“Agua Santa” (Holy Water) is a CD that is rooted in the musical traditions of African mysticism. On this, his sixth CD, Rasheed Ali has assembled a powerful collection of deeply spiritual African-Caribbean music.
This is naked music, with drums whose tones sing like voices accompanied by voices that fill the air with emotion. Whether you understand the Spanish language lyrics or not, it is obvious that the subject matter is profoundly serious.
Ali has crafted a new liturgy inspired by the crossroads of African spiritual concepts embodied in the “Palo” of the Congos and the “Lukumi” of the Yorubas.
As he explains; “I would perform with Rain People at folkloric events and find myself singing some of our traditional African-Caribbean Orisha songs out of respect for our strong ancestral connections but I didn’t want to appear disingenuous to those who are actually daily devotees of Lukumi, Palo or Candomblé. I wanted to write some contemporary spiritual songs using the traditional approach and perspective. I wanted to sing some non-denominational songs that would speak my heart’s language.”
This is music that speaks to the trees, the sea and the divine voices of dreams.
Unencumbered by modernity or artificial creative devices, we get the feeling that this Caribbean roots musician is leading us back in time.