Ras Nas’ new CD
From Reggae to Afropop.
Featured on BBC World Service 'The Beat' program by Mark Coles!
With the emergence of Tanzanian artist, Ras Nas aka Nasibu Mwanukuzi, on the East African music scene, there is no doubt that the region’s musical terrain will never be the same. His long awaited CD, “Dar-Es-Salaam”, is a follow-up to the debut “Cut You Loose” (RNCD07). In this CD Ras Nas appears to reach maturity and achieve a distinct identity both as studio and concert artist. Breezing with the tropical feel of the long sandy beaches, lined up with coconut trees, “Dar-es-Salaam” is a sure party pleaser.
Mixing reggae, soukous and poetry, Ras Nas stands out as a pioneer of a new style, style which is yet to be defined by music pundits. His lyrics are both conscious and entertaining. Ras Nas writes, recites and sings in English and Swahili, the latter being the lingua franca of Africa. In other words, as an artist of sheer originality, he is laying down footsteps for others to follow. This is fresh and welcome news from a region that has hardly produced an artist of international caliber for the past two decades.
Reviewing Ras Nas’ live radio concert, spring 2007, veteran music journalist with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, NRK, Arne Berg, put it in this way; “It was a memorable experience. From heavy dub poetry to exhilarating soukous – rarely has the public in Studio 19 shaken their bodies so thoroughly and seldom have we experienced such a sweaty, happy and smiling audience going home after a show!”
The nine tracks in Dar-Es-Salaam CD are all unique as well as potential hits. The title track “Dar-Es-Salaam” is a song that starts with a cool rumba ballad and shifts to a hot and irresistible seben. It is a brilliant and innovative revisitation of the nostalgic, classic sounds of East and Central Africa. Thee song is a tribute to the city of Dar-Es-Salaam and its magnificent beauty. “Trouble in A Dub” is a warning to sex partners to use the condom, or “Brother Rubber”. The song has a catchy chorus, “Don’t forget Brother Rubber/ when you rub it in a dub/ rub it in a dub/ rubber rubber dub”. On the other hand, the song “Guantanamo” is a fresh and powerful reminder of the correlation between Robben Island and Guantanamo prison.
Other songs include Zakina, Dance Rhumba and Sweet Rhythms. In “Dance Rhumba”, Ras Nas features the American singer Reginald T. Oliver aka Papa Lion aka Mankind from St. Louis.
In Dar-Es-Salaam CD, Ras Nas has worked with a number of highly talented artists from nine different countries, a total of 24 of them, among them two renown artists from Dar-Es-Salaam, bassist Keppy Kiombile and guitarist Norman Bikaka (lead guitar).
Ras Nas’ debut concert was in 1992 in Oslo at the celebration to mark the 99th Anniversary of His Imperial Majesty Selassie I. In the Zodiac sign, this was an event in itself. Since then, Ras Nas has performed for Nelson Mandela, appeared together with reggae greats such as Eek a Mouse, Linton Kwesi Johnson, I Jah Man Levi and Tippa Irie.