tanzania and Kenya, and beautiful lyrics from Mombasa, to create a most original style best described as Afro-Soul Rhumba.
Indeed, instead of running for the easy Soukous music that defined most of the 1990s, Solomon dips deep into the roots of rhumba that have nourished dance music in East and Central Africa since the early 1950s. He deftly resurrects the flickering fiesta guitar style pioneered by Henri Bowane and elaborated by Nico Kasanda on the tracks Rehema, Shemegi and Maneno Mengi. But for the purists who deify Kasanda as a guitar music legend, the sweet fiesta instrumental track appropriately titled Kasanda Remembered is to be savoured again and again.
However, what defines the originality of this album is Solomon’s gift as a singer-songwriter. Where he once allowed his guitar to do the singing, his voice has come ashore, weaving the threads that stitch tradition and modernity. On the tracks Mapendo, Rikata and Huyu Niliye Naye, he finds soulful melodies on the shores of the Indian Ocean among the Swahili fishermen and the traditional farmers eking a living out of the soil. Retaining the simplicity and spontaneity that characterize communal songs among the Swahili, his voice breaks free from the shackles of being one of the best guitar talents from Continental Africa.
In Mti Wa Maisha (Tree of Life), Solomon employs his beautiful guitar style to infuse life in the roots music, touching a new vibrancy, intimacy and range never embraced in his earlier recordings. The age of Afro-Soul Rhumba is here—dance away to your hearts’ content.
Thanks to Ontario Arts Council for the Support.
Musicologist, Toronto, March 2006.
It is a joy to hear Adam Solomon return to the full band sound of Tikisa. Music fans across Canada have scuffed dance floors to the sound of Adam’s guitar since the early days of the great Afronubians, and the music on this CD will have them jumping in the aisles again. While the roots of Adam’s music run deep (no-one plays fiesta like the “Professor”), this tree has truly taken root in Canada and reflects its nurturing: from the Ethiopian restaurants Adam played when he first arrived in Toronto, through cross-country tours, to the massive audiences he has performed in front of with African Guitar Summit and others.
Producer, African Guitar Summit (CBC)April 2006
This is the long-awaited release from one of Canada’s premiere African guitarists/songwriters, Adam Solomon and his band Tikisa. Mti Wa Maisha (Tree of Life) is a delectable sampling of styles from the African continent. The fruit of the tree includes classic Congolese rhumba, soukous and the fiesta style pioneered by Congolese innovator Dr. Nico, along with a fusion of various genres, some that could be described as Afrobeat/soul. However the music is described, each genre is expertly woven into a tapestry of songs deeply rooted in Africa. Mti Wa Maisha is guaranteed to leave you uplifted, excited and delighted.
Patsy Stevens, April 2006
Once again Adam Solomon emerges not only as a musician but an icon who uses music to tell the extraordinary "never forget" beautiful stories of love and soul search struggles. He also remains aware of the current events both abroad and in Africa when he places the civil war and HIV/AIDS agenda on the table through music. His lyrics speak of love that carries no boundaries, something which makes his music quite easy to relate to.
Adam, who collaborated on the release of the African Guitar Summit CD in 2005, is also a proud Juno Award Winner. Listening to the CD Mti Wa Maisha (Tree of Life) ,which is creatively and masterfully done with his incomparable Tikisa band, you are without hesitation introduced to or reminded of rich and varied kinds of rhythms from East and Central Africa. The album contains 6/8 Chakacha beat, Fiesta, Mdundiko, Soukous and traditional a capella Swahili songs. The rhythms, which are complex, and the riffs of the lead guitar by the "Professor" himself are smooth and pleasant to the ear of the listener. This is non-stop entertainment both on-stage and off.
The album Mti Wa Maisha (Tree of Life) is a must-have for everyone as it captures a sound that no other contemporary African-born musician in Canada has ever managed to do. For that reason Adam Solomon and Tikisa poses as a first class role model to all existing and upcoming musicians. Adam’s music comes from “Kaya”, a sacred and spiritual place, where we all belong.
As an original African, he employs the oldest tradition on earth of sharing the rhythms and lyrics from generation to generation, griot-style, as well as updating them. This tradition makes his music style common yet very unique.
Jeff Msangi, Blog Author
The Professor has returned to Kenyan roots music of
the 70s, a time when African music was at its
zenith. Adam’s versatility on this recording
demonstrates his abilities to play chakacha, soukous,
rhumba, afrobeat and fiesta. This is a good album that
is representative of a an extensive cross section of African
music. The Professor has done it!
Professor Adam Solomon takes the listener on a musical
safari throughout Kenya in his recording Mti wa
Maisha (Tree of Life). The album includes the popular
sounds of East Africa such as soukous and rhumba, along
with coastal music like chakacha from Adam’s childhood
home in the coastal city of Mombasa. Adam has helped
to introduce Kenyan sounds to a Canadian audience and
this latest recording has a polished edge to it,
especially following the highly acclaimed African
Guitar Summit album that the Professor has contributed
to. A superb collection of songs.
Karibuni, CIUT 89.5 FM
NEW RELEASE "ROOTS RHYTHMS" NOW AVAILABLE ON CDBABY!!
See live videos:
COMING SOON TO CDBABY.COM ****
ALBUM TITTLE: MILA “CULTURE”
2005 Juno Award Winner with African Guitar Summit on CBC records, and Double Winner at Toronto Music Africa Awards 1997 in Canada ****.
Adam N. Solomon AKA “The Professor” has been known to the listeners and fans around the world as an Afropop musician since the 70's, performing Afro Rhumba and Soukous music.In the year 2003 he recorded his fast solo Album “African Renaissance Blues Rocket Express II” which fetured acoustic blues. Adam is gone deeper in researching his traditional African roots music, playing African blues on acoustic guitar,traditional African drumming, and singing. Like the likes of Alifarka Toure from Mali, this East Africa Maestro of guitar brings out his inner vision and talent that was unheard in the world of music. Adam grew up in a musical family in Kenya east Africa in the coast Province, he is original from the Nine tribes known as the “Mijikenda”.
“The Mijikenda tribes of the Kenyan coast were unheard from for many years, even during the colonial years of rule, primarily due to the fact that government activities were occurring mainly in the central province, in Nairobi, and the Mijikenda were literally on the edges. Kenya gained independence in 1963. The first President was Jomo Kenyatta, who came from the Gikuyu tribe, which is a Bantu group like the Mijikenda. The people of the central province are Gikuyu, Embu, the Maasai, the Nandi (a different group of tribes), and the Meru, which ruled the plains of the Rift Valley. It's assumed that the tribes of the Rift Valley threw off their drums when they were fighting during an immigration period coming down from Ethiopia, and during the time when they were establishing their territories in the Rift Valley. From the same group of Bantus, the Mijikenda, who also emigrated from Ethiopia, kept their big traditional drums, and the traditions have continued until today”.
“The Bantus of the coast, the Nine Tribes, include Giriama, Duruma, Makonde, Kambe, Ribe, Rabai, Chonyi, Digo, and Jibana, who originally settled in the lower coastal province of Kenya. I am half-caste Duruma and Giriama. The musical style known as Sengenya beat comes from both the Duruma and Digo people, and Lungo music is originally from the Giriama and Duruma people”.
“Like the peoples of West Africa, we have developed our own rhythms and some of our drums are similar, but not all. We have the Twari drum, which is a two-sided medium-sized drum and has a mid-rhythmic tone. The same Twari drum can be used for soloing or keep the rhythm. The Twari drums come in different tones, medium bass, light bass, and heavy bass. There is the Chitupho drum, which has a higher tone, closer to the West African Djembe drum, and it can be used for different purposes in the rhythm. The Ng'ombe Drum, known as the mother of the drums, is huge and very bass, shaped like a table with three or four legs. This drum can bring a wall down if not well-supported. The Ng'ombe drum is pure wood and cowskin (Ng'ombe = cowskin), played with heavy sticks with a round end, while wearing small ankle and wrist bells and shakers, particularly the Kayamba tikisa (shaker) made of grass straw, and other small percussion instruments”.
For: more info a,d up coming performances see: www.adamsolomon.ca